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Escaping by Use of Space / Is Sci-Fi Only Escapist Fiction? // #scifimonth 2019

I like to browse through my Twitter timeline when I don’t know what to do with myself. Don’t we all? Don’t we hate it when it refreshes you can’t find something back? Because that was me in October. In a flash I saw someone tweet that in a discussion sci-fi was seen as only escapist fiction. As I was poking at my sci-fi month planning I remembered this and decided to think on that a bit.

Escapist Fiction

So what is escapist fiction. Basically it is fiction that is used to escape one’s every day life. It is also often seen as fiction with ‘exotic’ situations or activities. Basically nothing like your own life. I kind of balk at the use of exotic here for obvious reasons. It insinuates that cultures outside of your own are exotic and aren’t we already over that?

So I am really keeping it at fiction that is used to escape one’s every day life. I think people can also escape in fiction that still has some similarities to their own or even in non-fiction.

Escapist fiction is a term that is not used as a positive one. Escapism in itself is often seen as a negative thing. And sure when you only escape, that can impact your life negatively. But in some cases we do need to escape real life to give ourselves a break. To give our mental health that moment to relax so that you remain to fight another day. In it’s own way I think it is a great way of self care.

And let us be real, how many of us read for other reasons than to escape, to entertain, to do something else? Think on that.

Themes of Sci-fi

So getting back to the sentence that started this all. Is sci-fi only escapist fiction?

The short answer to that is no. There is never just one theme or goal to a book, let alone a whole genre. Sci-fi is one of the most innovative genres out there. Early sci-fi authors were already writing about us going to the moon so many years before we ever truely did. There is hope. There is knowledge. There is the future. There are themes regarding race, politics, albeism and so on. There are many more themes than I have just mentioned. Because the genre varies wildly and it depends on where the author wants to take it.

Does Escapism Mean You Can’t Learn Things of the Real World?

More importantly,  does escapism mean that you can’t learn something new? Of course it doesn’t. The escapism opens up your mind to new things that you might not have thought about before. And you might learn something along the way about yourself. Because even though you might think you are escaping, in the end you might find yourself.

For example, me. I like to dive into various kind of books. One of them was  ‘Not Your Backup’ by C.B. Lee. The third Sidekick Squad book. I had enjoyed the other two previously and was excited to dive into it and escape from my own life a bit. Except that at the end of it, the book made me realize that I was asexual. A book that would be considered ONLY escapist fiction made me realize something about myself at the age of 31.

Imagine that…

11 thoughts on “Escaping by Use of Space / Is Sci-Fi Only Escapist Fiction? // #scifimonth 2019

  1. I love science fiction because I always learn new things. Science is right there in the title and so much of it is based on real research. But also it’s escapism! Best of both worlds😁

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love how sci-fi can be both escapism and a way of exploring things that happen in our own world. Sometimes I’m in the mood for something deep and philosophical, but at other times I just want to see spaceships and laser guns, and that’s fine because sci-fi can be whatever it wants to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love SF both for the escapism and for, like you said, deeper things, whether it’s something about ourselves or things that are relevant to society and what’s going on- and how can something that speculates and extrapolates on the future be considered “just” escapism? I wonder about people who are so dismissive of SF sometimes lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ha- that tweet annoys me so bad and I didn’t even see it! I think sci-fi gets a bad rep because so many people see it as just one thing (aliens and space) without realizing there is a huge variety of sci-fi out there.

    Sci-fi is better set up to help us understand about the world than I think any other genre. Setting it in the future or on other worlds- the author can build entirely new cultures and draw parallels to issues we have in real life every day, and let us explore the boundaries of our own cultures modern belief. Imagine how society might become better or worse, and let us work toward the better side of things. I think non-binary gender, and sexuality are just a couple aspects of those things. Science fiction has been doing this for a much longer time than any other genre.

    Its so much more than escapist fiction. If someone thinks that- it’s because they haven’t been reading it right. Does escapist science fiction exist? Sure. But calling it that is so dismissive of all the brilliant work that’s been done out there by other authors, it’s insulting.

    I’m glad a book existed that could help you find yourself! This is a great discussion topic.

    Liked by 1 person

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