What are you doing April 22nd? I will be marching for science in Washington, D.C.. I don't know if I'll be able to talk any of my fellow writers and artists into going with. I'm sure lots of other writers will be there. Hopefully, we'll get a team together. I'd like to see self-published science fiction writers make a good showing there.
Science fiction isn't possible without the science that undergirds it. There could be no War of the Worlds without the knowledge that the Earth is not alone in our galaxy, let alone in our universe. We could not have had the defeat of the Martians by a simple bacteria (or virus in the movie) if not for the knowledge that viruses cause disease. In fact, we couldn't have the knowledge that viruses cause disease, without the disease model of illness! And how could there be Voyage to the Moon without rocketry, astronomy, and a lot of imagination? Or I, Robot without at least rudimentary robotics, engineering, and the understanding of things like electricity? Indeed, how could we have movies without understanding chromatography, chemistry, electronics, and audiophonics? How could we self-publishers publish so much without the introduction of computers which rely on everything from fuzzy logic to the electric diode? How could Jurassic Park blow us away with their advanced computer animation, without technology? Yes, and how could the book have been written in the first place without knowledge of genetics, evolution, fossil development, carbon dating, radiometrics, tree ring dating, climatology, biology, physiology, archeology, and anthropology... just to name a few of the disciplines that contributed to the body of knowledge Michael Chrichton had to draw upon? We are fond of pointing out how science has been inspired by science fiction, but how easily we forget, that the converse was so obviously true as to go unstated all these years.
Yet today, science is under attack. In some cases from people who want to make a quick buck... sheisters, quacks, snake oil salesmen... who want to sell us crystals, or pink salt, or sugar pills to cure what ails us, the science be damned. In some cases the attacks come from frightened people responding to the thousand and one conspiracy stories and rumors on the internet, people whose imaginations have run wild until the nightmares have chased every dream to its last corner. We're told to fear autism from our vaccines, that the government is sterilizing us through chemtrails in the sky, that chocolate is an octave, that airplane air is bad for us because it isn't a hundred percent oxygen! Parents fear getting their children vaccinated to such a point they refuse life saving Vitamin K at birth! Then there are the professional rumor hawkers, the propagandists and hate mongers. Our old enemies, the Nazis, have reared their ugly heads again, sometimes teasingly hiding behind more run of the mill political organizations or "white pride" type groups, sometimes letting the mask slip so we see them saluting with arms raised. They and other old line propagandists and hate mongers try to discredit intellectuals and scientists and "the media" so that we will hear no voice but the one they want us to hear, and become enslaved to their "truth", even despite the evidence of our own eyes. No, I have never seen any evidence that 9/11 was an inside job. No, I do not agree there is sufficient evidence that the CIA invented AIDS. No, I will not blindly believe that global climate change is a hoax of the Chinese... or anyone else. I demand evidence! Because science fiction cannot exist without science, and science is under attack, every science fiction author should be up in arms and prepared to fight back against this latest attack by science deniers, the unscientific and the antiscience hate mongers.
The March for Science is not a march against anything. It is a march in support of something--our future. Supporting science is supporting honest communication, hard evidence, and hope for the future. That's why the organizers have planned for a teach-in on the National Mall. That's why I'll be there, and I hope you will join me.
I've a special plan for my visit, and I'll reveal it to you in the coming weeks. Hope to see you there!