Science fiction as time travel

Last month I wrote a short SciFi story on this blog, as a tribute to Mary Shelley’s seminal 1818 masterpiece Frankenstein — arguably the first science fiction story. I tried to stay close to the literary conventions of Regency Era prose, while touching upon various science fiction themes from throughout these last 200 years.

Over the course of that process, I got to thinking about the nature of science fiction. Any SciFi story needs to incorporate science, but aside from that common premise, we see vast differences within the field.

The science fiction of any given era in history reflects the cultural preoccupations — the hopes and fears, if you will — of that era. Science fiction evolves as culture evolves.

I’m thinking it would be interesting to pick a different era in history — say, the 1950s — and construct a new science fiction story around the cultural preoccupations of that particular day and age. By taking us back to the mindset of an earlier era, such a story would itself be a kind of time machine.

And what could be more appropriate than that?