science fiction novels

I have read a number of the previous posts. Many authors are having individuals read their manuscripts and then these individuals offer their feedback to the author. I have a counter intuitive notion that I believe applies to science fiction novels and perhaps other genres, as well. I believe the reading audience (through the influence of the publishing houses) has become accustomed to grammatically flawless novels, but also in the field of science fiction especially, the audience has become accustomed to novels that are full of scientific and mathematical errors. I have never heard or read about any author or other experienced professional giving this advice to writers, but I believe to fulfill the expectations of the reading audience a science fiction novel must have very many scientific and mathematical errors in it. These errors can be both small and large. I would suspect that helpful readers would suggest to the author that he remove scientific errors from a work in progress but that may not be the best course of action.

Comments


  • spinman wrote:

    I have read a number of the previous posts. Many authors are having individuals read their manuscripts and then these individuals offer their feedback to the author.

     

    That's unfortunately rare in self-publishing because it costs money, and some SPs do not think their output needs a second opinion.

     

     

    I have a counter intuitive notion that I believe applies to science fiction novels and perhaps other genres, as well. I believe the reading audience (through the influence of the publishing houses) has become accustomed to grammatically flawless novels,

     

    And there's nothing at all wrong with that (and then self-publishing is unleashed on the world   Smiley Surprised  )

     

    but also in the field of science fiction especially, the audience has become accustomed to novels that are full of scientific and mathematical errors.

     

    That can be very true, but perhaps S fiction is not meant to educate? The average readers don't notice such things anyway, because they do not know what is right or wrong, but it possibly does not change their lives. But often it's the film or TV versions that change some facts within the written word because it makes for better watching.

     

    I have never heard or read about any author or other experienced professional giving this advice to writers,

     

    Well, we have. But now there's the Shameless section where it's not possible to reply, there's little opportunity to do so. When one extracts some thing from Shameless to mention in the forums some people object, but strangely not the actual writers! Oh, and not all books have a Preview to view anyhow.

     

    but I believe to fulfill the expectations of the reading audience a science fiction novel must have very many scientific and mathematical errors in it.

     

    No I do not believe that at all. Facts are facts, and if people are using them in  stories they need to be accurate. But potential future science can be used, because no one will know if it becomes true until that time comes! Take Star Trek as an example. Called S Fiction, but possibly once S Fantasy, but scientists are now starting to say that some of the things will eventually be possible in the not too distant future, but perhaps not time travel! SF can influence scientists and vice versa.

     

    These errors can be both small and large. I would suspect that helpful readers would suggest to the author that he remove scientific errors from a work in progress but that may not be the best course of action.

     

    And those helpful readers are right, because if they noticed them ...  but I cannot recall reading much SF that is full of maths. Yawn.


     

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    I think that while there do seem to be mathematical and technical errors in many science fiction novels, I do not believe that this is deliberate. Let's remember Isaac Asimov, who did his best to write fiction about Science. His first commercially published short story involved a person in the unique position of observing the triple point of water.

     

    As a more modern example, the book "The Martian" by Andy Weir (initially self-published, btw) is very strong on its science, and presents very feasible and realistic solutions. For example, the RTG that Watney retrieves to heat his overland drives is a real technology that has really been used in spacecraft. In addition, the former USSR used to use them to power unstaffed lighthouses along the Barents sea.

     

    I think that errors of science in novels occur from one of two root causes: ignorance on the part of the writer (as with the writer who describes a bean-pole/skyhook method of ascending into space) or a deliberate obfuscation of facts that might be dangerous in the wrong hands, such as the manufacture of explosives or the creation of powerful electric arc devices.


  • spinman a écrit :

    the audience has become accustomed to novels that are full of scientific and mathematical errors

    ___________________

    I used to read a lot of science-fiction novels when I was a teenager, and, as I was in a scientific stream, I balked at the gross scientific errors. 

    Now, if I read one, I'd suspend disbelief for the sake of enjoyment if I liked the book.

    I think a good novel in this category should be based on acceptable premises. If don't know if Bernard WERBER's books are translated into English, but if they are, have a look at one of them, and you'll see what I mean.

     

    P.S. A sci-fi book can be pure fantasy while containing remarkable intuitions. For instance, in his book on the Empires of the Moon, Cyrano DE BERGERAC (1619-1655) mentions a device that records speech. Smiley Happy

     

  • Hugo Gernsback was absolutely convinced that the primary role of science fiction was education...with the result that his magazines published a lot of pretty dreadful stories filled with characters lecturing one another.

