One major complaint that I often hear is how unrealistic it is and how unrealistic the dates are that are thrown out in it. Yeah, 2001: A Space Odyssey was a little off. They're authors not mind readers. The fun part is what they do get right, or what they do inspire people to create.
Everyone has to remember Lt. Uhura from Star Trek, the original series. Right? Maybe not.
Does anyone else see a similar concept here?
The one of the right is a communicator from Star Trek, which first started filming in 1966. The second a modern cell phone. Isn't it funny how similar they are. I can keep naming several other devices that were either influenced by science fiction or predicted by it. So yeah sometimes the date is off a little as to when some "crazy" technological wonder will come out (I'm still waiting for someone to make a lightsaber myself), but they do tend to describe what that technology will be (or influence what it will be).
I was going to use the rest of this post to talk about how science fiction can be an interesting way of analyzing human society as it is, and also where it is going. It can be a way to demonstrate how actions today can lead to serious consequences in the future, or really help out in the future.
The problem is that it is a little to deep for this particular post. Instead I will finish out by saying that science fiction is just fun. Look at Star Wars. It was revolutionary to the way that movies were made. It pushed the limits of special effects at the time. It was imaginative. The score of the films were brilliant (John Williams is the man). It took these things and blended them into an movie like none other.
This is just one example of science fiction that is brilliant. People have taken this universe of Star Wars and really run with it creating some excellent stories. Some have written really bad ones as well, but as with anything you just have to take the good with the bad. If you can find a genre that has never had a badly written story please let me know.
I am still currently expanding the depth of my knowledge in the science fiction world. I was hung up on Star Wars for a long time, and it was only within the last few years I stepped outside of that to see what else the genre had to offer. Books like Frank Herbert's Dune, Orson Scott Card's Ender Series, Asimov's Foundation series, H.G. Wells War of the Worlds, Heinlein's Starship Troopers and the Moon is a Harsh Mistress to name a few of my favorites to this point.
Whether the science fiction is just telling a fun story, or actually has a deeper meaning to it, it is a genre that should be checked out. It can be inspirational. Whether you check it out via the movies, books, television, or radio (the way Orson Welles did War of the Worlds on the radio was ingenious) try it out. You just might enjoy it.
UPDATE - A Friend sent me this showing how Star Wars has really impacted the entertainment industries since its beginning. Star Wars influence.