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Thread: Science Fiction is Not About Science

  1. #61
    I think as writers we are not well equipped to discuss whether fiction can foretell or foreshadow future events because we have a vested interest in it being true.

    We all want our work to have some relevance to posterity. So whenever an instance arises of something that was foretold in some way in a book we tend to seize on it.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  2. #62
    Member Chris Stevenson's Avatar
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    Yep, I read RH's book. It was racy, daring and sexually provocative. I do and have written my SF and dystopian books with huge themes, statements that explore corporate greed, chicanery, hostility, bias and other issues. I don't hammer someone over the head--the messages are quite subtle, but they are there and i make no apologies for them.
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  3. #63
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    You know, Bazz, I always think this is kind of an overestimation...

    I know I sound like I have a bias against sci-fi and I honestly, truly don't (I enjoy it) but the idea of science fiction predicting future technology seems over-emphasized. IMO Science Fiction overall probably gets easily as much or more wrong about the future as it gets right. For every prediction of cell phones and lasers there's a prediction of hover boards and anti-gravity boots, together with a general failure to foresee things which are really central to our society - say, social media and climate change.
    There's a number of cases where SF has inspired invention. Did you know that the TASER was invented by a man who was inspired by a Tom Swift book? In fact, the word TASER stands for Tom A. Swift's Electric Rifle. You also mention SF missing social media, but one of the inventors of the World Wide Web was inspired by Arthur C. Clarke's, Dial F for Frankenstein a short story about an inter-connected telecommunications network.

    There are others which can be found in this article.
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


    Those who enjoy stirring the chamber-pot should be required to lick the spoon.

    Our job as writers is to make readers dream, to infiltrate their minds with our words and create a new reality; a reality not theirs, and not ours, but a new, unique combination of both.

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  4. #64
    Supervisor velo's Avatar
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    My blog- Hidden Content thoughts on trauma and healing through psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy

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  5. #65
    The predictions of people are not always that good. As a young man I made the acquaintance of a Professor Reeves who as a young man in the 1930's, had developed the concept of pulse modulation control; a method of sending many messages on a single radio wave. It did not become a physical reality until the development of semi conductors and diodes, but is now the basis behind mobile phones. I remember Reeves saying to us back then that he envisioned everyone in the world having a personal number and a 'communications device' so that anyone in the world could speak to anyone else, he saw the possibility of people being able to talk to each other as being a huge step towards tolerance and understanding.
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  6. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by Terry D View Post
    There's a number of cases where SF has inspired invention. Did you know that the TASER was invented by a man who was inspired by a Tom Swift book? In fact, the word TASER stands for Tom A. Swift's Electric Rifle. You also mention SF missing social media, but one of the inventors of the World Wide Web was inspired by Arthur C. Clarke's, Dial F for Frankenstein a short story about an inter-connected telecommunications network.

    There are others which can be found in this article.
    I don't dispute this, but I think we would need to clarify what is meant.

    To me there is an important difference between being inspired by science fiction into a general idea that results in the creation of Invention X, and saying science fiction provides a 'template' or in some way is the source or progenitor or predictor of the technology itself.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  7. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    I don't dispute this, but I think we would need to clarify what is meant.

    To me there is an important difference between being inspired by science fiction into a general idea that results in the creation of Invention X, and saying science fiction provides a 'template' or in some way is the source or progenitor or predictor of the technology itself.
    No, these SF writers didn't provide blueprints for the technology which was to come, but I don't think anyone ever suggested they did. The discussion, as I interpreted it, was whether specific SF technology inspired future development.

    Another thought... I wonder how many modern inventions are based on old Sci Fi gadgets. Did Star Trek Provide a template for the mobile phone? Did HG Wells foretell the Laser Beam? Will Mary Shelly have the last laugh?


