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Old September 4 2008, 03:11 PM   #42
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Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.

Why is it silly? We live in the 21st century. We're discussing 21st century entertainment. Why would it be silly for anyone to want to see a piece of entertainment that, while set in the future, still reflects and conforms to our current level of understanding?
Considering that science fiction is about EXPLORING and expanding our boundaries, breaking through barriers, I find it silly placing more barriers, especially since not everyone agrees that current scientific concensus represents barriers impassible.

On the other hand wanting or asking for some form of "scientific purity" doesn't exclude scientific advances unknown to us. Bova's been heavy on the practical use of buckeyballs, something that currently isn't being used all that much. Plus he's mentioned advanced or "exotic" building materials, fuel mixtures, etc... Plus Bova's "Grand Tour" establishes that there are microbial life forms on Venus and the moons of Saturn, an extinct sentient civilization on Mars and giant intelligent dolphin like animals lving inside Jupiter. He's presented all of these in such a way that the ideas sound scientifically believable.
All this amounts to technobabble. Science fiction is most interesting when it's about people and their lives in these imaginary settings.

I just don't find fidelity to what "sounds" scientifically believable that important, or even that interesting. Technobabble tends to put me asleep.

Perhaps the "scientific purity" qutoent can be satisfied by providing a psedo-scientific explaination for such things. Or at least point to naturally occuring parallels. Maybe this will make it less "pure" but it does keep it from sounding "mystical" or "supernatural."
I don't think you need a technobabble "explanation" for everything. There is plenty in the real world which escapes easy explanation.

Why should it not be thus in science fiction, even "pure" SF?

The "science" has a "neat" factor, but it's not the primary draw to the genre for me.
"New and stirring things are belittled because if they are not belittled, the humiliating question arises, 'Why then are you not taking part in them?' " - H. G. Wells
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