The term science fiction is attributed to Forrest J. Ackerman in 1954, a science fiction writer, magazine editor and agent. When one thinks about the origin of SF, H. G. Wells comes to mind. However, when I think about it, Homer comes to mind. Odysseus confronts lotus-eaters, a Cyclops, the cannibalistic Laestrygonians, and the witch goddess Circe, to name a few. Well, perhaps not SF, but certainly fantasy.
The human drive to categorize remains strong. SF has been broken down into more than 12 sub-genres. If I were forced to categorize my SF, I would place it in the hard science fiction sub-genre, but such a characterization is similar to pigeon holing an artist, futile in the end. SF has been focused as much on social issues as it has been on science. The rule of thumb that was impressed upon me was that SF is centered on plot, plot, and plot. However, as a reader, I don’t believe that. For me, the center of all stories is people and their relationships. Plot is also vital but must be interwoven with a human story. One can look to the movies for perfect examples of fantastic special effects with no human story and they are inevitably failures.
Many scientific advances have been first imagined in SF, but as the pace of scientific discovery has increased, it often overtakes the imagined. While the prior century was the century of technology, the current century will the century of biology. Altering the human genome is already being attempted. This type of activity carries with it enormous ethical considerations that must be addressed, but probably won’t be.
It has been my experience that if a person has not read any SF by the time they graduate from high school, it is a difficult genre for them to appreciate. That is why I set Judas Gene in the near future, which makes it much easier for the reader to embrace. The main stumbling block that some readers have with SF is that they must be willing to suspend disbelief. However, once a set of parameters has been established that defines a particular environment, then everything that happens must be true to these parameters.