“Themed Entertainment’s Obsession With Space Exploration” That’s the topic of the month. But what is “Themed Entertainment?” Am I the only wondering that? I mean, is it code for theme parks? Am I expected to talk about Disney? I think “Themed Entertainment” is vague enough for me to talk about just about anything I like. I mean all it has to be is something themed that’s made to entertain. That’s…most media. Arguably all, I mean, try and think of something that doesn’t have a theme?
The question posed to me is basically “Why are creators so obsessed with space exploration?” My response, of course, is “Are they?” What defines obsession? The existence of a genre? The creation of some theme parks? I would argue that while science-fiction is immensely popular, it’s no more popular than fantasy. I will admit, I do not have statistics to back this, but as a fan of both genres I often notice when new things come out. That’s not even to mention the Superhero genre, which is having a huge moment in the spotlight. Superhero media is complicated, since some arguably falls under sci-fi or fantasy sub-genres, but there is a distinctive separate category for many of those larger than life heroic stories. Then of course we have romance, biography, autobiography, documentary, comedy, you get the idea. Were I to take a guess, the first three story types I mentioned are the ones getting the most attention these days, but the list goes on and on.
So, back to the question “are creators obsessed with space exploration, if so then why?” If you want my working thesis-yes, creators are obsessed with exploring the stars, but no more than they are obsessed with fantasy worlds or costumed heroics. We love stories like this-flying off in The Tardis, being whisked away to Faerie or being dropped in the Avengers Tower-we love these stories because they’re big and immersive and outside of our world! And our world is pretty overwhelming. Tales like these give us a safer venue in which to explore terrifying realities of the world and the human experience. Scientific marvels and magical beings aside, they’re human stories like any other. So, I’ll ask myself one last time, “what’s the deal with all the sci-fi?” Space is a mystery. An endless, absolutely mad and marvelous mystery. We like to conquer mysteries. Know the unknown-the universe, the ocean, the human brain. We’ll never understand all that there is to understand about anything, so storytelling about time travel and spaceships and magic and superpowers…well that might be as close as we get.