I think most of us have someone we looked up to as kid, someone that helped to shape the way we see the world. Someone that made us a better person. Okay, maybe I went a little to far with the word better. Let's just say influenced.
Personally I had two. The first, at the top of the list, was Benjamin Franklin. An all around great guy. Anyone who can fly a kite in the rain, just to see what lightning is made out of and live to tell about it is always at the top of my list.
The second was Reed Richards. Well, nobody said it had to be a real person. As a kid when I read the Fantastic Four I was held in awe by the wild machines that populated its pages not to mention by the man himself. He had perfect posture, broad shoulders, chiseled good looks and a generous swath of gray at the temples. Anyone could see he was one of the good guys. He was an unparalleled genius able to multi-task in a time that had never heard the term. He could manage the problem at hand and his relationship with all the other team members all at the same time. I had envisioned myself in his likeness a million times. I wanted to be this kind of man... but genetics being what they are and much to my personal disappointment, I wound up looking more like Franklin. Happily, the trade off turned out to be the craving for knowledge and the feeling of kinship were machinery is involved.
I think this, above all else, is what sci-fi is all about. It makes you want more, not just for the sake of having material gain but to have and be more than you are. To become something better than you were in the beginning, even if itÕs just for a little while. It makes you want to visit those worlds, see those creatures, have those adventures... see all those incredible machines and spaceships and ray guns and zapping arcs of energy from things we can't possibly understand. But we want to, we really want to.
We want it to transform us in unimaginable ways so we can be part of something bigger than ourselves, something wonderful and good. Isn't that why we read? To live a life not our own for however long that book will have us? We crave that kinship with our stories and sci-fi lets us live in those pages to its absolute fullest. We want a happy ending, don't we? We want to wipe the tears of our involvement from our cheeks and say to ourselvesÉ "that was really, really good"
Down deep inside that's what we all really want isn't it? Well, that and chocolate.