A Father’s Neglect

September 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

When I sat down, pen in hand and confidently poised above my paper (no, you have not unknowingly been transported via time machine to yesteryear…I am unable to think and type simultaneously and thus have to write everything by hand before I type it), to begin to blog about my family’s attitude toward science fiction, I, to my shock and dismay, immediately encountered a stumbling block, in the form of a simple question: What in the world is my family’s attitude toward science fiction? Looking back through my childhood and adolescent years, I am unable to recall a single dinner conversation, or even casual conversation for that matter, on the subject of science fiction; it was not until college that I read the first book I would consider to be squarely in the realm of science fiction, Ender’s Game. I suppose my family’s attitude toward science fiction is notable only in its absence, which, however, is in itself interesting enough and merits further consideration.

The blame for the removal of science fiction from the family conversational and literary diet (I sincerely wish vegetables had followed suit), like the blame for all egregious family sins, generally tends to fall upon the father, as the chief representative of the household, who, in my case, would be my dad, Daniel Hilliard Boone. Yet in the same breath I both accuse and defend; though he failed in his paternal duty to provide me with regular doses of science fiction, his neglect of science fiction, generally speaking, is not a baseless one. For my father is an internal medicine doctor and is one of those few people you encounter in life who legitimately knows everything about everything…to people who assert that they know such people as well, I say that my dad even knows that they know these people. He is particularly interested in the hard sciences, and though this certainly does not preclude interest in science fiction (in many cases, it encourages it), my dad’s affinity for hard scientific facts has rendered him somewhat unable to accept or enjoy the liberties science fiction takes in distorting reality. Even in watching popular TV shows regarding science or medicine, he is often genuinely bewildered by the utter absurdity of various “facts” that are presented; snorts of derision and bouts of hilarity are often elicited.

Not that my father is entirely opposed to science fiction. He occasionally welcomes it as a bit of relief from his practical, fact-oriented existence, and he will from time to time immerse himself in these alternate universes, embracing the overt trappings of the tales as a break from reality, and the richer moral, spiritual, or relational core of the tale as directly applicable to his practical reality. For my father, science fiction is a diversion, not particularly high praise for a literary genre; his attitude could thus perhaps be described as indifferent rather than nonexistent (which may be a distinction without a difference), and, through an effective combination of nature and nurture, I have adopted a similar stance…for the moment…ask me again in December!

Ginny

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