I was in pre-school when I fell in love with sci-fi. My father was watching a movie about a miniature saucer submarine that was injected into a person's blood stream. The idea that a submarine could be miniaturized to a size of a microbe astounded me. I was awed by the special effects of the movie that I had nightmares for many nights. I never forgot the movie. I was already in my twenties when I found out that the title of the movie was "Fantastic Voyage." Thanks to a book adaption by Isaac Asimov.
Also, I grew up watching series like "Space 1999", "Buck Rogers", "Battlestar Galactica", "Jason and the Star Commands"...I also read Jules Verne, Allan Dean Foster, Ray Bradbury, Arthus Clarke, etc. Since then I was hooked on sci-fi movies and books.
What makes reading sci-fi different from other literatures is its vision of tomorrow. It prepares the reader to the possibilities of what could be and what will be. To sci-fi readers, technological advances do not and would not surprise them because they are well prepared to accept and adapt to it-they already had some very advanced ideas of the possibilities of what the future could be.
Sci-fi readers do not only imagine what they are reading about, but they also speculate about it, participating with it. It is not about predicting what the future may look like, but it is anticipating how the future could look like. Nothing is impossible. There’s nothing new. Everything that has been invented and discovered, and could be invented and discovered, had been invented and discovered in science fiction. Science fiction readers are not expecting anything new; they are only waiting for the realization of these “new.” Computers have long been invented in sic-fi literatures; genetics and eugenics, space exploration… time travel, etc. The science and the technology may not the same as it was realized today, or it may not be possible as of today, but the ideas and the speculations are already there. There is prophetic vision involved; the possibilities are exciting. Realize that some of today’s scientific and technological advances have even surpassed some of the predictions of yesterday’s science fiction.
Although most sci-fi stories are about the future, science and technology, speculative application of natural laws, etc., still the human aspect of the genre is well explored. How do we respond to changes? What do we do if we suddenly find out that there are aliens? How do we deal with invasion? How about time travel? How do we respond to these? How about ethics? Sci-fi readers have explored these questions, already.
I'm sleepy...I will continue when I have the time.