Lorrie Jackson

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Sci Fi and the Big Ideas

Nowadays, everybody says that science fiction has stopped talking about Big Ideas. Science fiction used to be the genre that asked the huge questions, about who we are and where we’re going. But somehow, people say, the genre lost its appetite for deep thoughts.
10 Recent Science Fiction Books That Are About Big Ideas

I was nine years old and really sick. So sick with allergies and sinuses and the lot that I missed over 30 days of fourth grade. For a while it was fun and then it got boring fast. I remembered someone gave me a graphic novel for the pilot episode of the TV series Battlestar Galactica. That, and seeing the first Star Wars movie and I was hooked. I was to be a lifelong Sci Fi fan.

But, talk to non-Sci Fi lovers about the genre and all they see is aliens with funny foreheads or unicorns or lasers. Good science fiction, really good science fiction is so much more.

Don’t get me wrong, I will be lining up for any JJ Abrams reboot of any of the franchises regardless of whether it’s good or not. But a truly great sci fi story sticks with you and makes you ask questions about our own humanity, our values. To me, science fiction gives us a breather, a moment to say, “This is not you. It is not your life. But consider, if it was you and your life, what would that mean??”

What are the big idea science fiction works in your life?

I’ll share some in the days to come, but let me start with “The Measure of a Man” – TNG Star Trek. What is life? How do we define life? And who defines and controls life?

In the end, it is often one individual against authority who makes a stand and wins or loses based on belief. And, if it takes funny foreheads and lasers to get there, I’m in.

- Lorrie

Comfort in, Dump Out

Chances are, someone you know is suffering. And sometimes, it’s hard to know how to help. Take a look at this post from the L.A. Times. And remember, “Comfort in, Dump OUT.”.

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Nice To Live in a Small town

“A man who had grown up across the street from them bought our lunch and asked the diner to make sure we got pie (because pie helps everything).”

Nice To Live in a Small town

The above account could only have happened in a small town. The author’s father had died and the family had gathered in a restaurant. Could the same have happened in a big city?

While I’m a city girl born and bred, I’ve spent a lot of time in small towns. Much of my childhood summers were spent in a few towns in the South where life has a dependable ebb and flow. Funeral casseroles, church plays, holiday parades, cruising the square, going to the “bigger small” town nearby for food or shopping, etc.

One of my favorite small town stories actually doesn’t involve me. My grandparents, small town residents through and through, were driving down the town’s main street. A police squad car pulls up beside them and the officer waves. My grandmother waves back. The officer waves more frantically and begins saying something. Grandmother can’t quite hear what he’s saying but can tell it’s one of her former students and keeps waving back. The squad car pulls off.

The phone is ringing when they get home. It’s the police dispatcher. “Ma’am, Officer Smith isn’t sure you understood him. He says your tags are expired.”

Would that have ever happened in the big city? Hardly. Small towns are webs full of connections good and yes, sometimes, bad. Many folks leave and cannot imagine returning. Others, yearning for that sense of belonging they never had, try to make their place in this community. As Bess Aldrich said in 1933, “After all, it is contact and familiarity that help endear people and places to us.”

Are we losing our small towns? What will we lose and will it matter?

Where do you find community and belonging?

Lorrie

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