Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Writing Fiction vs Fact

La-memoria-de-los-peces by Chelin Sanjuan
Fiction and non-fiction, fantasy and reality, they have a lot more in common than we think. On the surface, they seem like polar opposites. One is real, the other not, right? But given a large enough perspective, both are simply stories that we tell, and those stories have a way of swapping places over time.

For example, we've all heard this one: the world is flat - fact or fiction? The answer depends on 'when' and 'where' you ask it.  In the 6th century BC, Samos, the world is spherical, thanks to Pythagoras. Middle ages Europe, flat or round, it's a toss up. 16th century China, definitely flat. Stories change. What's real changes,and sometimes imagining something new can open doors to its existence.

We see this all the time when science fiction that becomes 'science fact'. Here are a few examples:

Edward Bellamy’s 1888 novel Looking Backward introduced the notion of 'debit cards' in a financial era that had no models for this kind of exchange.

Ray Bradbury's 1953 classic Fahrenheit 451 describes the earbud headphone perfectly, when that technology that didn't appear until 2000+.

Hugo Gernsback’s ancient serial Ralph 124c 41+ publised in 1911 included the 'telphot', basically SCYPE, or video conferencing.

Jules Verne, who wrote in the 1800s gave us everything from submarines to lunar landings.  The Earth To The Moon predicted Apollo 11's lunar landing in 1969 - from the launch from Florida to the amount of force that needed escape Earth’s atmosphere.

And Philip K. Dick's 1956 Minority Report portrayed multiple 'fictional' technologies that have since become reality, including facial recognition software, personalized advertising and gesture-based user interfaces long before touchscreens and motion-sensing inputs became common.

The Spell of Rosette, a story about DNA,
strange attractions and other forms of magic.
One of my favorite recent 'stories' from neuroscience is that meditation alters gene expression. It means that our thoughts (mantras) have a direct effect on our DNA, changing our physical make up. Of course, Vedic masters have been telling this story for thousands of years, but now researchers in brain science are saying it's 'real'.

The notion of altering gene expression with our thoughts is the bedrock of my Quantum Enchantment Series, a science fantasy whose hero is a quantum computer who thinks himself up a Tulpa body and gets out of Dodge before they pull his plug. I wrote that before the recent breakthrough . . .

Do you have a favorite 'fiction' you would love to see come true? A story that seemed outlandish at the time but is commonplace now? We'd love to hear about it.

Kim Falconer is a Supernatural Underground author writing paranormal romance, urban fantasy, YA and epic science fantasy novels.

You can find out more about Kim at kimfalconer.com or on the 11th House Blog, and on FaceBook and Twitter. She posts here at the Supernatural Underground on the 16th of every month. Her latest release is"Blood and Water" in Supernatural Underground: Vampires Gone Wild.


Amanda Arista said...

I've always to see the TV technology that they have in Farenheit 451 where the wife is 'acting' in a soap opera that is projected in 3D around their living. You could actually be in your favorite shows!

Kim Falconer said...

Interesting thought, especially with the 'reality' TV shows being so popular.

Very holo-decky . . . :)