Elements of Reality in Science Fiction

December 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

During our discussion with Gregory Benford, he explained how he incorporated real aspects of several people in his life into the characters in his novel, Timescape. It is a really interesting phenomenon — taking what one has experience in reality and turning it into what we call fiction.”World building” is a term that has entered into my vocabulary through the course of the semester, but I think Benford’s way of character building in the first half of his novel is very interesting in the way that it captures reality.

Knowing that he has incorporated aspects of his peers and also his own life into the characters of his book, I am led to question to what degree he has incorporated his reality into the novel through other avenues. Are the scenes that he uses to characterize the people in his novel taken straight from his own life?  Take for example the opening scene of the book — a hectic breakfast scene. Is this something from Benford’s own past? Did he really have a child who only called him “daddy”? Did his son have a paper that he wished his father would read? Clearly, due to the skill of Benford’s writing, it is difficult to discern if this is simply a well crafted opening scene or rather something from reality itself. It seems that we are keen on calling this a piece of science fiction, and rightfully so considering the subsequent happenings of the novel. However, to say the word fiction when it is clear that some reality underlies the scenarios seems odd.

— Kyle Uber

(Make up blog post for 10/6/15 absence)


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