I have loved science fiction my whole life but this started to change for me as I became atheist. I believe in nothing supernatural at all. There was a time when I did, but there is no evidence. In my case I was more into science fiction as a theist.
Michael, I see a clear distinction between science fiction -- Asimov, Heinlein, and Roddenberry's Star Trek -- and fantasy fiction -- which grew in popularity in the 1960s and has largely dominated ever since.
What I call science fiction is almost totally without supernatural beliefs. It favors learning about new species and working together peacefully over war and killing.
So I'm wondering which sort you found unacceptable after you realized the foolishness of the supernatural.
If Robert Heinlein had a blind spot as regards some of his earlier work, it was in his overestimate of humankind's mental and/or psychic capacities. This came to a head in his most famous novel, Stranger in a Strange Land, where he posits the Martian language as a mechanism for unlocking all manner of supposedly latent human abilities which, in the light of what we understand about ourselves today, are really a bit beyond the pale. I'm glad to say he tended to back away from that approach after Stranger, leaning more on high degrees of expertise and competence in some of his protagonists as a basis for their accomplishments as plots develop.
Heinlein's attitude toward Homo sapiens always seemed to be HOPEFUL, which is a large portion of why I so enjoyed his work.
I loved Science Fiction as a child, daydreaming about space travel adventures. My Mormon indoctrination did not prohibit it, so I enjoyed it until about 30 years old, seeing every Sci-Fi movie, and reading many Sci-Fi books.
After 30, I still liked good Sci-Fi stories, but as I aged, I grew more irritated by stupidities, and most movies have lots of them, so there are very few I like now. As I aged, I also read less of those those stories in books. I don't know why, as Sci-Fi in books still had very few stupidities in them.
I finally saw the stupidities in religion at the age of 50, and became an Atheist soon after.
Becoming an Atheist does not seem to have changed my enjoyment of good Sci-Fi, but most movies still are way too stupid, and I don't read Sci-Fi books anymore. I don't know why.
Just this week I saw Neil deGrasse Tyson talking about a Sci-Fi movie (forget which one, sorry). He said it has "more scientific blunders -- per minute ..." than any other. That's a lot of non-science. I still enjoy the writers of 1930s through 1950s mainly.
That would have been Armageddon, Jerry, which is about as cheesy an S/F flick as I may have ever seen, never mind scientifically inaccurate!
Loren, please define "cheesy" for me.
Joan, in the case of Armageddon, I think the Urban Dictionary has it right when they define "cheesy" as: "trying too hard, unsubtle, and inauthentic."
Armageddon wants to push every button in the book, from cliched patriotism to the inevitable self-sacrifice which saves the day. It is way too overwrought to have even the slightest sense of believability, though it may qualify as a guilty pleasure flick, if nothing else.
Yes, most Sci-Fi movies are stupid, but they also have a lot of cool efects.
One must differentiate between fantasy and hardcore Sci-Fi (e.g Asimov).
I also recommend my favorite Sci-Fi atheist humorous author the late Douglas Adams. The series of "Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy"
I'll heartily second The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy series!
Some of Adams' observations have become legendary:
“This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.”
“For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.”
And from The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, quite applicable to the United States at this time!
“The major problem—one of the major problems, for there are several—one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.
To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.
To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”
(And we learn that therefore, the job of the President of the Galaxy is not to actually wield power, but to distract citizens from the actual power. The real government is quite bizarre...)
“There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.
There is another theory which states that this has already happened.”
I would now like to put my cards on the table. Being a lifetime atheist surrounded by religious people and because I am also a science fiction fan (especially Douglas Adams and Asimov), I wrote sci-fi fun novel called "The Freak God" which I published on Amazon Kindle. The whole novel is based on a paradox which is an atheistic god. I hope that a young mind reading this book will not be religious.
I do not wish to make money on this forum. Therefore if enough people from this forum would like to read it I can make this book free for a few days.