Okay, so I may be the last person on the planet watching FIREFLY (thank you, Netflix!), and while I'm really enjoying it, sometimes I find myself wondering, Why?
Why do they wear clothes that look like they came from the Old West?
Why do they speak Chinese?
Why did the space ship slow down in space in that episode when that part went out? I mean, there's no friction or anything. Space is a vacuum, right?
Why, why, why?
Why? is the universal question that children speak from a very early age. As humans, we have an obsession with why. Who hasn't questioned why a store has a certain policy? Or why their boss wants them to now fill out three forms instead of the one that seems to be working just fine? Or why can you only drive 75 in Montana? I mean, seriously.
We all ask why, over any number of things.
In science fiction, I'm wondering how important it is to know why. Does it really matter? Do I have to understand the fashion industry in FIREFLY to enjoy the show? No. Do I need the whole history of language and how it evolved in their world to get what's going on? Not really.
So, for me, I think of science fiction as a genre where I don't have to know everything. There are some things readers DO need to know about the world in order to suspend the rest of their disbelief. The fine line is finding that as an author.
Another fine line comes as a reader. When I find myself leaning toward the "Why?" side, I ask myself instead, "Do I have to know why in order to enjoy this?"
If the answer is no, I keep reading--and just enjoy it.
How about you? Are you obsessed with why?