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Does the quality of the science fiction bother people?

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re: Does the quality of the science fiction bother people?

Postby jo » 21 Mar 2006, 16:06

Hmm yes well :D

I actually loved the layered way in which the species were presented in Out of the Silent Planet .. each time, the reader was expecting (well *I* was expecting) that the next species would be savage or brutal and each time, it was as or more advanced than the previous and certainly more advanced than human beings. The fact that there were three distinct species did not on Malacandra as it would on earth mean conflict and war abounded.
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About how the cience fiction books starte??

Postby Friend » 17 Nov 2006, 06:02

I think I read once that Lewis started his trilogy after talking with Tolkein about how bad cience fiction had becomed lately and they decided to write a travel in time (Tolkein) and space (Lewis) but now I can´t seem to find where I read this and if there is any way to know if it is true. Anyone knows the answer?
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Postby Biff » 17 Nov 2006, 07:00

Give me a scientifically flawed but great story over an accurate but poor story any day!!!
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Postby The Pfifltrigg » 19 Nov 2006, 20:39

I'm bugged when the details are glaringly inaccurate in a story I read (or watch on television: see below) unless they're the sort of details that aren't supposed to be accurate. The fact that there's no "Edgestow" or "Cure Hardy" on the maps of England I can find, or that there are no "Canals" on Mars or that Weston's ship looks like nothing NASA (or the Russians) ever launched is less of an issue to this reader than when "Abu" is treated as a given name (S. R. Lawhead's Celtic Crusades, book #3--- in Arabic, "Abu" means "father of" and would be followed by the man's oldest son's name, as in "Abu Ismeel" or such) or the kid brother in a CSI episode turns out to have "told off" his older bro and just ordered him to go home (supposedly kid bro pulls a gun on Mom's boyfriend, who pulls a knife: when big bro tries to intervene he's accidentally stabbed, then kid shoots the boyfriend and tells his brother to "just go home"; of course, the bro's also mortally wounded, yada yada yada... :rolleyes: They get the forensics right but the psycology of the character relationships isn't worth a tin nickel.)

As to Haldane's review: "Mr. Lewis’s idea is clear enough. The application of science to human affairs can only lead to hell." Here is a man who most singularly, distinctly, definitively does not get it. He says later on that "Parenthetically, I should have thought the most striking character of a language used by sinless beings who loved their neighbours as themselves would have been the absence of any equivalent of the word “my” and very probably of the word “I,” and of other personal pronouns and inflexions," and the first thing that comes to mind is from Lewis himself (in MC or SbJ, I think, or perhaps AoM), and his decisive distinction between "unselfishness" and Christian love.
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Postby Erekose » 24 Nov 2006, 21:12

If the science is glaringly bad within the context of when its written I yend to get irritated.

HG Wells/Jules Verne etc are "glaring bad" science .. but only with hindsight and so don't count as "irritants".

What I also find VERY annoying, is where something in one story/chapter/episode is blatently contradicted in another .. and not in an explainable sense.. something thats done to make the story possible..

/me cites Star trek Voyagers encounter with the Ferengi in the Delta Quadrent as a PRIME example of being EXTREMELEY IRRITATING!!!
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Re: About how the cience fiction books starte??

Postby a_hnau » 26 Nov 2006, 20:20

Friend wrote:I think I read once that Lewis started his trilogy after talking with Tolkein about how bad cience fiction had becomed lately and they decided to write a travel in time (Tolkein) and space (Lewis) but now I can´t seem to find where I read this and if there is any way to know if it is true. Anyone knows the answer?


Yes, this is pretty much true. I think, though, they weren't complaining about the quality of sci-fi, but bemoaning the fact that nobody was writing the kind of books they wanted to read, so they would have to write them themselves. I can't think where this is recorded either - if it comes back to me I'll post again.
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Postby Mornche Geddick » 10 Sep 2008, 16:43

Bad science in an old SF novel does not bother me - for example in Brave New World the "science" of the hatcheries has a certain retro charm for me. What does annoy me is modern SF using old science because the writer is lazy - for example in the new Dr Who series the villains are still injecting experimental subject with "modified DNA". Come on! What about stem cells, synthetic viruses or RNAi?
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Postby archenland_knight » 15 Sep 2008, 22:20

I think the only people who are bothered by the less than perfect science are people who don't get the meaning of "Science Fiction". The science of the Cosmic Trilogy was no worse for the 1930's than the science of Star Wars is for today. It was no worse than the science of Star Trek TOS was for the 1960's.

Not too long ago I read through a rather large volume entitled "The Short Stories of Arthur C. Clarke". In the introduction, Clarke himself refers to Lewis as an "excellent writer of both fantasy and science fiction." If the science wasn't bad enough to bother Arthur C. Clarke, it's not bad enough to bother me!

