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  1. #16
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by owlcroft View Post
    I suppose that "hard sf" also includes such monotonies as "mundane science fiction".
    I don't get too excited about how people use words. I have never heard of "Mundane_science_fiction" but I think it makes perfect sense according to the description. I stopped watching Stargate SG-1 in the second season. To me it was just throwing together Sci-fi TROPES to make stories that they thought most viewers would find exciting. Shallow sci-fi for the viewers and the money. That is why I was so surprised to find this:

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/73467/star...a-hundred-days

    when I was sort of watching what I missed on Hulu. I left it playing in the background while working on a computer project. SG-1 is definitely not worth full attention.

    I think that is THE BEST SG-1 episode. I have found a few fans that agree but most do not. They mostly go for stories with lots of daring do and shooting up EVIL aliens. Very 1930s with 1990s special effects.

    So this mundane stuff could be what I would regard as "realistic" hard science fiction, like the Mars Trilogy by KSRobinson. Though I never heard it called that when I was first reading it. This mundane sci-fi sounds like a reaction to the stupid fantasy sci-fi that has become prevalent.

    But TV shows cost a lot of money so they need to attract a LARGE audience. So though I don't expect "real" sci-fi to die I expect it to continue to be marginalized. I will research this mundane sci-fi further. Thanks for the info.

    psik

  2. #17
    Webmaster, Great SF&F owlcroft's Avatar
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    Pfui.

    This mundane sci-fi sounds like a reaction to the stupid fantasy sci-fi that has become prevalent.

    I don't think it's that simple. Putting aside the implication that science fiction that posits laws we do not at present know or believe is "stupid", I think the Mundanes' point of view is less related to artistic integrity (or whatever) than to social concerns: they appear to be saying that certain positings--notably FTL--represent an ignis fatuus distracting people from the many socio-economic problems they should be concerned about right here, right now.

    The implied but erroneous premises in that conclusion are first, that sf readers base their choice of political activism or lethargy on attitudes derived from "fantastic fiction", and second that such readers constitute some socially large and important bloc of citizens.

    To suppose that some meaningful number of humans will be moved to disdain over issues ranging from poverty to global warming because they read books in which some fairly far future humankind can leave Earth for the stars is so hopelessly asinine as to beggar the tongue.

  3. #18
    trolling > dissertation nquixote's Avatar
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    This is OT for a literature forum, but the Japanese cartoon Planetes has absolutely THE best portrayal of space exploration that I have ever encountered in any visual or literary medium. It's as accurate as Red Mars, Rendezvous with Rama, etc., and deals with far more aspects of life in space. It's a physics nerd's wet dream...and it also happens to be an extremely heartwarming and entertaining show. Also, the art is great; the intro consists of a bunch of artistic renderings of famous NASA photos.

    Psikeyhackr, I'd especially recommend this one for you.

  4. #19
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nquixote View Post
    This is OT for a literature forum, but the Japanese cartoon Planetes has absolutely THE best portrayal of space exploration that I have ever encountered in any visual or literary medium.
    Thanks for the info.

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

    psik

  5. #20

    Distances within our Galaxy not expanding

    Re: Wouldn't it be annoying to find out that the best humans could do in terms of interstellar propulsion technology was to simply match the expansion rate of the Universe. By the time they figured this out they might not even be able to turn around and make it home. Bummer.

    You might be interested that, although the galactic clusters are becoming more distant from one another, the galaxies within a cluster (e.g., our own Local Group of galaxies which includes Andromeda, the Milky Way, and a dozen or so other smaller galaxies) are within each other's gravitational fields, not expanding, and with Andromeda actually approaching us (blue-shifted). Within our own galaxy (where any space travel will actually happen), space is not expanding.
    Last edited by mselby; January 16th, 2011 at 04:49 PM.

  6. #21
    Speaker
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    I just read Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card. Speaker for the Dead might be something the OP would enjoy. It deals with the political, scientific, and moral issues regarding the human colonization of space and interaction with other intelligent life. I have no idea how far-fetched the fictional technology is, but I had no problem accepting it. I recommend reading Ender's Game first though.

  7. #22
    Bewildered Visitor Wojciehowicz's Avatar
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    I've been toying with writing one myself, based on what I see as obviously needed steps to make colonization of this system a going proposition, but it is the humanity actually doing it that way that strains credulity. Throwing a team of meatsacks in a tin can to Mars as if it weren't different than the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria is lunacy, but everyone regards it with romantic attachment. Hello, mankind... You could send all the prefab stuff, food, and everything else to Mars in advance so it was waiting for them when they got there, at the very least. head>desk

    If I see reasonable and rational space colonization ideas, I can almost certainly discount that they'd be done by a society like we have here in 2011. People just aren't that clear thinking right now. Since I think on human psychology and sociology, it makes serious sci-fi about colonization very hard to swallow.

