Saturday, April 5, 2008

Science Communication through science fiction

Science Communication through science fiction in India: Issues and Perspectives

[Abstract only ]

Science fiction is all about imagining the future. It is said to be the branch of literature which is concerned with the man’s response towards the impacts of science and technology on the future of mankind. The pace with which technology is altering the ways of our lives it appears that we are going to have a world of tomorrow very changed and different from our today’s world. Science fiction writers have the capability to foresee that future very well in advance. Jules Verne, the celebrated French writer of last century had such a prophetic vision and predicted the man's victory over MOON as early as in 1830’s.

It’s not that predicting the future is man's pursuit of any recent origin. Our many scriptures are full of such references. In mythological descriptions an aircraft ‘ PUSPAK VIMAN’ have been shown to have an endless capacity/facility to accommodate any passenger even at last moment of departure and is also depicted to be an emotional entity. Likewise ‘SUDARSHAN CHAKRA’, comes back to lord Krishna’s hand after killing the enemies and ‘MAYA YUDDH’ appears to be a kind of simulated /projected virtual war as in today’s parlance where it is felt only that a war is in progress but nothing happens in reality. These are just a few examples in point. MYTHOLOGY AND SCI FI BOTH APPEARS ANALOGOUS IN CONTENT AND NATURE! Ursula Le Guinn, a prominent SF writer of America has aptly called mythology as ‘contemporary science fiction’.
Our ancestors imagined all such queer and interesting things at par with today’s SF writers but because the required technology was not available in ancient times many of their predictions could not have been realized in contemporary times MAY BE WE DONT HAVE TO WAIT FOR LONG! INTELLIGENT MACHINES ARE ALREADY HERE AND MANY MORE INVENTIONS ARE IN OFFING. We must salute to wisdom of our ancestor’s imaginative power!

Besides, sf could also play a vital role in popularizing basic sciences and a way of scientific thinking amongst Indian masses. Experiments have proved that sf works as an effective learning device especially amongst school children and neo-literates. Many subject specific sf stories when told to students earlier to teaching them any particular science subject elicited in them more interest and dedication towards that particular subjects.