Adrian Hon when he says, in Daily Telegraph, that Science Fiction is not mere fantasy, I suppose he surely understands the difference between SF and fantasy. Then why does he make a redundant statement?
Main purpose of a fantasy is excitement, enjoyment. Main purpose of SF is more than this – it also creates an awareness towards real life, the concerns of real life. Apart from helping a society to understand its problems and the discovering of solutions, it creates an awareness of life, of different factors affecting our life and various priorities for better life.
The least that SF can do is to make its readers aware of the importance of Science in our lives. And it can create a liking for science which is vital because science is generally understood to be difficult and uninteresting.
No wonder in most of the countries science is not the first choice of students. Any nation lagging behind in science would be controlled, in the market, by the one leading in science and technology. Latest products and gadgets, produced by science and technology, dominate the market. Of course they would need marketing men, salesmen, admen etc, but without the former, the latter cannot do much. It is less difficult to produce men to meet the requirements of the market than for science and technology.
India has the oldest tradition in writing of SF. Surprised? Both the epics Ramayan and Mahabharat are full of SF, without being named so. Our Puranas are also replete with SF. No wonder these epitomes have been popular through all ages. Let us revive it.
Let us enjoy reading and writing Science fiction.