Why I Write Science Fiction

April 12, 2013 | Hugh Howey

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Editor's Note: This April, the library is celebrating the Keep Toronto Reading Festival and our One Book - "Fahrenheit 451," by Ray Bradbury. Guest blogger Hugh Howey, author of the bestselling novel, "Wool", shares his thoughts on why he writes science fiction.

Hugh-howeyI write in several genres, but the reason I find myself drawn to science fiction as an author is the same reason I found myself sucked in as a reader when I was young: I had discovered worlds that one day might come true.

My first love as a reader was the fantasy genre. I read any story with a dragon or a wizard in it. Even better if it had both. But then I discovered "Ender's Game", "Dune", and "I, Robot" and suddenly I imagined equally fantastical realms that were different in a major way: they might become possible.

As the years have gone on and science has wielded more and more of its magic, the world around me seems straight out of the books I read as a child. People have artificial hearts, knees, and hips. We all carry powerful computers in our pockets and can talk to any other person around the globe at any time. Cars drive themselves. I can talk to my TV and it does my bidding. Yesterday's sorcery is today's reality.

Science fiction does many other things. It allows us to analyze the human condition by tweaking our environment so that we highlight our flaws and our strengths. It's a perfect vehicle for satire and for exploring serious ethical quandaries.

But most of all, it whisks us away to adventures that loom ahead. Where I used to read about a past that never was, now I am free to write about a tomorrow that just might be. And what could be more exciting than that.