Login Register

All times are UTC - 7 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic Page 3 of 14   [ 279 posts ]   Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ... 14  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Sci-fi
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:35 am 
Offline
King of Cool
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 11, 2003 11:30 am
Posts: 68931
Religion: Anticukite Catholic
GKC wrote:
[Folks like David Weber, in the Honor Harrington series, go to much effort to get a plausible patina on the things that are necessary for the basic plot (FTL travel, weaponry, medical life extensions), often adding appendices and schematics, to show how the gears work. Which I certainly appreciate; it gives a surface plausibility that adds to the enjoyment, and provides new plot devices, as the "science" improves in succeeding titles. But I don't require that for something to be called SF. It only requires an appeal to a scientific underpinning: I'm not concerned as to how Cavorite really functions, or whether Mars would support something that builds fighting machines.


Well, there's an inherent problem isn't there? If it is possible for the author to go into depth explaining HOW a particular device would work, then he could build on, couldn't he, and the device would no longer be fictional. So, since they are presumably going to be describing stuff which does not exist, this necessitates making stuff up to a degree. But the description need not be particularly detailed, and I do require that they be based on real science.

But I don't like hand waiving explanations. Things like the 'Heisenberg compensator' (i.e. some device that somehow negates the basic principles of Quantum Mechanics by 'compensating' for the Heisenberg uncertainty principle) on Star Trek really bug me. You might as well say that people now live forever because they have 'death compensators'.

_________________
"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and they deserve to get it good and hard" HL Mencken

Therefore.....let it burn.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sci-fi
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:43 am 
Offline
Some Poor Bibliophile
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2003 8:22 pm
Posts: 15118
Doom wrote:
GKC wrote:
[Folks like David Weber, in the Honor Harrington series, go to much effort to get a plausible patina on the things that are necessary for the basic plot (FTL travel, weaponry, medical life extensions), often adding appendices and schematics, to show how the gears work. Which I certainly appreciate; it gives a surface plausibility that adds to the enjoyment, and provides new plot devices, as the "science" improves in succeeding titles. But I don't require that for something to be called SF. It only requires an appeal to a scientific underpinning: I'm not concerned as to how Cavorite really functions, or whether Mars would support something that builds fighting machines.


Well, there's an inherent problem isn't there? If it is possible for the author to go into depth explaining HOW a particular device would work, then he could build on, couldn't he, and the device would no longer be fictional. So, since they are presumably going to be describing stuff which does not exist, this necessitates making stuff up to a degree. But the description need not be particularly detailed, and I do require that they be based on real science.

But I don't like hand waiving explanations. Things like the 'Heisenberg compensator' (i.e. some device that somehow negates the basic principles of Quantum Mechanics by 'compensating' for the Heisenberg uncertainty principle) on Star Trek really bug me. You might as well say that people now live forever because they have 'death compensators'.


I am not so picky. Hence, I suppose I've read more SF than you. Plus, of course, I've been doing it for 50+ years.

GKC

_________________
"I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sci-fi
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:46 am 
Offline
King of Cool
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 11, 2003 11:30 am
Posts: 68931
Religion: Anticukite Catholic
GKC wrote:
I am not so picky. Hence, I suppose I've read more SF than you. Plus, of course, I've been doing it for 50+ years.

GKC



I'm nit picky because that is what I do, I might not know much but I know science....and so it annoys me to see it brazenly violated by stuff that doesn't make sense....if there isn't some kind of logic, plausibility or internal consistency that I find convincing in what I'm reading I can't get into it.

_________________
"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and they deserve to get it good and hard" HL Mencken

Therefore.....let it burn.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sci-fi
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:35 am 
Offline
Some Poor Bibliophile
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2003 8:22 pm
Posts: 15118
Doom wrote:
GKC wrote:
I am not so picky. Hence, I suppose I've read more SF than you. Plus, of course, I've been doing it for 50+ years.

GKC



I'm nit picky because that is what I do, I might not know much but I know science....and so it annoys me to see it brazenly violated by stuff that doesn't make sense....if there isn't some kot part of teh story. FTL, for eind of logic, plausibility or internal consistency that I find convincing in what I'm reading I can't get into it.


