I spent a couple of days recently sitting in the “Ask Me Anything” chair for the www.abovetopsecret.com website. It was a fascinating experience. I wound up answering around 125 questions, plus answering some replies to my replies. It kind of reminded me of the Client Forums that Giga Information Group used to hold for its customers where I’d give a talk and then spend the bulk of the time addressing questions from a very knowledgeable audience.
The rationale for accepting this challenge was to alert the thousands of people who visit that website regularly to my new non-fiction book about the possibilities of first contact with extraterrestrial life (Extraterrestrial First Contact: Past, Present, and Future). I was astounded by the breath of knowledge exhibited by the audience. Many were scientists by profession or amateurs with extensive knowledge of the physics behind space travel. Most were huge science fiction fans who preferred science fiction that included hard science.
The audience had real concerns about issues threatening this world such as pollution, collisions with asteroids, war, plague, etc. I couldn’t help thinking about one of Kurt Vonnegut’s novels, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. In that novel, Rosewater tells a group of science fiction fans how much he admires and loves them because: ” You’re the only ones who’ll talk all about the really terrific changes going on, the only ones crazy enough to know that life is a space voyage, and not a short one, either, but one that’ll last for billions of years. You’re the only ones with guts enough to really care about the future, who really notice what machines do to us, what wars do to us, what cities do to us, what big, simple ideas do to us, what tremendous misunderstanding, mistakes, accidents, catastrophes do to us.”
You could what Vonnegut said to include people who read science fiction regularly and think about the future.