With the announcement that Interstellar’s Jonathan Nolan is developing Isaac Asimov’s Foundation into a potential series for HBO, I was discussing with friends about how we seem to be in the middle of a genuine science fiction TV renaissance. Amazingly, the network by far leading the pack right now is Syfy, which seems bound and determined to not only turn over a new leaf, but to replant the entire forest. The first vanguard of that renewed commitment to actually making science fiction is their upcoming six-part mini-series Ascension, which is set to premiere December 15. One thing you might not know about Ascension is that noted astrophysicist/SF author David Brin served as a consultant on the show, and he discusses the real science behind Ascension’s science fiction in a new featurette you can watch below.
One of our primary areas of interest here at GFR is, obviously, science fiction. But just what is science fiction? Ask ten sci-fi fans and you’ll probably get ten different answers. I’ve suggested before that science fiction is fundamentally a literature of hope, because even if the future it envisions is a terrible one, its still suggests that our species will at least have a future. And as long as we haven’t driven ourselves to extinction, that means we can still make better choices and evolve and perhaps save ourselves from that impending doom. In the video above, writer David Brin presents an excellent breakdown of science fiction’s nature and evolution, and he touches on the concept I just explained. As he puts it, science fiction is about the notion that “children can learn from the mistakes of their parents.”