Messages of the Future – Quotes from Science Fiction Authors #1

What is Science Fiction? An exhibit at The British Library showed to make any attempt to form sense out the world using metaphor is sci-if and traced (extant proof) back to the Ancient Greek and Romans .

More recently we think of science fiction as the type which emerged from the 1900s where magazines such as Astounding Science Fiction and Thrill Book picked up a cult following and was primarily written by scientists. We now have a SyFy channel and a plethora of series on TV making wonder become a staple form of entertainment.

For me, sci-fi is primarily human. The genre uses the future to illustrate the human relationship we have with our physical world. Some writers, like Kim Stanley Robinson write prophetically. His books, Red, Blue and Green Mars are all written predictions after a career working as the Mars specialist for NASA. Other writers use futuristic settings which are outlandish to show what they believe to be the immutable human condition.

Science Fiction writers tend to be social commentators and dreamers which makes their books remarkably accessible. They’re visionaries who think massively outside their time and so, in celebration, I have collated quotes from three sci-fi writers who had quite an impact on me growing up – for the time in my life they appeared to the messages which profoundly jiggled around the way I thought about the world. I hope they you have a similar experience with their ponderings on life.

Frank Herbert Quotes

(Hollywood Films include Dune (1984 – starring Sting))

‘Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.’

‘The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.’

‘A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it.’

‘Nature does not make mistakes. Right and wrong are human categories.’

‘Do actions agree with words? There’s your measure of reliability. Never confine yourself to the words.’

‘A person needs new experiences. They jar something deep inside, allowing you to grow. Without them, it sleeps- seldom to awaken. The sleeper must awaken.’

‘Whether a thought is spoken or not it is a real thing and has powers of reality.’

‘The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.’

‘The concept of progress acts as a protective mechanism to shield us from the terrors of the future.’

‘A human being can stand any amount of pain.’

‘The function of science fiction is not always to predict the future but sometimes to prevent it.’

‘He who can destroy a thing, can control a thing.’

‘There is no escape – we pay for the violence of our ancestors.’

‘Truth suffers from too much analysis.’

‘There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.’

‘Absolute power does not corrupt absolutely, absolute power attracts the corruptible.’

‘If you think of yourselves as helpless and ineffectual, it is certain that you will create a despotic government to be your master. The wise despot, therefore, maintains among his subjects a popular sense that they are helpless and ineffectual.’

‘One of the best things to come out of the home computer revolution could be the general and widespread understanding of how severely limited logic really is.’

‘The difference between sentiment and being sentimental is the following: Sentiment is when a driver swerves out of the way to avoid hitting a rabbit on the road. Being sentimental is when the same driver, when swerving away from the rabbit, hits a pedestrian.’

And while we’re in the mood for pondering. This is what we’re are doing with In-Finite Space. We’re taking the mathematics of our world and interpreting our human relationship with physics through an exploration of our bodies and minds via a multi-media performance. You can contribute by answering our daily questions about space on #InfiniteReach in whatever format you like (verse, image, video). I would love to know what your favourite sci-fi quotes tickle your mind (Dr Who has some great writers) – let us have them and see if you can spot them in our dance!

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