Although fans of science fiction are stereotypically depicted as “nerdy” or “geeky” in movies, the genre is becoming exponentially more prominent. At $2.7 billion worldwide, the highest grossing film is Avatar (2009), which falls under the science fiction category. But why is this genre so popular?
Film and TV critic Peter Dawson states, “Science fiction reaches a wide demographic. Take Doctor Who: it has absurdity and silliness embedded in every episode to attract children, and subliminal messages and jokes for the adults; it’s a family show.” Doctor Who has been running for 33 seasons and has been the most popular sci-fi television series since its debut in 1963.
Dawson also adds that people read and watch the sci-fi genre to engage themselves in a world different from their own.
“We like the stunning visuals and the digital effects, which is why it has a larger viewership on film and TV rather than books: instead of creating our own setting, the on-screen set design can be used as a template for our imaginations and allow us to vividly imagine ourselves in that situation.”
Amongst the aforementioned examples of sci-fi is the novel 1984 by George Orwell, widely regarded as the most popular of its genre. The dystopian society portrayed in the book is not the most relaxing getaway from reality; however best-selling author, Rowena Urduri, suggests why it has sold millions of copies.
“Readers want to escape from their reality, and science fiction is a gateway to their getaway. People love the genre so much because authors tend to take a ‘cut-the-crap’ approach, compress time, extract the dullness and present to us an ideal, adventurous and action-packed story. Readers are intrigued by the circumstances the protagonists live in and how they deal with it.
If people were to actually live the life of a fictional character there would be a lot of downtime and monotony, just like in real life.”
This doesn’t faze some avid individuals. The term ‘cosplay’ is used to describe the practice of dressing up as a fictional character and sometimes role-playing. This is popular