What's Missing in Science Fiction at the Moment?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Rob Sanders, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. Steven L Jordan

    Steven L Jordan I like SF. SF is cool.

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    A method of utilizing quantum tunneling and quantum entanglement to travel from one point in the universe to another. The theory is based on documented scientific experiments and theories explored in multiple articles I've researched over the years, and at least reads as more plausible than FTL travel (because it doesn't need nigh-unlimited power) and sleeper ships (which the human body hasn't demonstrated its ability to tolerate).

    I developed the method for the Verdant series (use the link in my name to see my website for details... probably as close to a "plug" I can get without this post being yanked).
     
  2. Seli

    Seli Registered User

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    That is probably because both are true simultaneously. People are looking for more of the same, which can be a style of book or the joy and challenge of the new.

    In addition, because people are risk-averse I would guess they often start from a place of comfort in their quest. The same style of book, but with a new concept. A radically different style, but telling a familiar story. A 'simple' merge of different styles of book.

    edit:
    And on the question on where the new and exiting stuff is: everywhere and nowhere. There is new and exiting material free online, in short stories, in books by major publishers, and in self-published work.

    The problem is 'what is new', the idea of self-learning AI probably goes back to Asimov at the latest, but it has been used again and in new ways. Data in star trek was a self-learning AI to some extent, as are the robots in the Freefall web-comic, as are the complex systems of economy 2.0 in Stross' Accelerando, as was the braincheese in Watts' Rifters trilogy. But they are all examining that idea in different ways and new for that reason.

    Or (stealing from Rosies blog) the examination of photosynthesising humans, which Adam Roberts explores, Walter Jon Williams used as a backdrop (green leopard plague), and most likely is older than either. Is the new idea the photosynthesising human, or the exploration of class and wealth and power structures, or is it the combination of the parts into a new, different and exiting way?
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012
  3. Aer-ki Jyr

    Aer-ki Jyr New Member

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    Ok, I know this will start the fruit flying, but a major crutch in most science fiction right now is the reliance on Einstein's theories...which are bogus. So that's how we end up with warp drive and hyperspace to avoid the 'light speed limitation.'
    This, I believe, is going to make obsolete a lot of current scifi when Einstein's theories are eventually debunked. I liken it to George Lucas's decision to use classical music scores instead of the ultra popular Disco at the time. Had he gone with that trend, I don't think SW would be quite so popular now.
    Exploration of other means of interstellar tranportation is something that is currently lacking, imo.
     
  4. Steven L Jordan

    Steven L Jordan I like SF. SF is cool.

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    Color me intrigued. On what basis do you make that claim?
     
  5. Aer-ki Jyr

    Aer-ki Jyr New Member

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    I could go into a long spiel on that, but I'll try to simplify. Einstein's lightspeed limitation is elementarily flawed because it necessitates speed being an absolute measurement. Speed is a relative measurement, therefore debunking any limit. Einstein may have been a mathematical genius, but as far as basic logic is concerned he was a moron.

    And before you start quoting frames of reference and exponential energy curves let me say that instantaneous acceleration does appear to be limited to lightspeed (assuming magnetism and other unknown forces can't push faster than that), but thrust-based acceleration occurs in a mathematically even fashion tied only to fuel capacity. People confuse the two often.

    There. Now if you're going to throw fruit, I prefer apples.
     
  6. Rosie Oliver

    Rosie Oliver Registered User

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    A very succinct explanation... yes light speed is the limiter in the maths equations for electromagnetism. It is through electromagnetism (mainly visual light) that we see things. If light is limited, we can only see things limited by how the light can behave. And when this limiter is applied to the objects from which the light is transmitted / reflected, then the equations given us the apparent effects we see / deduce. Hope this helps a little more...

    The question I have is why is the speed of light limited to a constant speed in vacuum?

    PS Light slows when it goes through materials.
     
  7. Chuffalump

    Chuffalump A chuffing heffalump

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    As far as I am aware the speed of light is a function of the structure of the universe itself. It's not a case of the speed of light being prevented from getting any higher. It is the speed it is, due to the fundamental structure of the medium it is passing through. It's inevitable in the same way that DNA inevitably forms a double helix due to it's molecular structure and the molecules form their shapes due to electromagnetic forces etc etc etc.

    I'm sure there are a few members who can correct me if I'm too far out of the ball park.
     
  8. Steven L Jordan

    Steven L Jordan I like SF. SF is cool.

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    So... you're saying that if we just push hard enough, we can exceed light speed?

    Mm-hm.
     
  9. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    This is the "ether" business and goes back to the Michaelson-Morley experiment. I was taught that the MM experiment disproved the ether theory but I heard years ago that the idea was becoming popular among physicists again.

    I decided there were aspects of physics that were unknown but of little practical value to me regardless of what the truth was. I would pay attention if I happened to be in the mood but it was a quasi-philosophical discussion really.

    psik
     
  10. Danogzilla

    Danogzilla Couch Commander

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    Light speed is achieved when 100% of your motion is through space and 0% of it is through time. That's a pretty hard wall. Can't do much better than 100%. Timespace is pretty well tapped out at that point. Until we can rip through the fabric of timespace (and deal with whatever consequences come from that action) and enter hyperspace (if such a thing exists) we are at the speed limit.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2012
  11. Rosie Oliver

    Rosie Oliver Registered User

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    If you go away at lightspeed, then the person left behind would see all the future states you are at in the instance of now... but how can you see everything at once? Which is another intriguing question... maybe there is something in the way we view the world and understand it through our brains that stops us from being able to cope with the 'all at once' scenario...

    Or have I got things completely wrong?
     
