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Re: How much fact must there be in Science Fiction?

PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:08 pm
by crit33427
crit33321 wrote:We read science fiction not to be oohed and aahed by your deep understanding of quantum physics, but because your explanations -- whatever they are -- overcome our intellect long enough that we can suspend our disbelief and enjoy the cool new world you've developed for us.


I think Morgan hits the nail on the head. It is all about suspension of disbelief. This is not unique to any genre 'Would Mr. Darcy really have said such a thing?'. Writers tend to build audiences based on an unspoken contract:

'I the writer shall only ever demand X amount of suspension of disbelief in subject areas Y and Z whilst providing full self-sufficient plausibility elsewhere. You the reader shall accept this and never complain about inconsistencies or plot holes that exist below this given threshold. Everything over and above is fair game.'

Each writer / audience / genre contract has unique values for X, Y and Z. My advice is not to worry too much about what the ideal values might be but far rather pick ones that you are comfortable with and stick to them. As long as you are consistent then a particular audience will naturally gravitate to your writing. If you stick to your contract and never disappoint your loyal fans then it doesn't matter what the perfect academic generic designation for your work is. The fans (you included) are happy.

Re: How much fact must there be in Science Fiction?

PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:11 pm
by crit33427
crit33321 wrote:We read science fiction not to be oohed and aahed by your deep understanding of quantum physics, but because your explanations -- whatever they are -- overcome our intellect long enough that we can suspend our disbelief and enjoy the cool new world you've developed for us.


I think Morgan hits the nail on the head. It is all about suspension of disbelief. This is not unique to any genre 'Would Mr. Darcy really have said such a thing?'. Writers tend to build audiences based on an unspoken contract:

'I the writer shall only ever demand X amount of suspension of disbelief in subject areas Y and Z whilst providing full self-sufficient plausibility elsewhere. You the reader shall accept this and never complain about inconsistencies or plot holes that exist below this given threshold. Everything over and above is fair game.'

Each writer / audience / genre contract has unique values for X, Y and Z. My advice is not to worry too much about what the ideal values might be but far rather pick ones that you are comfortable with and stick to them. As long as you are consistent then a particular audience will naturally gravitate to your writing. If you stick to your contract and never disappoint your loyal fans then it doesn't matter what the perfect academic generic designation for your work is. The fans (you included) are happy.

Re: How much fact must there be in Science Fiction?

PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:53 pm
by crit33888
For me it depends on the voice of your narrator. If your narrator is omniscient and is in the habit of giving detailed descriptions, you're more likely to have to explain your tech. If it's the first person narration of a lowly private in an infantry brigade, he wouldn't understand the tech anyways so wouldn't have to explain it. It also depends how much you worry about the science geeks rolling their eyes. For me, if the jargon sounds convincing and the writing is good, I don't need tech specs. I know plenty who have stories ruined by bad science though, so horses for courses.

Re: How much fact must there be in Science Fiction?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:37 am
by crit33916
Exhibit A- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej3ioOneTy8

Exhibit B- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MogyO3t_-B8


Both Science Fiction. Both are fantastic. Vastly different answers to this question are implied within the worldbuilding of the two films.

I think the key is consistency of vision and approach within the work itself, not some abstract standard that one should try to conform to. Choose an approach that fits (and to an extent defines) the tone of your piece, and stick with it. If you're going for hyper realism, try not to say your ship made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. If you're going for fantastical spectacle, don't suddenly spend a huge chunk of time discussing the amount of water needed to grow a year's supply of potatoes.

(It's actually quite fun to imagine how badly a hyper-realistic discussion of moisture farming would sit within A New Hope, or a throwaway reference to 'calculating a hyperspace jump' would jar in The Martian!)

Re: How much fact must there be in Science Fiction?

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:57 pm
by crit33524
I'm going to put up a couple of related examples that I think are relevant.

First: Zootopia. Is it fantasy, or SF? I'd rate it as fantasy, because there are all these multiple species of sapient animals living mostly-peacefully together, and none of the science or technology shown is beyond common knowledge in our world. However I'll grant that there's room for argument.

Second: a Zootopia fanfic-in-progress, Lost Causes and Broken Dreams. (Warning: it is not a happy uplifting story.) To me it's solidly SF. Even though it has all the same species of sapient animals. Because the story is heavily rooted in science, and (in notes accompanying the story chapters) the author even tries to retroactively construct the science behind this multi-sapient-species world.