Science Fantasy: When Worlds Collide
The science fantasy genre includes elements of fantasy and science fiction, blending them together to create stories which contain both magic and advanced technologies. These tales take the best of both worlds, coming up with something entirely new in the process.
The best things in life are made from the combination of opposites. Hot and cold air fronts come together to make wind and rain, man and woman make a child, and rotting matter nourishes the soil, giving life to new plants. There’s something beautiful about the unity of opposites, and science fantasy is an excellent example of how this works.
Science Fantasy: When Worlds Collide
It isn’t the existence of magic alongside futuristic gadgets that make this genre special. It is the union of different modes of thinking. In The Importance of Science Fiction and Fantasy, we briefly looked at how science fiction represents the scientific while fantasy represent the religious or esoteric. Religion and science have long fought each other, but science fantasy often shows how the two are not so different after all.
You see, science and religion explore the same things in different ways. While they fight each other, they’re really like two sides of the same coin. They are a way of ordering and making sense of the world, and the question begs to be asked if one is any more important than the other.
Einstein himself talked about how science is not as powerful without a sense of divine cosmic wonder. This doesn’t mean that a scientist has to believe in a deity, but it does show how that unknowable place where inspiration becomes an idea exists within both spirituality and science. But an idea has to be tested to know it’s real value, otherwise every passing fancy would become fact.
This is why a balance is needed between meditation and experimentation. Meditation gives rise to concept, testing and experimentation reveal the value of the concept. Scientific concepts are tested in laboratories, spiritual ones through the daily trial and error of living. Meditation is always the same in that it can be different for everyone. Whatever turns down your conscious mind is meditation.
The Potential of Science Fantasy
Science Fantasy is unique because it captures how both methods of thinking are necessary to create an understanding of life. The rules and logic of science provide grounding for the metaphorical representations rife within spirituality. When a person can begin to see the value in both, it’s like a path opens up between the two and real understanding emerges.
And it seems like opposites are coming together more often these day. Historically contentious academic fields are learning that they hold answers to each other’s burning questions. In November of 2016, Pope Francis met with Stephen Hawking, stating that there has “never been such a clear need for science.”
That’s right. A Catholic Pope just declared a need for science. To a scientist, this must feel a little bit like a stranger offering candy from a van. “No, don’t mind the rack in the corner. I swear, I just want to talk to you about science! Just come a little closer …”
All joking aside, this kind of thing bodes well for the future. While a lot of Science Fantasy still focuses on the struggle between science and religion, this overview may provide the valuable insights that eventually grow into new ways of thinking. Maybe science and religion needed to evolve separately, each developing on its own before learning enough of themselves to combine into something else. Maybe the same is true for academic disciplines as well.
Maybe the ideas simply had to grow up a little more before they could truly come together.