Not sure how you are going to get yourself out of the Solar System, for some grand space opera, then.

GKC

_________________
"I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sci-fi
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:48 am 
Offline
King of Cool
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 11, 2003 11:30 am
Posts: 68931
Religion: Anticukite Catholic
GKC wrote:
Not sure how you are going to get yourself out of the Solar System, for some grand space opera, then.

GKC


By the power of Applied Phlebotinum of course

_________________
"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and they deserve to get it good and hard" HL Mencken

Therefore.....let it burn.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sci-fi
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:12 am 
Offline
Some Poor Bibliophile
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2003 8:22 pm
Posts: 15118
Doom wrote:
GKC wrote:
Not sure how you are going to get yourself out of the Solar System, for some grand space opera, then.

GKC


By the power of Applied Phlebotinum of course


Plausible.

Alludium Phosdex, perhaps.

GKC

_________________
"I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sci-fi
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:24 pm 
Offline
Adept
Adept

Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2005 3:45 am
Posts: 4724
Location: East of Cardiff
Religion: yes no and maybe
Doom & GKC,

I don't think you can say something is not science fiction on the pretext that the volume lacks depth of science .
Mary Shelley's other science fiction story "The Last Man" (plot: we all get wiped out by a pan-demic virus in 89 years time - 2100AD) also hits "the nail on the head" of current thinking.

Yes her story reads as if the world has not really moved on since 1820 (her novel gives England still having lords and estates and servants and the like - which is not really true nowadays in any meaningful way) but the crux of the matter is that in BOTH her novels she has used futurist science as the main PLOT device. One novel has a man-machine and the other a virus. You could argue that H.G. Wells story (War of the worlds) is a amalgam of both Shelley's storys as are numerous books of that kind of genre (even the time machine kind of harks back to this novel - otherwise how did a reader in 1820 get to know what happened in 2100).

Your theory might hold more water with the "strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" but again circumstanial evidence is against you. Stephenson's dad was a great engineer and Stephenson also studied science at Edinburgh (the main UK university for medecine). Mr Hyde appearing as a result of Chemistry would be something that Stephenson would know something about. Dr Jekyll is science fiction. its based on science. Schizophrenia is medically treated with chemicals that effect the brain.

_________________
https://www.hasmyidentitybeenstolen.com/


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sci-fi
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:13 pm 
Offline
Some Poor Bibliophile
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2003 8:22 pm
Posts: 15118
Netcurtains3 wrote:
Doom & GKC,

I don't think you can say something is not science fiction on the pretext that the volume lacks depth of science .
Mary Shelley's other science fiction story "The Last Man" (plot: we all get wiped out by a pan-demic virus in 89 years time - 2100AD) also hits "the nail on the head" of current thinking.

Yes her story reads as if the world has not really moved on since 1820 (her novel gives England still having lords and estates and servants and the like - which is not really true nowadays in any meaningful way) but the crux of the matter is that in BOTH her novels she has used futurist science as the main PLOT device. One novel has a man-machine and the other a virus. You could argue that H.G. Wells story (War of the worlds) is a amalgam of both Shelley's storys as are numerous books of that kind of genre (even the time machine kind of harks back to this novel - otherwise how did a reader in 1820 get to know what happened in 2100).

Your theory might hold more water with the "strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" but again circumstanial evidence is against you. Stephenson's dad was a great engineer and Stephenson also studied science at Edinburgh (the main UK university for medecine). Mr Hyde appearing as a result of Chemistry would be something that Stephenson would know something about. Dr Jekyll is science fiction. its based on science. Schizophrenia is medically treated with chemicals that effect the brain.



Jekyll isn't based on science. It used science as a deus ex machina, to explain Hyde.

But you're making a case against Doom, here, not me. He may have a comment.

GKC

_________________
"I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sci-fi
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:36 pm 
Offline
King of Cool
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 11, 2003 11:30 am
Posts: 68931
Religion: Anticukite Catholic
GKC wrote:
Plausible.

Alludium Phosdex, perhaps.

GKC



I don't know if you are aware of it, but 'phlebotnium' is a term used in fandom coined by Joss Whedon, it basically means 'making up pseudo science to justify getting the story started'....kind of like what Stan Lee did with the origins of pretty much all his superheroes....

