02ABB: Beyond the Future Stars

From The Expanse Finale

Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 675

Last week, The Expanse came to an end. After 62 episodes spanning 6 seasons, my favorite science fiction show aired its final episode. And while it's always sad when a good show comes to an end, it certainly helps that the show managed a pretty solid ending for such a lengthy story. A 6-episode final season felt obviously felt shorter than we would have liked, but it still managed to tell all the stories it wanted to tell while still leaving the door open for future stories that should hopefully adapt the remaining books in the series. 

As much as I love other big franchises like Star Trek, Doctor Who, and Battlestar Galactica, there's something about The Expanse that really makes it stand apart from all the others. I've gotten so deeply involved with this show that I've engaged with other supporting content like the Ty and That Guy podcast and even ran a one-shot of The Expanse RPG. And it takes a LOT of love for me to not only learn a new RPG system on my own but also work up the nerve to actually run a session instead of letting Tobie handle things. I really love this franchise and the show coming to an end saddens me, but also excites me because of the possibility of re-watching the whole series and catching new things like what we've done many times with BSG. 

Today I also finished listening to the audiobook edition of Brief Answers to Big Questions, which is essentially the last book by world-famous cosmologist (and sometime-Star Trek cameo actor) Stephen Hawking. Using his usual flair for translating high concept ideas into more plain language, the book covers a wide range of topics - the "big questions" - and Hawking makes his arguments for how we should be viewing different issues that affect us as a species. To call him a futurist may still be inaccurate - the man looked at everything in a manner different from how most people do. He sees systems and how they interact and projects what the future may be like based on the models he has defined for current processes. 

Finishing both the show and the book brought my brain to a similar place. The world of The Expanse is a not-to-distant future where a lot of the same problems we're facing today have translated into bigger problems plaguing humanity across our solar system. A lot of these challenges are ones that Hawking also tackles - fundamental issues we face as a species that remain unaddressed and thus continue to threaten our future. 

And while a lot of what Hawking raised and what was also presented in The Expanse can feel somewhat scary as such problems are not easily solved on an individual level. But there's something comforting about hearing these perspectives from learned men like him and the writing team behind The Expanse that all make me want to invest more time in thinking about some big questions myself and maybe sharing my thoughts about them as well if only to help contribute to the greater conversation about these challenges that we need to have as a global human community. 

Good science fiction and science writing does this - inspires us to think beyond our mundane lives and consider the future. And our ability to imagine a better future not just for ourselves but for those around us is the first step in making the world  a better place.