     

    By the same token, the science fiction writer has some obligation to either not make up their science out of whole cloth or not do at least some rudimentary research. Someone writing an historical novel, for instance, would take some care to get the details of the period right, just as it would behoove an author setting a story in some foreign country to describe it and its peoples accurately.

     

    Likewise, if you are setting a story on Mars or Europa, you have some obligation to find out what those places are like. If you are describing a space suit or genetic engineering or a quantum computer, find out how these things work. At least make sure your science is up-to-date or not based on erroneous ideas. You will only have readers laughing at you if you talk about oceans on Venus, canals on Mars or the dark side of the moon.

     

    It's also perfectly OK to speculate or extrapolate from some known science or technology---take some current idea or theory and ask "What if?" But even if you are talking about some far distant, future application that may be only remotely possible, you should at least make sure you are starting from a firm understanding of what you're starting from.

     

    With the wealth of information available today at an author's fingertips, there is simply no excuse to not do the research. And if you want to double-check what you've done, there are probably plenty of college students studying the very science and technology you describe in your book who would be glad to fact-check your details for you.

     

    All of this being said, there is such a thing as "science fantasy," which can have a much more cavalier approach to science. But even then, there has to be internal consistency...the author can invent the science but then they have to play by its rules. Your science may not be possible but it should at least sound plausible.

  • The mathematical equation for development of an SF novel for fact determination is pretty straight forward.

     

    Suspension of belief - Reader noticed factual errors + Quality of writing = Enjoyment Smiley Happy

     

    One of the things about any fiction story is the suspension of believe, and some things people simply want to believe. Very few people in the SF field are actually involved in the process of expanding the envelop of human scientific knowledge, the information obtained for novels is often derived from other SF novels and talking to the actual scientists. SF got its start in the golden age of science fiction over 50 years ago and many writers still follow the guidelines developed then.  I have seen several SF movies and books that refer to the laws of robotics developed  by Isaac Assimov.  The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury has terrible science but it is an amazing adventure I loved as a kid.  Science fiction explores possibility.

     

    As to mis-portraying facts.  Facts change and not necessarily because of the science.  We don't have flying cars not because we can't make them, but because the traffic and training to fly them is horrendous. (And they are kind of expensive)

     

    Some questions that have changed several times just in my lifetime:

     

    Are eggs good for you?

    How many planets are there?

    What is the smallest particle of matter?

    Where did that second sock go from the dryer?

     

    Who can say what the truth will finally settle at? In that niche of where does truth lie you will find the worlds of Science Fiction. 

  • WWDowd, isn't the expression "suspension of disbelief" or are you making a pun?

  • Okay, I thought it was rather punny... Smiley Happy

     

    I believe....

     

    Okay I really don't but it is fun to say

  • I think that errors of science in novels occur from one of two root causes: ignorance on the part of the writer (as with the writer who describes a bean-pole/skyhook method of ascending into space)

     

    Do you mean a space elevator? One is already under construction, they have started with the earth mounting point.

     

    http://www.space.com/14656-japanese-space-elevator-2050-proposal.html

     

    One problem with such ideas is they have to wait for the right tech and materials to be invented, and of course the money to do it. The massive expense of such enterprises is often what holds back research and development.

     

    or a deliberate obfuscation of facts that might be dangerous in the wrong hands, such as the manufacture of explosives or the creation of powerful electric arc devices.

     

    What do you refer to? 

  • Hugo Gernsback was absolutely convinced that the primary role of science fiction was education...with the result that his magazines published a lot of pretty dreadful stories filled with characters lecturing one another.

     

    It often is. I will give A. C. Clarke as an example of possibly 'educating' other scientists in to possibilities. I am sure you can think of many more. But I do see your point.

     

    By the same token, the science fiction writer has some obligation to either not make up their science out of whole cloth or not do at least some rudimentary research.

     

    Very true. Or some in-depth research to find out what is being researched right this minute. Some looks akin to magic, and making an educated guess as to where it may lead to can be a challenge. Or even not lead to!

     

    Here's a few things and they are not even new ideas. People often come up with ideas that are not possible at the time, but eventually will be. There's room in SF to do that.

