September 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Anybody else remember that old image of the nerdy middle-schooler who got his ass kicked every day for his lunch money? Maybe it’s private school talking, but nothing that dramatic ever happened to anyone I knew. Then again, the sixth grade summer reading list at my school required that everyone read Lois Lowry’s “The Giver,” a short, science fiction, coming-of-age story, in addition to either “Stargirl” or Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game.” The obvious choice for any self-respecting eleven-year-old boy was the one with a cover illustration reminiscent of Star Wars, and Orson Scott Card’s novel delivered exactly what the cover hinted at: large-scale space battles, lasers, and a race of universally evil aliens. We were all geeks for reading it. Naturally a few kids skipped the reading altogether, but not out of a desire to gain popularity points. In fact at the other end of the spectrum, I had a close friend who took it a step further and went through a year-long Asimov phase during which he read “I, Robot” and almost finished the entire “Foundation” series…at the age of eleven no less.

In this day and age, stereotypes in most circles have become little more than subjects of humor and sarcasm, largely thanks to our parents’ and teachers’ having hammered into our brains enough “tolerance” sentiment to convince a sheep to trust a wolf bearing its teeth. Thanks to the resulting atmosphere of acceptance bordering on apathy, I can admit that I’m an avid fan of the Sci-Fi channel; granted, it’s been on a downhill trend for a few years now what with giving UFC Wrestling and paranormal reality shows the prime time slots. Then there’s movies like “Mansquito” and “Megashark vs. Giant Octopus;” but I digress.

None of my friends would reject science fiction outright as a result of preconceived notions. Like any genre, there are masterpieces and there are duds, and the circles I hang around in recognize this. As a result, I’ve found some common ground with some of the most unlikely people. For example, I recently started the new Battlestar Galactica series (a fracking well done space opera) following the recommendation of a meathead I knew in high school. All in all, and at the risk of sounding corny, I would say science fiction has done nothing but help me make new friends.



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