One of the virtues of the science-fiction and fantasy genre is its ability to inspire. In the 1950’s and 60’s, science fiction inspired humanity’s race to the moon. Countless scientists working in a variety of fields were inspired by the works of Gene Roddenberry, Robert A. Heinlein and Jules Verne (just to name a few) to study science and to make the life-changing technological marvels those men (and women) dreamed up a reality for everyone. Many times, we look back and see what once seemed impossible being made into reality and we have the giants (and not-so-giants) of our genre to thank for the inspiration to push us higher and to accept nothing less than the best humanity has to offer.
But it’s not just the technology that inspires us in the genre, it’s also the characters who inhabit those universes. Not only has our genre served as an instrument for social change but it’s also given us characters who identify with, love and, often times, go to extreme lengths to imitate. Attend any convention, genre movie opening or book release and you’ll find every fashion from the standard tie-in t-shirt to the full-blown cos-play outfit on display. Some spend moments deciding which genre t-shirt to don while others may spend hours or months preparing that virtually flawless outfit that emulates the costume of their favorite super-hero, the look of their favorite anime character or the outfit worn by a favorite character in a favorite genre show or movie.
But as with all things, there’s a dark side when that inspiration can go too far. In the wake of the tragic events in Aurora, Colorado, many of us have been left wondering just where does a person go from donning a cape and cowl to dress up as Batman for a highly-anticipated movie premiere to allegedly collecting an arsenal of weapons and targeting a packed movie theater for a late night Friday screening. How can a genre that so often inspires the best humanity has to offer also inspire some of the most despicable and horrifying examples of humanity as well?
We here at Slice of SciFi wish to extend our thoughts, prayers and tears to all those directly impacted by the events in Aurora, Colorado last week. We also extend our prayers and a listening ear and forum to everyone across the United States and our world is struggling and grieving in the wake of the attack during the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. We would like to open a dialogue for fans as we struggle to come to grips with the world-changing and shattering events of Friday, July 20th. What was supposed to be a day to celebrate one of the most anticipated movies of the year has become something darker and something more unsettling for many of us.
We hope this forum will rise above the partisan politics that will surely be endlessly debated in the wake of these events. As other media outlets offer experts and debate on the role of weapons control, the MPAA and society as a whole in the wake of this horrific tragedy, we hope that the Slice of SciFi community–and the genre community as a whole–will find a safe harbor in a storm here, a place of debate, healing, tears, and closure. And while it’s dark now, we hope that we can together rediscover that while our genre can inspire some of the worst in humanity, that it still has the ability to inspire the best in humanity as well.
We encourage our readers, listeners, fans and friends to take this chance to respond to these events in a mature fashion, respecting the views of everyone and being sensitive to each other. You can leave comments with this article or you can call our feedback line at 206-339-8735 to join the conversation.
The floor is open….