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Old February 27 2013, 11:29 AM   #6
Fleet Captain
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Re: Is there any Sci-Fi in Star Trek?

Wash: That sounds like something out of science fiction.
Zoe: We live in a spaceship, dear.
—FIREFLY, "Objects in Space"

"Science fiction" may continue into the future, no matter how advanced our technology gets. Although I prefer the harder brand of science fiction that sticks closer to physics as we know it, many fans accept time travel, alternate universes and other truly fantastic notions without blinking. Kepler wrote about visiting the Moon via mechanisms today's readers would call pure fantasy. Yet the point of his work was to educate the reader about the movement of the planets. Some "modern" science fiction (20th and early 21st century) is of this educational sort, sometimes as part of the suspension of disbelief. And there are stories whose aim is simple escapism, space opera. Myths and heroes of past ages may have been the "hard sci-fi" or space opera of those times. Yes, I am blurring the line between sci-fi and fantasy because most sci-fi is somewhat fantastical.

Whether "sci-fi" will continue into the future is more a reflection on society than any field of science or technology. Throughout history there have been those people who believed Mankind understood the workings of the universe. Galileo's problems in that regard were largely political, but also ideological. There is an apocryphal story that Lord William Thomson Kelvin said, "There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement." Whether or not he actually said this is irrelevant, as there were contemporaries of Kelvin who did express this belief, and there are those who believe it today.

A society with this mindset does not explore or dream. If you find recent sci-fi flatter than day-old soda, this may be why. But students of history know that these trends swing from one extreme to another, like a pendulum. "Good" sci-fi is only a matter of time.
"No, I better not look. I just might be in there."
—Foghorn Leghorn, Little Boy Boo
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