The appeal of Science fiction and Fantasy

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“Only recently have fantasy and science fiction been published with age levels in mind, and readers seem to be ignoring such labels. Science fiction and fantasy appeal to a certain kind of mind and not to specific stages of development.

On the surface, science seems to be the most rational of all disciplines, relying solely on intellect without need of the intuitive self. Simple equations —or at least simple in appearance —neatly encapsulate great problems. E = mc2 clearly teaches that “energy equals mass times the speed of light squared.” Yet this equation has become so familiar that we forget its wildly imaginative implications. The world of contemporary science, of astrophysics and cellular biology, is itself so fantastic and poetic that it almost seems like fiction.” (102)

“Science fiction, we must remind ourselves, often relies upon contemporary science. Space technology and places such as Cape Canaveral, Mount Wilson, or AIamogordo frequently appear in science fiction; and scientists, as well as writers with no particular scientific training, write science fiction. Fred Hoyle, the English astrophysicist, write both science fiction and articles for academic journals. Why does a man such as Hoyle bother with fiction when he is so successful in the “real” world of science? The answer is that science depends as much upon the imagination as upon the intellect.” (103)

“The lines between science fiction, fantasy, myth, and fairy tale are very fine, and children, unlike many adults, do not need to have their stories pigeonholed. Science fiction usually takes a contemporary scientific idea and then extrapolates: “Yes, but what if . . . ?” (104)

Ref: Madeleine L’Engle Childlike Wonder and the Truths of Science Fiction Children’s Literature, Volume 10, 1982, pp. 102-110

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