Why are there a number of how-to books on building worlds in Science Fiction, but none, at least that I know of, about shaping the societies that inhabit them? Thankfully, there are authors who include the societal element of the story they’re writing, be the societies alien or human. But there were a couple of panel discussions I attended at last weekend’s DETCON1 that suggested too many writers are ignoring the sentient side of the equation when they look at future worlds or the future of our world.
DETCON1 was this year’s North American Science Fiction Convention being held in Detroit. I wish I could have attended all the panel discussions, but every one I did make it to was very good. Two of the panel really stood out in my mind. The first was a panel on how science fiction and fantasy approach religion.
I was first introduced to the topic when I attended Clarion back in the ’80s, and continued to notice when religion was handled well in Sci-Fi. Understand, I’m not talking about religious stories with a science fiction theme. Rather, science fiction is able to explore religion and its impact on a society without being didactic about a particular church or sect.