Yet Another Graphomaniacs Compendium
Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hard Science Fiction

I've been brought short by a rather interesting interview with Stanley Schmidt in Locus in which he posits a definition of Hard SF that made me pause: What I mean by ‘hard science fiction’ is actually pretty simple: there’s some element of speculative science or technology in it, which is so integral to the story that you can’t take it out without making the whole story collapse. Which is a much more generous definition than I am used to: it makes Flowers for Algernon hard SF. I fall into the trap of assuming that "Hard" means worked out in nitty-gritty detail and scoring high for plausibility, having no obvious scientific implausibilites, like FTL. This probably makes Arthur Clarke the hardest SF writer of all as this is exactly what he specialised in: but it also means that, say Cordwainer Smith could just about squeak under the bar in places.

Which is encouraging. I love Smith's fabulatory style and it's spawned at least one imitator in Michael Coney and his Celestial Steam Locomotive. I find myself wondering it it's possible to combine some hardcore space opera and Smith's style. Although we live in far to cynical an age to get away with it, I suspect. Still, might be interesting to try, and NanoWriMo is coming up..

posted by John Connors at
Saturday, October 20, 2012

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A miscellany of topics that intersest me: deaf culture, game design, politics as soap opera, the cyborg condition and the experience of learning to hear again. Other topics presented are speculative fiction and imaginary cities. There are appearences of snippets of work in progress, public rants, pointless posts and Mish the Mouse.




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