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[icon] Kathryn Cramer - "On Science and Science Fiction" - Accreted Quotations
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Subject:Kathryn Cramer - "On Science and Science Fiction"
Time:05:58 pm
This perception of the similarity of science and hard [science fiction] is manifest in [Gregory Benford's] definition of hard [science fiction] in that essay:
My minimum definition of hard [science fiction] demands that it highly prize fidelity to the physical facts of the universe, while constructing a new objective "reality" within a fictional matrix. It is not enough to merely use science as integral to the narrative ... [Science fiction] must use science in a speculative fashion. The physical sciences are the most capable of detailed prediction (and thus falsification by experiment), so they are perceived in fiction as more reliable indicators of future possibilities, or stable grounds for orderly speculation.

This view of the relationship between hard [science fiction] and science is oversimplified and omits certain important distinctions: As mathematician Jules-Henri Poincaré pointed out, only a small minority of the human race experiences mathematics pleasurably. So, while mathematics is the bones holding up the scientific animal, the science must be "de-boned" before it can be used in fiction, because the majority of readers, even hard [science fiction] readers wil tolerate very few equations in a work of fiction. Even the anthology Mathenauts, edited by Rudy Rucker, contains, by my count, only four equations, of those, none are beyond the ken of a high-school freshman.


--Kathryn Cramer, "On Science and Science Fiction"
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