The Science of Science Fiction

Slice of SciFi looks at The Science of Science Fiction:

Science Fiction involves buying into the premise of a scientific “reality” that often pushes, even shatters, the boundaries of what we know. As fans we accept this. As fans, we realize the vehicle need not be 100% feasible to transport us to good entertainment, with believable characters, and viable plots. I can buy into some things I know are not yet possible within our current understanding of science, and go with it for the sake of a well-told story.

What I find increasingly objectionable is the outright violation of science, as we know it. Humanity stands on the shoulders of countless individuals who painstakingly built the foundation for understanding the world around us. We owe them respect, not dismissal. Whatever premise we are asked to accept should build on this foundation, extrapolate it, even stretch it, but not tear it down for the sake of a “cool” visual.

I see it as a duty of the science fiction fan to hold sci-fi vehicles to a higher standard. Science is an important part of our lives, and reasonably good science should be the first requisite of “Science” Fiction. Instead, I see science casually tossed aside for the sake of a plot point, or worse, for the sake of presenting a special effect in lieu of a plot. The unintended consequence is that it makes “real” science seem mundane, boring, and lame.

2 thoughts on “The Science of Science Fiction”

  1. Wrong.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Maybe some stories carry the violation of hard science rules a bit too far. Maybe some of them cross a line… but then, if there are a million science fiction fans, there will be, approximately, a million opinions of exactly where that line is.

    The purpose of science fiction is to entertain. That’s it. That’s ALL. Reality can, does, and SHOULD take a back seat to the demands of a good story, because “a good story” is the entire effing point. What science fiction “owes” me is a good story, and not a damn bit more.

    Real science need not be “mundane, boring, and lame,”… but you know what? If real science can’t give me a lightsaber then to hell with the real science. I’d rather have the lightsaber. I know good and damn well that when something explodes in space, I won’t be able to hear it. But you know what? I want to hear the effing explosions in my movies. You know who’s job it is to make real science not “mundane, boring, and lame”? High school science teachers. Not scifi authors and scriptwriters.

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