Recently I have seen some discussion about UFOs and science fiction and that the fans of science fiction, who you would expect to be sympathetic to the idea of alien visitation are actually hostile to it. I have to disagree here, and I speak as a fellow who has been to many science fiction conventions, spoken at many, and have interacted with the "hardcore" fans for decades. My experience is that everyone will say that they don’t believe in UFOs and alien visitation, but they are fascinated by it. When I have lectured on UFOs at science fiction conventions, those lectures are always well attended with a respectful audience (which, I think, is a comment that can be made in general of science fiction fans).
Often the conventions have multi-track programming, which means the fans have selection of which program they wish to attend. My UFO lectures are often at the best times and in the largest of the lecture rooms and are frequently standing room only. The questions and discussions that follow are always reasoned and intelligent.
The problem faced here might be that many science fiction fans are well-versed in the problems of space travel and the size of the galaxy. They understand the problems with the concept of interstellar flight, but they also know that what was impossible yesterday is routine today... who would have though, twenty years ago, I could sit in my office and access all the information I might need to investigate a scientific question (such as why some mutilated cows had a lack of copper in their blood)? Who would have thought we would have instant communication with friends through cell phones that fit into our pockets...but I digress.
On the other side of the question are the science fiction pros. These are the people who write science fiction and while they might not be hostile to the idea of alien visitation, they certainly aren’t big fans of UFOs. A number of years ago I was invited to participate in a debate about UFOs. It was going to be science fiction writers (of which I am one) against a team from the Center for UFO Studies. When it came time for the debate, there were four science fiction writers teamed up against the lone voice from the Center.
Yes, I was going to be on the side suggesting that there had been no visitation but when I saw the lopsided panel, I switched sides. A debate is about presenting one side of an issue, regardless of personal opinions and I knew enough about UFOs that I could argue either side. In fact, I stumped the other side when they said there is no evidence by pointing to a wide array of evidence from the radar cases to landing trace cases to the photographic evidence.
Of course, like anyone with an open mind, I’m free to change my opinion about the reality of visitation and have done so based on the evidence I have seen and collected over the years, but again, I digress.
My experience has been that science fiction fans (who, BTW, object to the term SCI-FI, the SCI- FI Channel notwithstanding... SCI-FI is all that is wrong in science fiction such as Plan Nine from Outer Space), are interested in UFOs, but like our pals in astronomy, look for high standards of evidence. Like everyone else, they have varied standards of evidence, but they are also more open-minded to the concept of alien visitation.
So, it’s not fair to claim that science fiction fans are hostile to the idea of UFOs and alien visitation... they are hostile to the idea of embracing all aspects of UFOs without critically examining the evidence. They simply will not accept the idea that some people have been selected for journeys to other planets by benevolent space brothers without some sort of evidence other than their descriptions of the alien home world. They will not accept the idea that UFOs are mutilating cattle without some better evidence that there are not terrestrial causes... in fact, at the World Science Fiction Convention held in Denver, Colorado in the 1970s, there was a panel discussion about cattle mutilations.
The interest is there and the scientific understanding is there... all we have to do is provide the proper evidence to sway the opinions of many of the fans. Solid evidence built link by link and we’ll have a huge base of intelligent and rational supporters. But the evidence has to be solid and properly gathered, otherwise we’ll be stuck with opponents who are smart enough to rip apart feeble and ill-logical arguments. They are a tough audience but a fair one.