Space Guns: What do the iconic weapons of science fiction’s future say about our present?

Humanity has a knack for storytelling. Even before the invention of the written word, oral traditions, often passed down from parent to child, told stories about historical events of the past, or shaped narratives around important lessons to impart. With the advent of written language, these stories had the opportunity to grow in complexity and detail, and eventually, in scope. As our understanding of the world around us grew to encompass the vast expanses of mysterious potential above our heads, so too did our story telling, as parable evolved into fiction, and fiction gave birth to science fiction. Today, science fiction is such a commonly accepted form of storytelling that we all have a fundamental understanding of how our society perceives our own future: and almost universally, that future involves conflict. Whether you’re watching a low-budget YouTube series or a $200 million summer blockbuster , if it takes place forward in time, we’ve all come to expect either a dystopian wasteland, spaceships traversing the galaxy, or both. And in nearly every situation, our protagonists had better be armed. The need for conflict , and the character’s ability to manage it through violence, isn’t necessarily a reflection of how we […]

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