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  1. #61
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fritzthefox View Post
    You know what's missing from today's science fiction? Optimism.
    Inasmuch as the most popular SF today, which seems to be about dystopias or space wars (or both), are rarely optimistic, I'd say yes.

    But there are optimistic SF stories and series out there; they just aren't selling well, mainly because they're not being promoted loud enough to be noticed over the dystopias and space wars. My books are a prime example, all optimistic, and otherwise unnoticed.

  2. #62
    Optimism in SF is certainly a rarity compared to space opera and dystopia... however I can only quote what my creative writing tutor said...

    The market is ready for a change to something new.

    What he meant by new was not going back to old themes, but something trail blazing new... wish I knew what it's going to be, because I'd be busy writing it!

  3. #63
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosie Oliver View Post
    Optimism in SF is certainly a rarity compared to space opera and dystopia... however I can only quote what my creative writing tutor said...

    The market is ready for a change to something new.

    What he meant by new was not going back to old themes, but something trail blazing new... wish I knew what it's going to be, because I'd be busy writing it!
    Though it's an interesting thing to say, I'm not sure the market bears that out; the market may actually say it wants something new, but it hasn't shown much propensity to go after anything but the same-old-same-old, traditional themes, remakes and sequels.

  4. #64
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Physics does not care about optimism.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinio...04a_story.html

    That was the point of The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin.

    This guy does not seem to get it though.

    http://home.tiac.net/~cri_d/cri/1999/coldeq.html

    psik

  5. #65
    Ataraxic Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven L Jordan View Post
    Inasmuch as the most popular SF today, which seems to be about dystopias or space wars (or both), are rarely optimistic, I'd say yes.

    But there are optimistic SF stories and series out there; they just aren't selling well, mainly because they're not being promoted loud enough to be noticed over the dystopias and space wars. My books are a prime example, all optimistic, and otherwise unnoticed.
    But they're not rarely optimistic. Nearly are military SF novels, which are also popular. I don't know why people keep trying to advance that idea, but statistically, it's incorrect. Most space operas are optimistic in nature. They are optimistic first off in the idea that humans and/or other species have survived, have gone to the stars, settled planets, trade in spaceships, etc. In space opera, the golden age of 1950's SF has been realized. They are optimistically secondly in that they usually have positive or partially positive endings. Some of them are thrillers, which can get noir, and some of them have unhappy endings from noir, but usually they don't, or they'll split it half and half among the main characters. Usually, space opera have some major change shift occurring.

    Dystopias are, obviously, starting off very depressed in order to be dystopias, with repressive, dysfunctional, possibly post-apocalyptic tyrannical and/or collapsed societies. But the majority of dystopias end with improvement of the dystopia into a better world, or at least a strong hope for it with people making efforts that have a decent chance of changing at least some aspects of the dystopia. The novels criticize current societies and problems of humanity, but they are usually positing positive solutions and influences. Take Neal Stephenson, for example. Without going into detail (mild spoilers,) many of his novels like Snow Crash, Anathem, etc. have happy endings. Cyberpunk, which technically Snow Crash is, with its emphasis on noir suspense, does often get pessimistic and sometimes stories end direly. But often, it also is headed for a hopeful future and ending. The Matrix films, for instance, (mild spoilers,) are relentless optimistic and end with a happy (if logically implausible) truce between all parties to build a better world.

    Environmental thrillers are, understandably, more dire. When you live in a world in which the coral reefs are apparently already dead, things look pretty grim on that front these days. And these books are looking at failures of political philosophies. But being thrillers, they also do frequently end with the main characters having at least a measure of success at attempting to improve things. Military SF stories sometimes end with everyone getting slaughtered. But they also frequently end with the main characters surviving, being victorious and saving whatever it is they're trying to save. Hard SF stories vary. They can lead to dire outcomes or a new, improved future because of X science development. Sociological SF also varies, but does not have a tendency towards the pessimistic. Horror SF obviously is going to be more in the slaughtered vicinity, but again, like military SF, the main characters often succeed in defeating the threat in horror stories. Near future SF, which tends to thrillers, can go either way but is not optimistic light.

    It's an odd quirk that elsewhere there is an insistence that readers want only happy endings, heroes, what not, which isn't particularly true either, but in SF, everything is always dismal, dark, SF is dying and no one seems to want to go on.

  6. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Sanders View Post
    Lots of great discussion on here about what is being written in the Science Fiction genre. As a writer I'm also interested in what isn't being addressed. In general terms, rather than specifics, what isn't being explored in the Science Fiction genre that you feel should be? : )
    nano-technology
    I've heard that nano-technology is a pandora's box that could revolutionize our world or destroy it.

  7. #67
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kshRox View Post
    nano-technology
    I've heard that nano-technology is a pandora's box that could revolutionize our world or destroy it.
    Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age gave us the Toner Wars (nanites attacking each other in clouds, trying to disassemble each other for parts). Michael Crichton's Prey gave us self-replicating and deadly nano-swarms. Both fairly typical of the "we don't yet know the repercussions" school of thought. Unfortunately I'm not familiar with any other nano-tech novels.

  8. #68
    Rogue Warrior
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    I'm reading Van Name's One Jump Ahead right now, has nano-tech in it. Cool book so far.

  9. #69
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven L Jordan View Post
    Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age gave us the Toner Wars (nanites attacking each other in clouds, trying to disassemble each other for parts). Michael Crichton's Prey gave us self-replicating and deadly nano-swarms. Both fairly typical of the "we don't yet know the repercussions" school of thought. Unfortunately I'm not familiar with any other nano-tech novels.
    The breakdown in realism of most of these nano-tech stories is that lack of a power source for the nanites. Yeah Crichton used solar power but get real. The smaller the nanotechnology is the less surface area it has for collecting solar power. So how does it get enough power for all of these capabilities.

    It is less realistic than Jurassic Park.

    psik

  10. #70
    Ataraxic Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    What is the power source for the nanites that they use now?

  11. #71
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KatG View Post
    What is the power source for the nanites that they use now?
    I haven't seen a self contained one.

    http://singularityhub.com/2009/01/20...dont-think-so/

    I vaguely remember seeing a very tiny machine that was powered by an external magnetic field that was being fluctuated over it.

    psik

  12. #72
    Quote Originally Posted by psikeyhackr View Post
    The breakdown in realism of most of these nano-tech stories is that lack of a power source for the nanites. Yeah Crichton used solar power but get real. The smaller the nanotechnology is the less surface area it has for collecting solar power. So how does it get enough power for all of these capabilities.

    It is less realistic than Jurassic Park.

    psik
    We were discussing negative mass or zero point energy measured by the casimir effect on another thread. There are papers and articles proposing this is a feasible power source for nano-technology.

  13. #73
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    I keep hearing people talk about how SF has stopped developing, or how life has caught up with SF, or how average people can't keep up with modern science, etc. It's all supposedly signs of "future shock," but as the history of that phrase should suggest, the impression that the public is out-of-step with the latest scientific developments isn't new. In fact, the phrase itself is only about 40 years old, but people have had to struggle to keep up with science since about 30 minutes after the start of the Industrial Revolution.

    I think SF needs more material examining individuals' and Man's deepest reactions to scientific development and concepts, and the impacts science is having (and may have) on society. More psychological and sociological exploration, as opposed to SF used for external problem-solving and conflict. We've had periods of writing in those areas, and individual authors, (Wells, Dick, Lem, etc) have excelled in that area. It seems we're in a dearth right now, just at the time when individuals and society need material to help them reflect on where we're going and how to best get there.

  14. #74
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven L Jordan View Post
    It's all supposedly signs of "future shock," but as the history of that phrase should suggest, the impression that the public is out-of-step with the latest scientific developments isn't new. In fact, the phrase itself is only about 40 years old, but people have had to struggle to keep up with science since about 30 minutes after the start of the Industrial Revolution.

    I think SF needs more material examining individuals' and Man's deepest reactions to scientific development and concepts, and the impacts science is having (and may have) on society. More psychological and sociological exploration, as opposed to SF used for external problem-solving and conflict.
    We have too much pseudo-intellectual bullsh# pretending things are more difficult to understand than they actually are.

    Junk being called science fiction that ain't and called good because of the "writing". Newtonian Physics is more than 300 years old and that is not explained well.

    This sci-fi story explained a large part of the problem.

    The Ethical Engineer, by Harry Harrison
    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/30964...-h/30964-h.htm

    psik

  15. #75
    Quote Originally Posted by psikeyhackr View Post
    We have too much pseudo-intellectual bullsh# pretending things are more difficult to understand than they actually are.

    Junk being called science fiction that ain't and called good because of the "writing". Newtonian Physics is more than 300 years old and that is not explained well. ...

    psik
    There is an interesting issue here... the older generation of science fiction writers had an easier job than us younger generation in that they could more easily extrapolate science and engineering from things they saw around them. They needed less imagination. A good example of extrapolation (but bad science) was the green canals of Mars - an optical illusion that led the astronomer concerned to speculate that Mars had vegetation and hence life. From there Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote the stories about John Carter, which of course led onto the further similar stories about Mars.

    I know from experience that if you can stretch that imagination for science fiction further, you get spectacular results. But can I get anyone interested in publishing said stories? Nah!

    Why not? Publishers etc are not willing to invest in something that is seen as risky.

    So in one sense, if the science fiction readers want more mind-dazzling stories, they should make their wishes known to the publishing industry... it's the only way to get them to change their stance... sorry, but that's life!

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