One thing that has always bothered me about most works of science fiction is the lack of accessibility. Most sci-fi books are usually too jargon-y to be fully comprehensible. Don’t get me wrong, I think sci-fi is a great genre of writing and I believe that it leads the way for transformation in writing, and also influences science and technology to some extent, but I believe science fiction is still the domain of geeks because of the nature of the work. I consider myself to be quite geeky, having spent years learning about computers and technology, but I find it hard to understand a lot of the science fiction works.
I think that science fiction authors consider it a matter of pride to show that they are more intelligent than the rest. Now, this is a quite damning statement and it might offend a lot of people, so I’ll try to explain what I mean by it. Most science fiction books tend to create new concepts and things, which they are supposed to, but they never provide an adequate explanation. A new gadget will be introduced with a techie-sounding name and the reader is supposed to magically divine what it is and what it is supposed to do. I suppose that the authors are deliberately vague because they themselves do not have a complete picture of what they are conjuring and they want to leave it to the readers to interpret the idea in their own way. It is possible that this is something that only bothers me and not other people are more deeply into the genre. After all, science fiction authors build on the ideas of other people before them, so they do not feel the need to explain something that was invented by someone before them. However, I feel that a work of fiction should not require prerequisites. It would not be too hard to have a glossary with two-line explanations of the jargon introduced in the book.
Take Neuromancer as an example. It is considered to be a book that defined a new path for science fiction. Most sci-fi books that have come out since have borrowed heavily from the ideas introduced in the book. It is even said to have partially defined how the Internet and virtual worlds look like now. Yet, I found myself somewhat lost trying to follow the story. The lines between the real world and the virtual world, between Man and AI are blurred (deliberately, for sure) and it is hard to figure out exactly what is going on!
This rant perhaps makes me come across as someone who is not intelligent enough to be reading science fiction but I believe that there must be a lot of people like me who would love to be a part of the fascinating future and it would be great if the works were more accessible. If you know of any books/authors that I will be able to grasp easily, please do let me know.