     

    http://listverse.com/2013/08/29/10-incredible-cutting-edge-technologies-in-development/

     

     

    Someone writing an historical novel, for instance, would take some care to get the details of the period right,

     

    What if it's fantasy using history?  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_alternate_history_fiction

     

     

    just as it would behoove an author setting a story in some foreign country to describe it and its peoples accurately.

     

    Indeed that is true. By jove, init?

     

    Likewise, if you are setting a story on Mars or Europa, you have some obligation to find out what those places are like. If you are describing a space suit or genetic engineering or a quantum computer, find out how these things work. At least make sure your science is up-to-date or not based on erroneous ideas. You will only have readers laughing at you if you talk about oceans on Venus, canals on Mars or the dark side of the moon.

     

    Ah, but those old stories were quite fun, and one wonders in 50, a 100, a 150 years, and so on, if people will find stories about those things from 2016, just as amusing.

     

    It's also perfectly OK to speculate or extrapolate from some known science or technology---take some current idea or theory and ask "What if?"

     

    Indeed, but one does have to research in to cutting edge science, not from decades ago. Some cutting edge R & D science may be a dead end, and often some is, but SF could propose what could happen if it was not.

     

     

    But even if you are talking about some far distant, future application that may be only remotely possible, you should at least make sure you are starting from a firm understanding of what you're starting from.

     

    How is that possible? Are you saying that if there's space travel at the speed of thought, one has to say how? (I forget which classic SF story that was in.) Some SF is based 100,000s of years in the future. One can only speculate, and it can be fun to do so, or most SF would be impossible to write. It's also becoming obvious to scientists that they do not know as much about physics as they think.   This is a bit of a sarcastic look at that aspect >>>   http://www.cracked.com/article_19668_6-scientific-discoveries-that-laugh-in-face-physics.html

     

    With the wealth of information available today at an author's fingertips, there is simply no excuse to not do the research.

     

    Quite so.

     

    And if you want to double-check what you've done, there are probably plenty of college students studying the very science and technology you describe in your book who would be glad to fact-check your details for you.

     

    Would it not be best to ask their teachers? But often those teachers gained their knowledge years ago.

     

    All of this being said, there is such a thing as "science fantasy," which can have a much more cavalier approach to science. But even then, there has to be internal consistency...the author can invent the science but then they have to play by its rules. Your science may not be possible but it should at least sound plausible.

     

    You are correct, and it is much harder remembering and sticking to rules one has made up!

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    Are eggs good for you?

    How many planets are there?

    What is the smallest particle of matter?

    Where did that second sock go from the dryer?

     

    Yes, unless you have a genetic predisposition towards high levels of LDL.

     

    Nine if you count smaller bodies that would be considered moons, were they to orbit a planet. Eight, otherwise.

     

    The Quark, unless you want to count the massless neutrino.

     

    Since the Copenhagen Interpretation of roughly 1935, it has been well-understood that in any given load of laundry, one sock is less likely to exist than the others. It thus exists in the dual-state of being-and-nothingness until you open the dryer, at which point you become quantum entangled with the ontological state of the sock.

  • WWDowd

     

    I agree. Let's not forget that fiction is supposed to be entertainment.

  • I thought it was suspension of belief  Smiley Tongue

     

    It can often be very hard to even write fantasy, never mind science fiction, and perhaps even harder when the two mix. Take magic for example. How on earth can it work? While writing such stuff that's often in the back of one's mind.


  • kevinlomas wrote:

    Hugo Gernsback was absolutely convinced that the primary role of science fiction was education...with the result that his magazines published a lot of pretty dreadful stories filled with characters lecturing one another.

     

    It often is. I will give A. C. Clarke as an example of possibly 'educating' other scientists in to possibilities. I am sure you can think of many more. But I do see your point.

     

    Unlike many of the stories that Gernsback encouraged and published, educating readers was not the primary purpose of Clarke's writing. The skilful SF writer can get across new ideas or factual information without directly lecturing the reader, a habit that many of Gernsback's writers leaned heavily on. It's not very much different than how a writer of---say---historical novels can convey a convincing sense of the period in which their story is set.

     

    By the same token, the science fiction writer has some obligation to either not make up their science out of whole cloth or not do at least some rudimentary research.

     

    Very true. Or some in-depth research to find out what is being researched right this minute. Some looks akin to magic, and making an educated guess as to where it may lead to can be a challenge. Or even not lead to!

     

    As Clarke's third law states, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

     

    Here's a few things and they are not even new ideas. People often come up with ideas that are not possible at the time, but eventually will be. There's room in SF to do that.

