Science fiction turns nonfiction before our eyes

Science fiction turns nonfiction before our eyes
27 Jul

Fiction: Any story or setting derived from imagination.

Science fiction (Sci-Fi): Fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances frequently featuring spaceflight, time travel, and extraterrestrial life.

Nonfiction: Based on facts, rather than invented stories.

Angels, ghosts, dragons, and ferocious werewolves will always be a part of Sci-Fi, unless inter-breeding and/or science comes up with their own method of producing these actual characters. But I’m thinking the electronic portion of Sci-Fi no longer qualifies for “Fi” (fiction).

My dad sold electronics back when televisions were first marketed to the public. Consequently, we were the first family in our neighborhood to have a TV.

Televisions were a phenomenon to us. My Uncle Jennings was enthralled with television and timed milking the cows around the “Captain Video” show. Captain Video was our sci-fi.

Then along came “Star Wars.” When these programs were released and shown to the public, they were fiction. We all knew there were claims of UFO sightings, but being realistic, we believed it was impossible. Then we watched on TV as they put a man on the moon!

Now we have all kinds of UFOs and IFOs (Identified) zipping around through space. Yesterday’s sci-fi is today’s non-fiction.

Back down to Earth, we fast forward to 2018. There is so much going on with electronics, we senior citizens struggle to keep up. But, I am amazed and proud of all the gray heads bent over their smart phones at restaurants.

It seems not all that long ago, I scoffed at the idea of talking on the phone and viewing the other party while they were looking back at you. I am of the generation that had a cord attached to a phone on the wall, and I used my Aunt Annie’s old crank phone — two shorts and a long got her — along with all the local families in the area listening in. Uncle Jennings never saw a cellphone — he would have loved them.

Jerry and I travel our own ground-level spacecraft. We bought a 2017 Rav4. Our car comes up just short of being one of those self-driven vehicles. The driving chores it takes charge of are amazing.

It beeps and flashes at us so much, we’re kept busy trying to figure out what we’re about to hit, run over, or run out of — or maybe we just crossed over one of the painted lines on the highway. In spite of our skepticism, it appears self-driven cars are becoming a reality. Another sci-fi turns non-fi — never say never.

Also, the seemingly impossible is asking your cellphone or vehicle answers to unknown facts. “Siri, (or Google) how far is it to the moon? … What are the names of the actors in Star Wars?” “Siri, take me home,” and shazam — she answers your questions or starts giving you travel directions.

Some reports claim you shouldn’t carry your cellphones next to your skin for fear of radiation contaminating your body. It should be a law that all clothing will be supplied with pockets big enough to handle smaller or larger phones. More than once I’ve been caught with no pockets or secret compartments to carry my iPhone in, and have been forced to stuff it in my bra.

Then there’s those crazy buzzing mosquito-like things zipping around taking videos and spying on us. I will warn you, if any of those pests shows up flying around me, its carcass will end up under my feet after being batted down with a good old-fashioned, hand-operated, fly swatter and stomped on.

Of course, all these gadgets need signals to send or receive information. You don’t see or feel them, but our atmosphere is saturated with them. Are we being zapped without realizing it? Are those electronic signals consistently invading our bodies? It seems future graveyards may have an aura over them emitted from the glow of its occupants — or our ashes will sparkle like stardust.

Kids today are growing up with, and taking for granted, what we thought was impossible a few years ago. For me, it has been a fascinating trip through pencils to computers, Captain Video to men on the moon, and wall phones with cords to cellphones.

What’s next? Part of me wants to see it — part doesn’t.

Fiction or nonfiction?

Regardless, don’t forget to F-R-O-G.

Note to readers: Earlene Campbell lives by the FROG motto — Fully Rely On God. She lives in Princeton and can be reached at



« »