The Golden Age of Sci-Fi

By Carol Starkey

I come by my love of science fiction honestly. My dad was a huge science fiction nerd and my mom, though not as big a fan, was, too. I have read countless collections of “this year’s best science fiction,” and have read authors spanning from Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke to Walter M. Miller, Jr. and Blake Crouch. I devoured Star Trek, Star Wars, Firefly, Doctor Who, Dollhouse, Quantum Leap, and more. Science fiction movies are my jam.

But I wouldn’t have any of that without the Golden Age of Science fiction, which lasted from 1937 to the late ‘50s. Magazines such as Astounding and Amazing Stories made it possible for new authors to cut their teeth on their craft and shoot some of them to household name status. What sticks out to me most is the thread of hope running through so many of these tales. Even the dark ones, the ones where it seems there can be no good end, have a good guy and a bad guy (or a good guy and a dangerous planet) and the good guy always wins.

World War II began in 1939. Nation fought nation, though the US didn’t join for two years. But those were uncertain, scary times, and science fiction boomed. The years of the second World War were its best years, and after the bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it must have seemed that science fiction came to life.

Science fiction gave its readers a sense of safety, that eventually everything would be okay, that the Martians wouldn’t win, that the bad guy with the huge laser wouldn’t win, that man wouldn’t stay lost on the moon’s surface until he died. I’ve met plenty of Christians who look down their nose at sci-fi, who view it as wicked and without God. But I see God when I read it.

Not only have dozens of items and events in these tales come to pass (iPads, the two moons of Mars, cell phones, smart homes), but these stories spawned the way for the TV shows and novels of today. From Doctor Who and Stranger Things to Fahrenheit 451 and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, so many of the stories explore something bigger than us, something beyond us.Whether it’s the government coming after its own citizens or inventions gone awry, the best tales are, at their very heart, the story of humankind. They’re the tales of men and women, boys and girls, coming together, facing down the alien with three heads or the evil scientist intent upon harm, and relying on each other to get out of a mess.

To me, that message has God at its very center. Science fiction, though concerned with gadgets, alternate futures, and space travel, is at its core a tale of Christ’s love. What can be more Christlike than standing up for your fellow man, even to death?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carol Starkley lives with her husband, three daughters, and numerous pets. She likes to read, write, bake, and dabble with the clarinet. She also infrequently blogs.

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