     

    http://listverse.com/2013/08/29/10-incredible-cutting-edge-technologies-in-development/

     

    Absolutely true! One of the things that SF can do is ask "What if?"

     

    Someone writing an historical novel, for instance, would take some care to get the details of the period right,

     

    What if it's fantasy using history?  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_alternate_history_fiction

     

    Then it's an historical fantasy. But the genre of alternate history is not necessarily fantasy per se. Many alternate history novels simply ask, "What would the present be like if some key event in the past had been different?" This doesn't necessarily require any fantasy elements.

     

    just as it would behoove an author setting a story in some foreign country to describe it and its peoples accurately.

     

    Indeed that is true. By jove, init?

     

    You betcha! Smiley Wink

     

    Likewise, if you are setting a story on Mars or Europa, you have some obligation to find out what those places are like. If you are describing a space suit or genetic engineering or a quantum computer, find out how these things work. At least make sure your science is up-to-date or not based on erroneous ideas. You will only have readers laughing at you if you talk about oceans on Venus, canals on Mars or the dark side of the moon.

     

    Ah, but those old stories were quite fun, and one wonders in 50, a 100, a 150 years, and so on, if people will find stories about those things from 2016, just as amusing.

     

    I haven't the slightest doubt! Fortunately, a good story well told can be no less entertaining than it was when originally written, in spite of subsequent advances in science and technology. Verne and Wells are perfect examples.

     

    It's also perfectly OK to speculate or extrapolate from some known science or technology---take some current idea or theory and ask "What if?"

     

    Indeed, but one does have to research in to cutting edge science, not from decades ago. Some cutting edge R & D science may be a dead end, and often some is, but SF could propose what could happen if it was not.

     

    Yup.

     

     

    But even if you are talking about some far distant, future application that may be only remotely possible, you should at least make sure you are starting from a firm understanding of what you're starting from.

     

    How is that possible? Are you saying that if there's space travel at the speed of thought, one has to say how? (I forget which classic SF story that was in.) Some SF is based 100,000s of years in the future. One can only speculate, and it can be fun to do so, or most SF would be impossible to write. It's also becoming obvious to scientists that they do not know as much about physics as they think.   This is a bit of a sarcastic look at that aspect >>>   http://www.cracked.com/article_19668_6-scientific-discoveries-that-laugh-in-face-physics.html

     

    As I said elsewhere, you at least still have to make your science sound plausible and be internally consistent.

     

    With the wealth of information available today at an author's fingertips, there is simply no excuse to not do the research.

     

    Quite so.

     

    And if you want to double-check what you've done, there are probably plenty of college students studying the very science and technology you describe in your book who would be glad to fact-check your details for you.

     

    Would it not be best to ask their teachers? But often those teachers gained their knowledge years ago.

     

    If possible, you could go to someone who is a specialist in the area of science your story is concerned with. And if a writer has to get really basic things double-checked----such as whether Venus is hot or what the speed of light is---he probably shouldn't be writing SF in the first place.

     

    All of this being said, there is such a thing as "science fantasy," which can have a much more cavalier approach to science. But even then, there has to be internal consistency...the author can invent the science but then they have to play by its rules. Your science may not be possible but it should at least sound plausible.

     

    You are correct, and it is much harder remembering and sticking to rules one has made up!

     

    No kidding! Smiley Frustrated


     


  • Skoob_Ym wrote:

    Are eggs good for you?

    How many planets are there?

    What is the smallest particle of matter?

    Where did that second sock go from the dryer?

     

    Yes, unless you have a genetic predisposition towards high levels of LDL.

     

    Nine if you count smaller bodies that would be considered moons, were they to orbit a planet. Eight, otherwise.

     

    I'm really glad you said nine! But I will quibble slightly about that "smaller bodies that would be considered moons, were they to orbit a planet." After all, there are two moons (Titan and Ganymede) that are larger than Mercury. The fact is that size has nothing to do with whether something is a classed as a planet (earth would be a moon if it orbited Jupiter) and is not even one of the considerations for planetary status by the otherwise reprehensible IAU definition. At the moment, the bone of contention between astronomers and planetary scientists is the condition that a body has to have "cleared its orbit" in order to attain planetary status. Otherwise, the conditions for being planet entail only that a body be spherical (i.e., attained hydrostatic equilibrium---this requires a minimum size of about 370 miles for rocky bodies, somewhat less for icy ones) and orbit the sun directly.

