Because much of science fiction involves organized violence, it also challenges readers to think about the enduring nature of war, especially when the character and conduct of war change because of new technologies or new domains.
You expect an electric crackle, the deep whine of machinery, a bolt of red across a planetary foreground, the roar of rocket engines. Wrong. When the United States Space Force (USSF) is in action, it really couldn’t be less cinematic. Anti-visual even. Yes, the Earth is still an astonishing sight from our perch at the Earth-Moon L4 Lagrange point, but battle itself is rather anticlimactic. No explosions. No starfighters careening this way and that.
Reading science fiction nurtures hope that there is a better future. While conflict, catastrophe, and climate change feature in many of these novels and movies, much science fiction is highly optimistic in nature…However, reading science fiction also allows us to consider a variety of negative potential futures…it is the first step in ensuring that they do not come to pass.
In many ways, science fiction is the forward-looking, speculative complement to history, which provides past precedent and ways of thinking to be considered. Consciously or subconsciously, reading science fiction leads to thinking about the future of our respective services and the profession of arms.