    While it's clear Star Trek's writers didn't design flip-phones (otherwise Motorola might now be named Roddenberry), it's also pretty clear that some specific concepts from SF have been the progenitors for current tech. You can't discount the seed that is planted by an idea. Newton's falling apple was the direct antecedent of his theory of gravity. Just as Tom Swift's electric rifle was grandfather to the TASER.
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


    Those who enjoy stirring the chamber-pot should be required to lick the spoon.

    Our job as writers is to make readers dream, to infiltrate their minds with our words and create a new reality; a reality not theirs, and not ours, but a new, unique combination of both.

    Visit Amazon and the Kindle Store to check out Reflections in a Black Mirror, and Chase

    Hidden Content






  8. #68
    if science is an approach (method)
    and
    the hypothesis (question) is explored
    in abstract,
    development of concrete (application)
    may follow.
    as may
    development of abstract (application).

    speculative fiction, sci fi, slipstream.
    these are keywords for consumers.
    simplify search.
    imho.

    what if nutritional requirements were provided
    by devices resembling "room sanitizer/air freshener"s?
    what if your brain didn't just biochemically "calm"
    while processing (smell) "pumpkin pie",
    but processed nutritional content "atomized"?

    *sci fi is*
    *what?!*


  9. #69
    Quote Originally Posted by Terry D View Post
    No, these SF writers didn't provide blueprints for the technology which was to come, but I don't think anyone ever suggested they did. The discussion, as I interpreted it, was whether specific SF technology inspired future development.
    Bazz’s post, which was what I had responded to, used the word ‘template’. The dictionary definition of template is ‘something that serves as a model for others to copy.’ That seems to suggest a designation that goes beyond mere inspiration.

    One can write a book ‘inspired by’ Mark Twain that does not resemble a Mark Twain book in any way that is perceptible to an ordinary reader. But if one was ‘copying’ Twain by definition it would neee to resemble Twain in some obvious, irrefutable way. And that’s the difference as I see it.

    I’m not trying to be pedantic. I agree with the spirit of the point you are making, I simply took the use of the words ‘template’ according to its definition and said it’s an overestimation.

    My post, which you have indicated disagreement with, was that the notion of science fiction PREDICTING future technology is overstated. I think that’s accurate.

    But I assume you agree inspiration is not a synonym for prediction, nor is it a synonym for ‘based on’ or ‘a template of’ . So I am not exactly sure what you disagree with.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  10. #70
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Bazz’s post, which was what I had responded to, used the word ‘template’. The dictionary definition of template is ‘something that serves as a model for others to copy.’ That seems to suggest a designation that goes beyond mere inspiration.

    One can write a book ‘inspired by’ Mark Twain that does not resemble a Mark Twain book in any way that is perceptible to an ordinary reader. But if one was ‘copying’ Twain by definition it would neee to resemble Twain in some obvious, irrefutable way. And that’s the difference as I see it.

    I’m not trying to be pedantic. I agree with the spirit of the point you are making, I simply took the use of the words ‘template’ according to its definition and said it’s an overestimation.

    My post, which you have indicated disagreement with, was that the notion of science fiction PREDICTING future technology is overstated. I think that’s accurate.

    But I assume you agree inspiration is not a synonym for prediction, nor is it a synonym for ‘based on’ or ‘a template of’ . So I am not exactly sure what you disagree with.
    I can't say that I do agree that inspiration isn't synonymous with prediction. When a scientist takes a concept from a story and develops the technology to make that concept a reality then that qualifies as the story predicting the future developments. Verne's submarine and moon travel, the TASER, Arthur C. Clarke's prediction of telecommunication satellites before they were even a concept, all qualify as successful predictions.
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


    Those who enjoy stirring the chamber-pot should be required to lick the spoon.

    Our job as writers is to make readers dream, to infiltrate their minds with our words and create a new reality; a reality not theirs, and not ours, but a new, unique combination of both.

    Visit Amazon and the Kindle Store to check out Reflections in a Black Mirror, and Chase

    Hidden Content






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