     

    The Quark, unless you want to count the massless neutrino.

     

    Since the Copenhagen Interpretation of roughly 1935, it has been well-understood that in any given load of laundry, one sock is less likely to exist than the others. It thus exists in the dual-state of being-and-nothingness until you open the dryer, at which point you become quantum entangled with the ontological state of the sock.


     

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    I figured someone would take me to task over the neutrino... Or the dryer.

     

    BTW, Ron, I had almost forgotten about Hugo Gernsback. I did a paper on the histroy of Science Fiction for my High School English class, and he was a key player. It's amazing how many of the great writers in Science Fiction got their starts with Gernsback's various pulp magazines.

     

     

  • Well I will try to reply to this longness and hope it does not refuse to Post and then vanish.

     

     


    Ron Miller wrote:

    kevinlomas wrote:

    Hugo Gernsback was absolutely convinced that the primary role of science fiction was education...with the result that his magazines published a lot of pretty dreadful stories filled with characters lecturing one another.

     

    It often is. I will give A. C. Clarke as an example of possibly 'educating' other scientists in to possibilities. I am sure you can think of many more. But I do see your point.

     

    Unlike many of the stories that Gernsback encouraged and published, educating readers was not the primary purpose of Clarke's writing.

     

    Possibly not, but his ideas surely gave other scientists pause for thought. It's hard to educate any one about things that as yet do not exist.  

     

    The skilful SF writer can get across new ideas or factual information without directly lecturing the reader,

     

    Indeed, I hope that most readers of fiction do so for entertainment. Surely one that does not entertain is rapidly put down. (I don't mean shot.)

     

    a habit that many of Gernsback's writers leaned heavily on. It's not very much different than how a writer of---say---historical novels can convey a convincing sense of the period in which their story is set.

     

    Quite so, and to do so they need to know that history.

     

    By the same token, the science fiction writer has some obligation to either not make up their science out of whole cloth or not do at least some rudimentary research.

     

    Very true. Or some in-depth research to find out what is being researched right this minute. Some looks akin to magic, and making an educated guess as to where it may lead to can be a challenge. Or even not lead to!

     

    As Clarke's third law states, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

     

    Exactly. In fact in my series of stories the main charector wonders about that all the time, as she comes across tech that's often equal to her magic.

     

    Here's a few things and they are not even new ideas. People often come up with ideas that are not possible at the time, but eventually will be. There's room in SF to do that.

     

    http://listverse.com/2013/08/29/10-incredible-cutting-edge-technologies-in-development/

     

    Absolutely true! One of the things that SF can do is ask "What if?"

     

    Indeed. If one looks back at some old SF many of the ideas at the time were fancsiful and often scoffed at even by scientists of the time, but some of those ideas have come to pass.

     

    Someone writing an historical novel, for instance, would take some care to get the details of the period right,

     

    What if it's fantasy using history?  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_alternate_history_fiction

     

    Then it's an historical fantasy. But the genre of alternate history is not necessarily fantasy per se. Many alternate history novels simply ask, "What would the present be like if some key event in the past had been different?" This doesn't necessarily require any fantasy elements.

     

    But it can do. Graphic and written word novels thrive on it, and many get made in to films or TV series.  Examples >> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Strange_%26_Mr_Norrell 

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penny_Dreadful_(TV_series) (The latter written for TV though.)

     

     

    just as it would behoove an author setting a story in some foreign country to describe it and its peoples accurately.

     

    Indeed that is true. By jove, init?

     

    You betcha! Smiley Wink

     

    Likewise, if you are setting a story on Mars or Europa, you have some obligation to find out what those places are like. If you are describing a space suit or genetic engineering or a quantum computer, find out how these things work. At least make sure your science is up-to-date or not based on erroneous ideas. You will only have readers laughing at you if you talk about oceans on Venus, canals on Mars or the dark side of the moon.

     

     

     

    Indeed, but one does have to research in to cutting edge science, not from decades ago. Some cutting edge R & D science may be a dead end, and often some is, but SF could propose what could happen if it was not.

     

    Yup.

     

     

    But even if you are talking about some far distant, future application that may be only remotely possible, you should at least make sure you are starting from a firm understanding of what you're starting from.

     

    How is that possible? Are you saying that if there's space travel at the speed of thought, one has to say how? (I forget which classic SF story that was in.) Some SF is based 100,000s of years in the future. One can only speculate, and it can be fun to do so, or most SF would be impossible to write. It's also becoming obvious to scientists that they do not know as much about physics as they think.   This is a bit of a sarcastic look at that aspect >>>   http://www.cracked.com/article_19668_6-scientific-discoveries-that-laugh-in-face-physics.html

     

    As I said elsewhere, you at least still have to make your science sound plausible and be internally consistent.

     

    And it's easy to make it sound plausable to the everage reader.

     

     

     

    And if you want to double-check what you've done, there are probably plenty of college students studying the very science and technology you describe in your book who would be glad to fact-check your details for you.

     

    Would it not be best to ask their teachers? But often those teachers gained their knowledge years ago.

     

    If possible, you could go to someone who is a specialist in the area of science your story is concerned with. And if a writer has to get really basic things double-checked----such as whether Venus is hot or what the speed of light is---he probably shouldn't be writing SF in the first place.

     

    Many experts are rude enough never to reply. A real shame that.

     

    All of this being said, there is such a thing as "science fantasy," which can have a much more cavalier approach to science. But even then, there has to be internal consistency...the author can invent the science but then they have to play by its rules. Your science may not be possible but it should at least sound plausible.

     

    You are correct, and it is much harder remembering and sticking to rules one has made up!

     

    No kidding! Smiley Frustrated


     


     

     

     

  • From: http://molaire1.perso.sfr.fr/e_quark.html

     

    The neutrino and the electron (light weight particles), are grouped in the familly of leptons (from the greek "leptos" = light).
    The combination of two leptons and two quarks u and d  are thus the building blocks of our world.
     

    Is that all ?
    No !
    There exists a mirror universe where matter is transformed into anti-matter...

     

    So I think you prety much hit the nail on the head.  Now to find those anti-dryers to get my socks back!

  • Tea Cup.

  • Damn flowers.

  • There are styles of SF and fantasy that seem tailored to varying types of readers.  Recent movies point toward unlikely scenarios portaying unlikey circimstance to develop dramatic events. (i.e. Mad Max, Divergent, Mockingjay etc)

     

    Many of the elder science fiction stories came from thoughts on scientific discovery and possibilities. (i.e. Farenheit 451, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Star Trek) Smiley Happy

     

    Both styles recieved the acclaim of their respective audience and I don't think one style truly supercedes the other. By accepting the mantle of science fiction author we accept the mantle of creating a scenario that stretches the imagination.  By enabling that stretch, however far from it may be, we encourage free thought and looking outside normal convention for answers.  A science fiction novel may not have achievable insights, but the expansion of imagination allows scientists to take the next step into the unknown.

     

    From a wanna be Sci Fi Author.  I guess that makes me a poser for a while longerSmiley Happy

     

    FYI, in my lifetime:

     

    Eggs - Good for you - Bad for you - Good and Bad for your cholesterol - Usually good for you (Milk has bounced around also)

    Planets - 9 - 10 - 8 - 9

    Smallest particle - Quark - Neutrino - Neutrino charge

     

  • The best definition of "science fiction" I ever heard was when Theodore Sturgeon said, "Science fiction is that thing I am pointing at when I say that's science fiction."

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    Ron Miller wrote:

    The best definition of "science fiction" I ever heard was when Theodore Sturgeon said, "Science fiction is that thing I am pointing at when I say that's science fiction."


    The term actually was coined by Hugo Gernsback -- geez, I'm having flashbacks from the High School English paper! -- who called the genre "Scientifiction," a port-manteau word comprised of "Scientific" and "Fiction." This was later corrupted to "Science Fiction."

     

    Miriam Allen DeFord, in her book Elsewhere, Elsewhen, Elsehow, distinguished Science Fiction from Fantasy by stating that Science Fiction consists of "Improbable possibilities" whereas Fantasy consists of plausible impossibilities.

     

    One will note a play upon the A.C. Doyle remark, "When we have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." (A Study in Scarlet).  This phrase was also played upon in the movie, The Last Action Hero, in which a fictional character states the rule of movie plots: "When we have eliminated the implausible, whatever remains, however impossible, must be the truth."

     

    Isaac Asimov and A.C. Clarke sometimes refered to each other as "The greatest science fiction writer" and "The greatest science writer" respectively. Asimov was also sometimes called "The Giant Rat of Sumatra."

     

    As a final bit of Sci-Fi trivia, the first "Science fiction" story was written in the fourth century BC, by Lucian of Samosata, who described a journey to the moon.

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