On the one hand, fiction is an integral part of our lives, and impossible to imagine without. For all of recorded human history and beyond, we have told stories around the fire to keep our worries occupied and our minds warm.

The bookshelves around the house are full of fiction, and I enjoy exploring its pages. Some contain stories I want to explore again and again, Gilgamesh comes to mind and Dune, and some are stories through which once was sufficient. At least so far.

But on the other hand, fiction is a strange thing. I’m wandering far afield here, but is it really the case that human experience is so thin that we require stories beyond that experience?

I wonder some times what might happen when we do encounter an alien race, extraterrestrials, that don’t understand the concept of fiction. I’m sure that people have written variants of this story, and if you have recommendations for what I should read, please let me know.

But from this, we can spiral into speculation, about what that first encounter might be like. Their lack of comprehension, our lack of comprehension at their lack of comprehension. And so, what’s the story.

Can there exist a race that doesn’t tell stories, that doesn’t so exercise their imagination? And more importantly, would we want to be friends with such a race? Trading partners perhaps, but we would have to answer the question, how much do our stories mean to us?

And I think our answer would have to be, quite a lot really. Everything perhaps.

~ by Jim Anderson on 26 February 2023.

3 Responses to “fiction”

  1. I don’t know of any science fiction that features a civilization without stories, but the Overlords in Arthur C. Clarke’s novel “Childhood’s End” have no music and do not understand why humans are gaga about it. An interesting idea, I think.

  2. Have you seen Galaxy Quest? If not, stop what you’re doing right now and find it online or order the DVD. NOW, I say.

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