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Sunday, November 01, 2009

5 Ways to Explain Scifi Obsession to Friends

We all have that one friend who doesn’t get science fiction. Some of us have probably gone through the annoying experience of trying to explain it and realized how futile such a thing really is. But maybe we’ve failed because we haven’t bothered to try one of the following five options:

--I’m an Alien!
Look, your friends already think you’re insane for having Star Wars figurines lining your walls or stacks of science fiction books filling up your shelves. What harm could it do to take that insanity to the next level? Explain that your love for the genre is due to a long lost urge to reclaim the glory of your former galactic empire! At least there might be something strangely normal about saying that (especially if you’re British).

--Theater Birth
Maybe they’d understand you if they thought you had been born during the opening credits of Star Wars, or shared a birthday with twelve of the greatest science fiction writers of all time (thanks to some clever quasi-time-travel handiwork). Heck, you could even tell them your first word was a Wookie war cry thanks to a year of clever brainwashing by your scifi-crazed parents, in which you were exposed, twenty-four hours a day, to non-stop scifi goodies. Your friends will understand. Really.

--Speculative Prescription
There’s nothing like explaining away one level of “crazy” than by claiming you’re crazy in a different way, and that your new crazy is medication. There are all sorts of weird treatments out there, and it wouldn’t be that difficult to accept that some radical psychiatrist out there wants to treat your mental defects with a bit of spaceship-and-explosions-laced fun. If you really wanted to, you could cook up some fake prescription notices to your local Blockbuster. Might be fun…

--Only Wimps Get Old
Some people see science fiction obsession as a sort of desperation to remain a child. After all, it’s all escapist garbage, right? And you should just grow up and be like everyone else. I mean, come on, being into science fiction is like being a forty-year-old fat man with a beard hanging out at an Anime convention; it happens, but it’s just not natural…But screw that. Tell them you don’t want to grow up. You’re a Toys’R’Us kid, or something like that, and you’ll be damned if you’ll throw away all your fun for a suit, a tie, and a mediocre cubicle in the 9-to-5 grind. Science fiction is about life (and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness)! You’re seizing the day, as the ancients used to say.

--The Economy Needs Lovin’ Too
Still, there’s nothing like explaining to your friends just how important science fiction is to the economy. Just show them the sales figures of the last ten years of science fiction film in the U.S. and you’ll have ample evidence as to why the genre makes the world go round. And that’s not including books, action figures, collectible cards, board games, pajamas, t-shirts, food products, and novelty bedroom attire for the ladies (nothing like a little Spidey lingerie, eh?). Without sciffy nuts like you, the sales industry would be a damned boring place. And don’t forget to mention all the advances in technology thanks to science fiction: everything from new ways to make films to new technologies and ideas that make our lives easier. Plus, our current President is a sciffy fan, and if it’s good enough for the President, it’s good enough for you, right?

But maybe all these options are a little too over-the-top for you. You can stick with the same old boring answers if you want, but these five suggestions might spice things up a bit.

If you’ve ever tried anything like this, let me know in the comments. I’d like to know the different ways you folks have tried to explain your obsessions to your friends, science fiction-based or not!

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