For the science fiction portion of this paper, I choose to use the definition of Isaac Asimov.
Modern science fiction is the only form of literature that consistently considers the
nature of the changes that face us, the possible consequences, and the possible solutions.
That branch of literature which is concerned with the impact of scientific advantage upon
This definition reflects the both the experiences I have had reading the genre, as well as the probable themes of most other science fiction works. This definition is very useful because it doesn't handicap itself by putting the changes that face us into one category. It is deliberately left open. Many people would say that any science fiction has to put humanity to a test or have it face a threat. This is simply not true. As long as a book addresses the nature of changes we may face, whether a threat, a trial, an ethical dilemma, or an opening of new possibilities and horizons, it may be considered worthy of the brand “science fiction.” Scientific advantage doesn't have to be a negative story about disaster, it can portray the joy of exploration or thrill of discovery. True science fiction has this new something result in consequences that require a change in modern-day thinking. If anything, science fiction is a means of getting people thinking about issues that we may face in the future. Good or bad they will change how the world works.
The Time Machine
H G Wells' The Time Machine fits well into Isaac Asimov's definition of science fiction. As the change that face us, Wells chose the long term effects of Social Darwinism and evolution. The time traveler traveled hundreds of thousands of years into the future and discovered the Eloi people. At first glance, they were the perfect residents of an advanced civilization. When he looked further, however, the traveler noticed that the advancement had enfeebled the Eloi. The world had progressed in a way that removed any and all threats to human existence. Diseases were eradicated, wars nonexistent. Without an incentive to improve, humans become weak, lazy, and stupid. While the lives of the Eloi seem to be perfect, they have become quite the opposite. In a sense, Wells doubled up on Asimovs definition. The humans of Earth faced many issues in modern times. They found solutions to these problems, but it would turn out that even these solutions resulted in a completely new change that faced them. This time, however, the damage was to great. As the time traveler continued his movement forward, he watched the devolution of the planet. At the end humans were no more than red, crab-like creatures. As the world slowly loses its energy the earth stops moving, the sun dies, the winds cease.
Wells did not just hypothesize of more unavoidable consequence that occurred as time passed. He also brought up a critique of capitalism and issued a warning to his readers. Wells, writing from a time of Industrial...