Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Science and Science Fiction

I ran across these questions at All of My Faults Are Stress-Related, and thought I'd join in. there are two sets of questions which can be found here and here. I'm not really a science fiction writer, there is little science to what I write. However...

What is your relationship to science fiction? Do you read it? Watch it? What/who do you like and why?

I read science fiction, probably in a 2:3 ratio with fantasy. Fantasy has increased in recent years just because I haven't found many science fiction authors that excite me anymore. My first introduction to science fiction was H.G. Wells and The War of the Worlds. More Wells followed with The Time Machine and The Invisible Man. I've read others of his works, so I learned about cavorite, but none of the others really captured me like the big three.

A few years later the movie "Dune" came out, so I began on Frank Herbert. I read the Dune series, and a few of his other books, and was very depressed when he died. And then I found Robert Heinlein, and Job introduced me to the wide range of alternate realities. And then I found Larry Niven who has consistently remained my favorite for science fiction. Known Space keeps me coming back wishing for more.

As for watching science fiction, it's really difficult sometimes. I will refrain from naming the trinity of geology movie bastardizations. My favorites for science fiction are "Firefly"/"Serenity", "Eureka", and the lamented "Journeyman".

What do you see as science fiction's role in promoting science, if any? Can it do more than make people excited about science? Can it harm the cause of science?

I think good science fiction can interest children and adults into following a science education and career. The best example I can think of is "How William Shatner Changed the World". Additional examples can be found in Larry Niven's writings on the science fiction authors who were allowed to be present when the Voyagers passed Saturn. The combination of imagination and science can only help fields grow.

Have you used science fiction as a starting point to talk about science? Is it easier to talk about people doing it right or getting it wrong?

Every now and then I have been talking to people about science fiction books or stories, and we've segued into science discussions. Or I've used science fiction examples to expand on a point in a scientific discussion. Sometimes to extreme thoughts of science fiction can help set an upper bound for what people see as possible.

Are there any specific science or science fiction blogs you would recommend to interested readers or writers?

I'm not a big follower as yet of science blogs, but ones I do check out every day are Bad Astronomy, Astronomy Picture of the Day, and NASA's Image of the Day. For science fiction blogs, nothing I've seen yet comes close to io9. And to add a bit of a twist, XKCD is a great science webcomic, and Schlock Mercenary is a fun science fiction webcomic.

1 comment:

Peggy said...

I am a big fan of the original Dune novel, but I think the sequels are of variable quality (or at least of variable interest to me). None of the sequels captured my imagination like the original.

Thanks for joining in the discussion!

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