People who know me won't believe this, but I didn't really get into sci fi until my 20s. I grew up loving fantasy (so much Enid Blyton), and I remember seeing Sci fi on the tv...but it just wasn't something watched in our house in general.
It's a strange thing that it felt radical at times to be Black and to also be Nerdy. I feel lucky that today we almost take it for granted that Black people watch sci fi too. Plus we live in the age of Black Panther coming to the big screen...but I digress.
I like to call Harry potter my gateway drug. That break between books 4 and 5 introduced me to the world of Internet fan forums and fanfics. The last book came out the summer after my senior year of college, and I had a vacancy in my life.
So it was only fitting that I took up Star Trek. I'd been considering it for a whole, and had fond memories of seeing it on tv as a child...and the Internet was filled with excitement that a new movie would be coming out the next year, rebooting the series. Of course I started with the original series...which proved to be painful until I grew to love all the characters, even Kirk (I'll always be Spock's homegirl). And then I just got into loving even the campiness of some of those early episodes, the ridiculousness of how many "human like" aliens and "earth like" planets there were, the optimism of how noble humans would be in the future.
By then I was deep into my early years of the PHD. Still, with just hours to spare, I managed to finish the sixth movie (the last one with just the original cast). I was of course hooked and went on to watch all of the next generation, the rest of the movies, deep space nine, and almost all of voyager (part of me likes to savor the fact that I still have Star Trek episodes left to watch). And now here I am, also a Whovian (yes David tennant is my favorite doctor), getting pulled into the marvel universe (agents of shield! Agent Carter! Jessica jones!), and even getting into comic books (❤ Ms. Marvel).
Maybe it's the misfits. The ones who don't quite fit in, they really shine in all these worlds. Harry, Ron and Hermione...Kirk, Spock, McCoy...they taught me the value of friendship, perseverance, loyalty, curiosity, and "a certain disregard for rules".
At times it illustrates the best parts of humanity, at times the worst. We get a little bit of science (just a little bit, though Star Trek has been a serious trailblazer), a little bit of adventure. We get these rich fictional universes that have been built upon over time. I always loved the escape.
Science fiction and fantasy like Star Trek, Doctor Who, Harry Potter and the Marvel world allows us to enter into this world that could almost be our world. And for a girl with a little too much imagination, that's the key.