Talk:Science fiction

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Expansion and some complaints[edit]

I have added a bit more info on the sub-genres of science fiction, and even expanded the bit on fantasy which was a bit misleading.

I have also removed any implications that something is somehow "bad" if it's not primarily focused on "honest" hard scientific fact (that kind of thinking is the opposite of "rational"), and reading various discussions over here I have to get this off my chest. This is generally a great site which promotes rational thought, but looking at some of the older edits on this article (lines like "this fictional show sucks because it doesn't use real science and therefore promotes woo" are laughable), it looks like this place isn't completely infallible, and really doesn't make the site's userbase look as good as it should. The problem with that view is that it also implies that great works of literature and cinema are worthless just because there's no science, which I don't think is a stance that any rational person would have. Even if it is specifically meant to target non-realistic works, it's still silly to objectively bad just because it's not "realistic" (Shakespeare, H.G. Wells, Oscar Wilde, etc., have all written unrealistic stories, and hell even the "big three" some of the relatively "hard" science fiction writers have written "softer" works and some have even written fantasy or horror).

A lot of authors know that some of the elements they use are bullshit, but still would like to explore what a world would be like with such "out there" elements. Whether lack of actual scientific focus makes something good or bad "science fiction" is up for debate (for me, as long as the book is well written, the technology used seems relatively plausible (even if it's not possible), and this technology is actually important to the story, it counts as "great science fiction"), but it certainly has no bearing on it being good fiction. Great science fiction will use the science to explore several themes, how the new technology or discovery affects the characters and society, no matter whether the science is a 100% within the realms of possibility or not. Also, if it is pure entertainment with no real exploration of the human condition, it wouldn't be "great" science fiction, but it may still be enjoyable, and wouldn't necessarily make a work crap. I know that this site promotes science and rationality, but there is a big difference between enjoying unrealistic fiction, and actually believing in the unrealistic. I love Back to the Future, for example, but I know it's all bullshit. It's enjoyable because of the character interactions and the humorous situations made possible by the "time travel". Whether the time travel is actually possible isn't important in this case. If you aren't personally able to suspend your disbelief enough when reading a story or watching a film, that's fine (I too have my limits, and usually won't be able to enjoy something that's too cartoony unless it's actually meant to be a comedy), but don't say that everyone should be held to the same views. Some people are going to enjoy the more literary writers, most of whom rarely employ detailed scientific theories in their writings. Others may enjoy action heavy, visually pleasing, and sometimes somewhat shallow stuff like Aliens and Star Wars. That only tells you what a person appreciates in fiction, and not about his or her own personal beliefs or appreciation of hard science.

Of course an actual bad work may and should still be bashed, but for the right reasons. A novel should be judged by literary quality and its exploration of personal and social themes and character, and not by its scientific detail or accuracy. If you want science fiction that gives considerably more importance to science than to character or story, then just simply avoid "soft science fiction". I've seen too many books given negative reviews just because a device like time travel was used, even if was skillfully written. If it is integral to the plot and helps you say what you want to say, why not use it?. Something meant mostly as entertainment, should be judged as just that. It's not going to be something in the level of Kafka, or Hemingway, but it can still be "fun". There can be good and bad examples of works meant purely as "fun" (the difference between Terminator 2 or Die Hard and Michael Bay's Transformers or Resident Evil), just as there may be good or bad works meant to be deep and thought-provoking. Tl;dr version: Science fiction shouldn't be judged by how much or how much science there is or how accurate it is. And that's not to say that there aren't realistic stories that are intriguing, by the way (in case anyone misundestood), just that realism itself isn't something that determines whether a work is good or bad. Woodgod (talk) 18:39, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

I don't want to appear flippant, but a few paragraph breaks would make this an awful lot easier to read.--BobSpring is sprung! 18:46, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
Ah sorry. Did all that in a hurry and didn't know that leaving a whole line was necessary to break into paras Woodgod (talk) 20:01, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
Would it be possible for the Sub Genres section to have an explanation, and even an example for each entry. As it stands I'm sure it means something to somebody but it means SFA to me. Bad Faith (talk) 12:39, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
I did have some explanation with examples earlier, but it looked pretty messy and I thought it was too much needless detail for the site's purposes. I may write a line or two about each later Woodgod (talk) 15:13, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

Science fiction gets it wrong[edit]

Perhaps there could be something along the lines of the above?

Not necessarily 'deductions based on incomplete knowledge/science of the time' (habitable/boil in the bag Venus, coal fired and nuclear fired sun etc) or 'useful plot devices' (ftl travel, teleport etc) but 'failure to predict'/lack of 'the vision thing' - clunky mainframe computers versus 'the think-thing in your pocket', women and minorities 'staying in their place' etc and examples of 'arrant stupidity'. 212.85.6.26 (talk) 16:10, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

Which is why, I believe, it's called "science fiction" Scarlet A.pngpathetic 16:47, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

How much technology[edit]

... orginates from 'person watching/reading some SF' and deciding 'I want one of those'? 171.33.222.26 (talk) 17:24, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

Question for the Doctor[edit]

Would a sonic screwdriver work in an anechoic chamber? 171.33.197.73 (talk) 16:50, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

Is this part of RW's mission statement?[edit]

There's debate on Robot and Star Trek as to what sci-fi if any is part of the mission here. Exiled Encyclopedist (talk) 17:11, 31 October 2014 (UTC)