  8. #23
    Let me be your gateway Chekhov's Avatar
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    The societal factors are important, but first we need to overcome some pretty substantial technological hurdles. Let's get working on that permanent moonbase first.

  9. #24
    Bewildered Visitor Wojciehowicz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chekhov View Post
    The societal factors are important, but first we need to overcome some pretty substantial technological hurdles. Let's get working on that permanent moonbase first.
    The technological hurdles are nothing by comparison to changing attitudes of individuals in a meaningful way on such a massive scale. If aliens came here tomorrow and built an entire city on the moon for us as a gift, the general public would lose interest pretty quick because in today's global sociocultural climate, it would not be the ordinary person going to space. Hence, who cares, because it isn't me. Our public space program is a combination of military and science-engineering types, and our private space program is headed for billionaires' vacations. Me and you need not apply. Hard to get interested in that.

    One method that comes to mind of end-running this subtly is someone inventing gravity/inertia control, buying a shipping company, and trading cheap transit for supertanker sized ships of cargo to the planets in return for exclusivity, on the pretext that the technology is dangerous and belongs in the hands of one entity that is contractually bound to the world governments on their prices. But, this is like positing a cross between Edison, Gates, and Hughes. It would be its own deux ex machina. Hence, it remains fiction. If the hard science is strung on a social framework too ridiculous for me to swallow, I lose interest pretty quick.

  10. #25
    Let me be your gateway Chekhov's Avatar
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    I think people would gain more interest in space exploration if it were possible. Science fiction exploded in popularity after the moon landing, for example. It didn't matter that only three people actually walked on the moon; people were thrilled by the idea that somebody did and maybe someday everyone else would be able to.
    Last edited by Chekhov; May 20th, 2011 at 02:49 PM.

  11. #26
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wojciehowicz View Post
    If I see reasonable and rational space colonization ideas, I can almost certainly discount that they'd be done by a society like we have here in 2011. People just aren't that clear thinking right now. Since I think on human psychology and sociology, it makes serious sci-fi about colonization very hard to swallow.
    What I don't get is why we don't even hear talk of ROBOTS exploring and prospecting the Moon.

    It's close enough so we could use radio control. It would be easier than the Mars Rover. Where is the iron? Where is the aluminum? What is the best location for a factory? So what if we mine with robots for 10 or 20 years? Robots don't need air and food and water.

    People don't understand enough science down here. The fact that we keep redesigning cars and then complaining about pollution is proof. I haven't been to an auto show to look at that junk in more than 30 years. If cars cost half as much and lasted twice as long what would the savings have amounted to over the last 20 years?

    We aren't going to figure out how to make a rational computerized society. So forget a rational space program.

    psik

  12. #27
    Way Too Human
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chekhov View Post
    I think people would gain more interest in space exploration if it were possible. Science fiction exploded in popularity after the moon landing, for example. It didn't matter that only three people actually walked on the moon; people were thrilled by the idea that somebody did and maybe someday everyone else would be able to.
    I believe that space exploration is possible and in progress. We are doing it using unmanned spacecraft and by using ground and orbit based monitoring equipment.

    I whole heartedly believe that manned exploration is possible also. However there is no focus on that by society. In fact, it's popular to claim that all the money we currently use for splace exploration by NASA is wasted money. It's as if they are saying the shuttle carries billions in cash into orbit and releases it to burn up in the atmosphere. I have friends and family that think that money could go to people that need food, or have no job or home. I find fault with that logic, but still, I'm the minority.

  13. #28
    Let me be your gateway Chekhov's Avatar
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    That is a good question. Why aren't there moon rovers? Do we think we know everything useful about the moon?

    I'd like to see more research done into the feasibility of manned spaceflight/colonies, but with the cancellation of the space shuttle program it seems the political will (and therefore the financing) isn't there. I doubt private space agencies would be a solution. We might have to wait an awfully long time before humans travel offplanet again.

  14. #29
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chekhov View Post
    That is a good question. Why aren't there moon rovers? Do we think we know everything useful about the moon?
    Searching for iron and aluminum on the Moon would be prospecting not science.

    I suppose this gets into politics between NASA and the universities. Plus there is the capitalist aspect. Suppose a diamond mine was found on the Moon. Who would own it?

    That is one of the cool things about The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. It brings up the economic issues of Moon mining. It is something to think about in relation to the REAL WORLD. The same goes for The Two Faces of Tomorrow by James P. Hogan.

    psik

  15. #30
    martinelillycrop martielillycrop's Avatar
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    I thought Pushing Ice by Alistair Reynolds took a good look at the problems with coping with long term space travel and coping with a totally alien environment. In some ways I found it an uncomfortable read, but I felt it was an earnest attempt to take humanity beyond earth without compromising science as we understand it today.

    Lame ending though.

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