_________________
"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and they deserve to get it good and hard" HL Mencken

Therefore.....let it burn.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sci-fi
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:38 pm 
Offline
King of Cool
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 11, 2003 11:30 am
Posts: 68931
Religion: Anticukite Catholic
GKC wrote:
Jekyll isn't based on science. It used science as a deus ex machina, to explain Hyde.

But you're making a case against Doom, here, not me. He may have a comment.

GKC



I wouldn't call Jeckyll a 'deus ex machina' it is more properly described as a 'scientific Macguffin' or 'applied phlebotnium'

_________________
"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and they deserve to get it good and hard" HL Mencken

Therefore.....let it burn.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sci-fi
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:53 pm 
Offline
Some Poor Bibliophile
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2003 8:22 pm
Posts: 15118
Doom wrote:
GKC wrote:
Jekyll isn't based on science. It used science as a deus ex machina, to explain Hyde.

But you're making a case against Doom, here, not me. He may have a comment.

GKC



I wouldn't call Jeckyll a 'deus ex machina' it is more properly described as a 'scientific Macguffin' or 'applied phlebotnium'


Or, Alludium Phosdex.

GKC

_________________
"I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sci-fi
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:53 pm 
Offline
Some Poor Bibliophile
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2003 8:22 pm
Posts: 15118
Doom wrote:
GKC wrote:
Plausible.

Alludium Phosdex, perhaps.

GKC



I don't know if you are aware of it, but 'phlebotnium' is a term used in fandom coined by Joss Whedon, it basically means 'making up pseudo science to justify getting the story started'....kind of like what Stan Lee did with the origins of pretty much all his superheroes....


Yep. Aware of it.

GKC

_________________
"I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sci-fi
PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:49 am 
Offline
Adept
Adept

Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2005 3:45 am
Posts: 4724
Location: East of Cardiff
Religion: yes no and maybe
:),
piffle,
but whatever.

_________________
https://www.hasmyidentitybeenstolen.com/


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sci-fi
PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:41 pm 
Offline
Some Poor Bibliophile
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2003 8:22 pm
Posts: 15118
Netcurtains3 wrote:
:),
piffle,
but whatever.




Possibly Alludium Phosdex.

GKC

_________________
"I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sci-fi
PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:47 pm 
Offline
Jedi Master
Jedi Master
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2002 7:55 am
Posts: 66166
Location: 1.56381501 radians
Religion: Catholic
Church Affiliations: 4th Degree KofC
You guys all need some antihistamine, stat.

_________________
Nos autem in nomine Domini Dei nostri

Need something to read?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sci-fi
PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:27 pm 
Offline
Some Poor Bibliophile
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2003 8:22 pm
Posts: 15118
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
You guys all need some antihistamine, stat.


Or, possibly, methylsulfonylmethane.

GKC

_________________
"I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sci-fi
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:15 am 
Offline
Prodigal Son of Thunder
Prodigal Son of Thunder
User avatar

Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2002 8:54 am
Posts: 36560
Location: Ad Mariam, America!
Religion: Roman Catholic
Church Affiliations: AWC, CSB, UIGSE-FSE (FNE)
Gerty wrote:
I thought I'd pick up a sci-fi book from the library but I don't really know which authors are good in this genera. Also what is the best Catholic sci-fi?

Not sure how I missed this thread. I don't know of a lot of explicitly Catholic sci-fi (apart from A Canticle for Leibowitz) that I could recommend (there's one or two books I would caution you against reading).

There are a few things that stand out as favorites:
Foundation by Isaac Asimov (the original "trilogy" only ... later stuff is not as good, tends to be preachy and liberal)
Dune by Frank Herbert (the sequels are mostly pretty bad)
The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (the sequel was disappointing though - don't bother)
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (depressing though)
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein (Heinlein jumped the shark after this one - everything before except for Stranger in a Strange Land is worth a look)
The aforementioned Canticle by Walter Miller
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick (a bit weird though - something like The Man in the High Castle might be more accessible)

Some of these are "hard" sci-fi, others not so much. There is nothing "hard" about Ray Bradbury's work, for example.

