Yes, it has a lot to do with those annoying little (r) symbols - the commercialisation of playtime. But look at it through the child's eyes without so much cynicism: 'It's so cooool! I am only a fairly small person, but here I am swept into a huge adventure where giant-sized heroes and villains battle it out - and in space! With loud laser bolts, huge spaceships and stuff.'
|A scene from the latest epic the boys and I are producing: "Too Many Droids" !!|
But is it so different from swords and dragons? Is it actually 'science' fiction at all?
There is still quite a element of futurity, of techy stuff, even in Star Wars which is so notorious for unscience. (eg. Han Solo has this unfortunate line shoved in his mouth when boasting about his ship's speed, something like: 'She's the only ship to have done the Kessel Run in under 3 parsecs.') I've ended up chatting with the boys about androids, light-years, fusion, and all that, because the words are sprinkled into Star Wars the same way I heedlessly fling oregano over everything I cook. Good science fiction is a kind of innoculation against future-shock. So when they're teenagers or in their 20s and riding in driverless cars and living perhaps through the AI singularity and so on, they'll tell each other, 'We knew about all this when we were little!' And perhaps the future won't be such a scary place to live.
As I write for mid-grade and YA, I have felt a certain amount of responsibility how I make the story world and set my characters romping into orbit. Some of us adults may feel that technology is nibbling away at our humanity, or twisting it into new and frightening shapes, but I don't feel a compulsion to paint it that way in my story. So I ease off on the half-human, half-robotic cyborgs; I let the people pilot their spacecraft even though computers are already doing a better job than most of us could do, here in the 21st century.
|I think I can see something! It's a...|