  12. Chuffalump

    Chuffalump A chuffing heffalump

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    But if they travelled at light speed (without becoming photons :D) then no light emitted from close enough to you to be reflected back to you could catch them. Any light emitted from them would presumably be so far red shifted that it would blend in with the background radiation of the universe.

    Slightly tongue in cheek there because I only have the tiniest idea of what I'm waffling on about. :D:D
     
  13. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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  14. gainespost

    gainespost Registered User

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    Unless I misread it, the main focus of the first blog article you linked, Psik, seems to have been "Science Fiction’s contribution to the global economy," and as for the second one you linked, imho compared to 1975, nowadays there are many more *equally valid* opinions on how best to define the genre, since a lot has happened in it; it has "evolved."

    Some people define it as apples, some as oranges; both are right. (Please don't take what I just said with a pedantic frame of mind, folks -- I do agree, for example, that the statement, "My opinion is that Faulkner's novel As I Lay Dying is sci-fi, and my opinion is equally valid," would be silly. In short, I'm not trying to start a nit-picky semantics war here; I'm simply pointing out that there are many differing opinions *within the genre* as to just how sci-fi should be defined. Some people think space opera should not be classed as science fiction, while others think it should be. And this is just one example of a difference of equally valid opinions. On a side note, I think academic efforts to "define" guidelines for a genre of fiction are kind of pointless; the focus should be on the stories themselves. But that's just my opinion.)

    Sci-fi's contribution to the global economy interesting? Sure, interesting. Are you saying that what's missing from sci-fi is for authors to use their imaginations more to come up with new ideas so that sci-fi readers who are working in leadership positions at places such as Google can pass decisions to sell more gadgets that will boost the economy and further technology? I guess I'm not sure what you were saying by linking that blog article. But if that's what you meant, then that's quite an interesting idea :)

    And kind of cool, too, because my first thought was "hmm, but that means you absolutely must be a scientist in order to write such science fiction," but then my second thought was, "umm, no, not true; many technological advances have been spurred by ideas coming from people who are decidedly not scientists...."

    Sorry for the ramble. I'm only on my first cup of coffee here in Australia this morning. As the fog lifts from my mind, so will my confidence in the logic of what I've just written.
     
  15. Steven L Jordan

    Steven L Jordan I like SF. SF is cool.

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    I'd say the commercial arena of SF has been diverted by Star Wars, which became a textbook example of how to make money with SF, the only thing commercial entities have always been interested in. Other forms of SF were around, and are still being created, but they were and are barely noticed by the hordes of people following the Star Wars bandwagon.

    The literature industry is also driven by King Profit, but not to the extent of movies and TV; so they can afford to be less concerned about products that feed the largest common denominator. You can find the more intelligent, more humanistic and more balanced SF there, if you know where to look.

    But we will always suffer the circuses generated by the big money productions, and struggle to hear the concert over the yells of the barkers and the crowd.
     
  16. gainespost

    gainespost Registered User

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    True, but Hollywood etc have turned other forms of sci-fi -- not just Star Wars-like space operas -- into Big Profit machines as well. Look at the success of some of the movies based on Phillip K. Dick stories, or at The Matrix. Very different types of sci-fi, but also very, very big blockbusters that have raked in HUGE profits. The movie / commercial bigwigs are definitely looking at other areas of sci-fi, not just Star Wars type stuff. They're looking for good stories with good characters and cool sci-fi ideas. I'm sure there are other factors, too; "wow we need another movie with aliens in it; aliens seem to be selling really well right now!", etc.

    And in turn, the commercial success of certain movies has indeed affected some authors and what they write. But that's always been the case; I'm sure a lot of cowboy/Indians novels were written as a direct result of success of certain Westerns that hit it big on the silver screen, decades ago.

    But as always, there are plenty of sci-fi authors not driven by the thought of commercial success, but rather by their need to tell a good story.
     
  17. Steven L Jordan

    Steven L Jordan I like SF. SF is cool.

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    Actually, I'd consider the Matrix movies as comparable to the Star Wars movies in terms of being light sci-fi, created specifically for the cinema, more style than substance, and generating sequels and other properties (such as books) based on the popularity of the first movie.

    I'll grant the different type of story that the P.K. Dick movies represent, though I'll note that the most popular of them had a lot of action and visual candy and down-peddled the more psychological aspects of the original story. The more-cerebral-than-action Through a Scanner Darkly bombed in the theatres, as did Solaris, suggesting that "harder" SF isn't popular with many moviegoers.

    Avatar, on the other hand, dominated the box office, along with various superhero movies, over the past few years. Whatever movies we say we prefer, in the general public the trend is clear.

    That's why I suggest walking away from the influence of the movies and looking towards literary SF to see what's in SF at the moment.
     
  18. gainespost

    gainespost Registered User

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    Okay, I appreciate your suggestion, but you're the one who brought movies into it; I was simply responding. If you read the last part of my post, you'll see that I was trying to bring the conversation back into focus on sci-fi literature. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.
     
  19. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    On that I disagree.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b48pMFfBZVI

    http://www.facingthechallenge.org/matrix.php

    It does make you wonder how much they put into that movie but there is too much interrelated material to be accidental. The Oracle and The Architect being Yang and Yin. Was Neo the 6th One because God rested on the 7th day? Spoon Boy having 5 bent spoons and Neo bending and straightening the 6th One.

    But it is not until the second film that we find out he is the 6th.

    psik
     
  20. Steven L Jordan

    Steven L Jordan I like SF. SF is cool.

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    Well, to be clear, psik brought movies into the thread in the second post. And I didn't see any reason not to include movies in the thread, as they influence other media.

    At any rate, I don't mind moving on from movies at this point!