Does fiction mimic reality? Or does reality mimic fiction? The lines are increasingly blurred in what I like to call the fantasy driven reality. My wife and I recently watched an episode of the The Next Generation where Moriarty tricks Picard into believing a holodeck simulation is real. For those of you whom avoid literature like it’s about to set you on fire, Moriarty is the fictional villain from the Sherlock Holmes series. For those of you that avoid Star Trek… deal with it. It’s a good show. In the episode, a fiction creates a reality out of a fiction and to solve the problem Picard creates a reality out of the fiction. Or did he create fiction from the reality? Or maybe… help, my brain is on fire!
The mind bending plot twist that reality may not be reality is nothing new to the science fiction realm. Plenty of films address the concept, more notably Sleepy Hollow High where she wakes up and it’s all a dream! (The pure imagination to construct a plot entirely in a dreamworld… is not what this director possessed). However, what about fiction creating the reality? I find that to be a much more common phenomenon. For example, Nike is about to release the shoe from Back to the Future II. Think out about it for a moment.
Aaron stands up from his computer and takes a pee.
Done thinking? Great! Back to the Future II painted a vision of the world in 2015 which includes a pair of futuristic shoes. Those shoes are now a reality. The fictional world shapes our reality. Invent a tricorder and you could will $10 million dollars. Even Jules Verne predicted that submarines would be yellow and full of giant mushrooms at the center of the Earth with a Jerry Garcia Head swelling up like a big balloon flying around the world in roughly forty two point three days. Or was that another part of my youth?
Either way, science fiction becomes science fact. Why don’t any of the really neat ideas become science fact? The shoes from Back to the Future II are fun but if there is one technology that I wanted as a kid from that movie, it’s the hover board. I didn’t even skate as a kid and the hover board was the coolest thing I ever saw! No one watched that movie and said, “The hover board is nice, but those shoes are the coolest thing ever made. I WANT THEM!” Think about it.
Aaron microwaves a bowl of popcorn.
Crunch. Crunch. The tricorder will really help the medical community. But where is the $10 million prize for the holodeck, the transporter, or the replicator? The holodeck’s benefit to humanity is obvious in the one flaw of the The Next Generation. The crew always implied that Wesley Crusher, a 15 year old boy, used the holodeck to study. He wasn’t studying in there. I’m surprised he ever left! The tricorder seems handy but a replicator is world changing. Imagine never having to hunt down card board cut outs of the cast of Twilight. You can simply replicate them. I’ll leave you to think about what do with the cast of Twilight.
Aaron goes to bed.
You messed up Taylor Lautner’s hair! Fiction, science and otherwise, fuses into our reality but takes a life of its own. Imagine wearing Back to the Future II shoes, a Harry Potter robe, Frodo’s Mithril, Jack Sparrow’s pants, a Star Fleet com badge, Han Solo’s blaster, a psychic paper wallet, and we can’t forget a pair of Terminator sunglasses. Convention nerds wouldn’t know whether to beat you up or worship you. Making a fiction your real life is very possible.
But why do the rather silly parts of fiction become reality? A moral code such as the Prime Directive (don’t fuck with people unless they fuck with you), seems like a much neater idea to adopt than a com badge that blips when you press it. As much as these fictional objects are neat to look at. They are simply there for display.
I’d like to think that fiction teaches us lessons without having to live the event ourselves (as much as I love watching post apocalypse movies, an actual apocalypse and post life would kind of suck). Why not take these lessons learned from fiction and incorporate them into reality? Honestly, I can live without the Back to the Future II shoe. However, I can’t live without ideas that actually will change the world.