What Draws us to Science Fiction and Fantasy?

I have been a sci-fi enthusiast since early childhood. I don’t know why, but I have guesses. For some reason, I was never interested in the world I live in, not as a child, not now. I grew up in a working middle class neighborhood where everything was neat and tidy, and everyone was very much the same. Though I lived on the outskirts of what we now call a “global” city, conformity was the unwritten rule of law.

I was always proud of my city, though not so much of my neighborhood—I knew when I was a tween that I would someday leave for a more hip locale. I did, and I still have that civic pride, but there’s still something missing. 21st century life on planet earth lacks something for me. The way we dress, work, travel, live our daily lives—something just doesn’t resonate. I constantly find myself looking beyond this world to something “out there,” and it’s difficult to articulate, but I know what I mean by it.

I wonder if most science fiction and fantasy fans feel likewise? Was there something about daily life here that just didn’t appeal to us, and to the extent of having to look to books, scientific discovery, entertainment, anything at all to get us off this world at least mentally? Why do so many of us shun ordinary life to read about other places and times (or if we’re writing science fiction, imagine them), and wear odd costumes at cons with others who share our line of thinking?

Somehow, I don’t think it’s just because we’re nerds; lots of nerds out there have no interest in these things and are fully immersed in the mundane world. (Look at how I just termed it—does that not open a window to my soul?!) But the worlds of science fiction and fantasy are anything but mundane, and for some of us, present a wonderful platform for where we might like to see ourselves, and the existence we might want to live in.

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