Also, with all due respect to Clarke, who was an excellent writer by almost any standard, he was, at least in his later days, just downright hostile to religion of any sort. For Clarke to view works with such obvious religious overtones as Perelandra and OTSP as "Excellent science fiction" really demonstrates just how good they are. Or maybe, in Clarke's mind, the religious elements were just as much a part of the fiction as was Merlin's involvement. :thinking:
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Postby Bill » 19 Sep 2008, 10:34

Erekose wrote:/me cites Star trek Voyagers encounter with the Ferengi in the Delta Quadrant as a PRIME example of being EXTREMELY IRRITATING!!!


But how they got there is explained in another Star Trek Episode - probably DS9

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Postby archenland_knight » 19 Sep 2008, 16:15

Bill wrote:But how they got there is explained in another Star Trek Episode - probably DS9


If I remember correctly, it was an episode of TNG that came out before DS 9. It was the episode where The Enterprise was sent to some planet negotiate rights to use something that no one had ever seen before ... a stable wormhole. One end of this wormhole was in that planet's space, and so in order to use it, the Federation needed to work out a deal with said planet.

Of course, the Ferrengi were also there to work out their own deal. As part of the negotiations, but the Enterprise and the Ferrengi were allowed to send a shuttle through the wormhole to do a very brief survey.

The wormhole, of course, in seconds transported LaForge and whoever he took with him (on board the Federation shuttle) and the Ferengi shuttle some ridiculously far distance that would take decades to travel at high warp.

Once on the other side, LaForge with his magic visor saw something he didn't like concerning the end of the wormhole they had just popped out of, figured out that said end was not stable after all, and went back through post-haste. Of course, like a good Starfleet officer, he urged the Ferengi to head home as well, but they ignored him.

After LaForge got through and the Ferengi were sitting there laughing at the foolish and timid human, the end of the wormhole they were looking at suddenly zipped away at a speed the could never hope to follow, and the Ferengi were trapped there.

These, I believe, were stated to be the same Ferengi in the aforementioned Voyager episode. The wormhole had transported them near enough to where they were in the Voyager episode that they were able to get there in their shuttle, though with some difficulty as best I remember.

And if that isn't "bad science" making "good science fiction", I don't know what it.

Now the real question, in order to keep this thread somewhat on track, is how fast can one be transported by an Oyarsa?
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Postby Bill » 19 Sep 2008, 21:13

Correct!

With regard to your last question, not the faintest idea :toothy-grin:

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Postby Erekose » 23 Sep 2008, 21:59

Bill wrote:
Erekose wrote:/me cites Star trek Voyagers encounter with the Ferengi in the Delta Quadrant as a PRIME example of being EXTREMELY IRRITATING!!!


But how they got there is explained in another Star Trek Episode - probably DS9

Bill


Sorry for the delay in replying...

I'd need to rewatch the episodes for the exact nature of the discrepancy... It concerned the WHY of the ferengi presence as opposed to the HOW. if memory serves.

I also have a feeling that Janeway felt the Federation had a responsibility for the Ferengi presence, which was NOT the case. In fact data and Geordi both tried to get the ferengi to return through the destabilising wormhole, but they refused.

What was particularly galling was that the Wormhole COULD have been a way to have introduced a Klingon presence in the Delta Quadrent, (a klingon presence with 75 years lack of contact) which would have allowed for a far more interesting and consistant series of plotlines to have grown up.

Think Babylon 5 scale.

But I digress from the main thread topic.

/me actually has a rough and ready Star Trek Heresy which suffers from the fact thyat a LOT of inconsistancies need to be surgically and ruthlessly removed
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Postby Áthas » 26 Sep 2008, 12:38

Being a Stargate-fan, I'm used to the writers of a science-fiction story trying their best to make it seem "real" and I do enjoy that, but the books by C. S. Lewis were written about 50 years earlier when many things simply were not known back then. In some ways, I think it was a goosd time to write sci-fi because you could just let your imagination run wild without having to worry about it being obviously wrong or inacurate. When reading the trilogy, I usually manage to put myself in to that time and "let my imagination run wild" with the books, forgettign that we found out that there is no life on mars or that you couldn't survive on Venus etc. :smile:
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Postby Bill » 11 Oct 2008, 21:16

Athas Wrote

but the books by C. S. Lewis were written about 50 years earlier


Out of the Silent Planet was first published in 1938

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Postby rusmeister » 13 Oct 2008, 01:38

Áthas wrote:...50 years earlier when many things simply were not known back then. In some ways, I think it was a goosd time to write sci-fi because you could just let your imagination run wild without having to worry about it being obviously wrong or inacurate.


This sounds as if now we really know everything and have it all accurate. (See Lewis's essay "The Funeral of a Great Myth".)

I think the 'obvious inaccuracies' have a lot more to do with the fact that Lewis wasn't a scientist and didn't consult with scientists on his 'science' - for him, the 'science' was just a vehicle for the story. I don't see George Lucas as being anymore 'accurate' - I'd say he let his imagination run wild in a similar way. Make a flick with good special effects and people won't care about the science.
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