_________________
"Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the King." (1 Peter 2:17)
Federation of North-American Explorers - North Star Group - How You Can Help

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sci-fi
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:28 am 
Offline
Prodigal Son of Thunder
Prodigal Son of Thunder
User avatar

Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2002 8:54 am
Posts: 36560
Location: Ad Mariam, America!
Religion: Roman Catholic
Church Affiliations: AWC, CSB, UIGSE-FSE (FNE)
GKC wrote:
Not sure how you are going to get yourself out of the Solar System, for some grand space opera, then.

That's one thing I've always found lacking in Arthur Clarke's stuff. He seems to have more or less rejected the whole concept of FTL travel, and so the "space opera" aspect is missing. Of course I've not read all of his books.

Star Trek's handwaving is probably the most egregious example. But Star Wars isn't far behind, with its conflation of "light speed" and "hyperspace" and Han Solo's contention that the Millenium Falcon made the Kessel Run in 12 "parsecs" (yes, I know this was later retconned, but let's be serious, Lucas made a mistake). I guess Star Wars' setting makes the difference - it's not pretending to describe a future history the way Star Trek is.

_________________
"Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the King." (1 Peter 2:17)
Federation of North-American Explorers - North Star Group - How You Can Help

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sci-fi
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 9:40 am 
Offline
Some Poor Bibliophile
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2003 8:22 pm
Posts: 15118
Pepsuber wrote:
GKC wrote:
Not sure how you are going to get yourself out of the Solar System, for some grand space opera, then.

That's one thing I've always found lacking in Arthur Clarke's stuff. He seems to have more or less rejected the whole concept of FTL travel, and so the "space opera" aspect is missing. Of course I've not read all of his books.

Star Trek's handwaving is probably the most egregious example. But Star Wars isn't far behind, with its conflation of "light speed" and "hyperspace" and Han Solo's contention that the Millenium Falcon made the Kessel Run in 12 "parsecs" (yes, I know this was later retconned, but let's be serious, Lucas made a mistake). I guess Star Wars' setting makes the difference - it's not pretending to describe a future history the way Star Trek is.



For me, it's suspension of disbelief, so I can read the story. And I forget which SF writer used the axiom that you always allow one impossible premise in a good SF story, if needed. I always do.

As to Clark, I assume that whether it's mentioned or not, in such stories as CHILDHOOD'S END, there would have to be FTL travel. And somebody had to get here to deliver that monolith on the moon.

David Weber doesn't wave hands, the "theories" behind his FTL capabilities and restrictions are integral to almost every aspect of the Harrington universe, and his appendices are marvelous. But I doubt one could construct a functioning ship's wedge from them. Likewise , he's thought through extensively other scientific aspects, as in life extension, genetics and exobiology, utilizing, as many SF writers do, scientific advisors, as he once discussed with me.

GK

_________________
"I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Sci-fi
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 9:42 am 
Offline
Some Poor Bibliophile
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2003 8:22 pm
Posts: 15118
Pepsuber wrote:
Gerty wrote:
I thought I'd pick up a sci-fi book from the library but I don't really know which authors are good in this genera. Also what is the best Catholic sci-fi?

Not sure how I missed this thread. I don't know of a lot of explicitly Catholic sci-fi (apart from A Canticle for Leibowitz) that I could recommend (there's one or two books I would caution you against reading).

There are a few things that stand out as favorites:
Foundation by Isaac Asimov (the original "trilogy" only ... later stuff is not as good, tends to be preachy and liberal)
Dune by Frank Herbert (the sequels are mostly pretty bad)
The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (the sequel was disappointing though - don't bother)
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (depressing though)
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein (Heinlein jumped the shark after this one - everything before except for Stranger in a Strange Land is worth a look)
The aforementioned Canticle by Walter Miller
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick (a bit weird though - something like The Man in the High Castle might be more accessible)

Some of these are "hard" sci-fi, others not so much. There is nothing "hard" about Ray Bradbury's work, for example.



THE THREE STIGMATA almost single-handedly caused me to leave the SF field.

Otherwise, I'd agree on this list, though I found DUNE a massive bore. Tastes vary.

GKC

_________________
"I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher."


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic Page 3 of 14   [ 279 posts ]   Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ... 14  Next


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


Jump to: