Sci-Fi question

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Marshall Alsup, Sep 25, 2002.

  1. Marshall Alsup

    Marshall Alsup Second Unit

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    Hey everyone,
    Theres a question over in polls about taking a narrow or broad view of genres and it reminded me of something. A while back we had this thread and I enjoyed reading through it. I would like to know what "hard" sci-fi is. The way I understand it is that science fiction is basically fiction that takes place in a possible future that is based on scientific advances that could be possible given the science of today. Man, that was a mouthful!
    Anyway, the reason purists don't consider Star Wars sci-fi is because it is not a possible future for our current technological society. Is that right?
    I learned reading the thread above that Star Trek is considered "light" sci-fi and I was curious why this is. It seems that it fits the description of sci-fi perfectly.
    I'm curious because I'm about to read some of the suggestions that were in the thread and I'd like a better understanding of the genre before I start. By the way, I'm starting with A Canticle for Lebowitz (sp?) and then Ringworld. I hope they are good!
    Thanks,
    Marshall
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Starting with Walter Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz is excellent, given that most critics consider it to be the finest science-fiction novel ever written. I would agree.

    Your definition of SF with its emphasis on scientific plausibility and such would serve as a broad definition of science fiction in general (true fans, by the way, prefer to use "SF" when abbreviating the genre's name).

    However, so-called "hard science fiction" places a premium on the science and technology. They play the starring roles in hard SF stories and novels. For example, the work of Hal Clement, Larry Niven, some Poul Anderson, and some of Arthur C. Clarke's work. Sometimes, the science in hard SF subsumes other critical literary concerns such as characterization (a general weak point in most SF, hard or otherwise), symbolism, plot, and story. Despite that, some hard SF is among the genre's finest work. (You should read Poul Anderson's excellent Tau Zero.)

    Robert L. Forward, who died just three days ago, was a hard SF writer.

    More literarily concerned SF authors include Theodore Sturgeon, Ursula K. LeGuinn, and Frank Herbert. The most influential SF writer of them all, Robert A. Heinlein, straddles a middle-ground; he is no slouch when it comes to science, but his characters, poorly developed though they often are, take center stage in the fiction.

    You are correct in that SF fans do not consider Star Wars to be "science fiction," nor is Star Trek truly representative of the genre. There's a film by Stanley Kubrick, however, that best represents the very best of SF from all angles: hard science as well as matters of the spirit. You should see it sometime.
     
  3. Marshall Alsup

    Marshall Alsup Second Unit

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    If you're refering to a certain movie with lotsa classical music, I may have seen that a time or three [​IMG]
     
  4. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Science Fiction tends to be very light on the science and heavy on the fiction.
    It's one thing when you come up with a possible scenerio for the future; but dont change basic physics. I was watching Event Horizon with my wife last night.
    I started laughing at it. Wife wasnt happy but I explained what was wrong with it.
    She agreed (WOW!)
    As Jack said, 2001 is one that holds up well.

    Philip Dick, is a good one to read.
    I read the Foundation series back in HS and I liked it alot which is pretty rare for me.
    No idea what hard or soft scifi is
     

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