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  1. #31
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psikeyhackr View Post
    When do you think someone reached the north pole and knew there was a south pole?
    My point was that, at one time, you couldn't see and speak in realtime to someone on the opposite end of the world, whether it be north and south poles, America and Australia or Nile and Amazon. If you asked someone in 1000 AD whether it could be done, they would've insisted it was impossible.

    In 2000, it was easy.

    So, when you say today it's impossible to travel to the stars because of the physical limits of accelerating mass fast enough to get there, I say: Wait. (And feel free to reread Clarke's Law while you wait.)

  2. #32
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KatG View Post
    It's interesting that FTL always gets excluded in these things.
    That was always a pet peeve of mine: The methods used to travel FTL in any hard- to soft-SF story always struck me as singularly bogus and patently impossible based on our understanding of physics (ie, requiring "handwavium" or near infinite amounts of energy, etc).

    That was why, before I wrote a story including interstellar travel, I researched into a way to achieve IT that "made sense" (note the quotations) within the parameters of hard SF, without requiring "handwavium" or whatever. IOW, not Hawking-proof, but believable for SF.

    My readers were entirely satisfied with my solution (at least, none of them ever questioned or argued with my solution), and it worked within the SF parameters of the story. So far no one has questioned my label of SF (as opposed to sci-fi) applied to the story.

  3. #33
    Palinodic Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psikey
    But a decent science fiction book should not get the KNOWN Science wrong or convey the attitude that science is unimportant.
    My remark was that books that have perfectly good enough known science but use loose theoretical science for imaging other, less likely things, such as a story about making electrical copies of your brain, for instance, are often rousted as unacceptable to be called SF, whereas FTL in its different forms continually gets a pass because it's a convenient device. It's a double standard used regarding hard SF -- FTL is okay, even though Isaac Asimov claimed that it will never, ever be possible, but everything else highly speculative and unlikely is not and disqualifies you as science fiction, by criteria for hard SF.

    Also, the sudden invasion of English majors, while entertaining as a story, is not really accurate, especially as to the state of authors of pre-1960's and 1970's science fiction and the completely bogus science they routinely used, without apology or known science for balance, from their non-scientific backgrounds. We have been lucky enough to have some scientists who could also write -- Arthur Clarke, Robert L. Foreward, Peter Watts, Julie Czernada, etc., but they are more the exception than the rule of science fiction throughout its history. We have a sub-category of science fiction that is hard science fiction, which are stories focused tightly on hard sciences, particularly physics, but also chemistry, biology and neurology. Some of these have been written by English majors.

    We then have a wider field of science fiction stories that tackle things like sociological issues, the interaction of humans and technology, the potential of alien life forms, military battles in space, and other stories. These stories are not fantasy stories -- they contain none of the elements that fantasy stories must contain to qualify. Bad or vague or incomplete or highly speculative science based off of known science is not fantasy and no amount of hand waving is going to make it so.

    I don't mind the hard science fiction versus other science fiction distinction at all. It's logical, it's a very clear set of specifications. And I understand people who don't like non-hard SF unless it contains certain types of science at least in the background. But the reality is that almost all SF fans tend to give FTL the wave by. So it's not something that hard SF readers will object to because they exclude it from the criteria they often use on other speculative theory. FTL is just too convenient to bounce.

    The one group that objects to it are the mundane SF readers, who include FTL in their not real SF criteria and feel that SF is only really SF if it sticks to Earth and the solar system.

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