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All These Worlds Are Yours – The Appeal of Science Fiction

I’ve been fascinated by science fiction for as long as I can remember, though I have to admit I never thought of science fiction as mainstream literature. I, like many readers, have been looking for science fiction as a way to escape, a way to stay side-by-side with speculation about recent scientific discoveries, or simply a way to pass the time.

Just before I met with my thesis advisor to celebrate the approval of my journal, I had to think about science fiction from a new perspective. My consultant works for a large and well-known literary institution that is considered “fundamental” to his tastes. When he asked me if I liked science fiction, and if I wanted to pick about a hundred stories for possible inclusion in an anthology they were considering producing, I was a little surprised. When he told me it could lead to a paycheck, I was even more amazed. I returned home that afternoon very pleased: my work had been approved and I could get paid work by choosing science fiction among all things.

Then it hit me: I had to seriously think about some way to choose from the thousands of science fiction stories written in the last century. When I thought that establishment ideals should be reflected in the stories I chose, something close to panic happened: science fiction was not part of Cannon.

Weak and exhausted, I thought, about the many strange and interesting books of the forgotten tradition, ‘I made a decision: first I would try to find out what science fiction is and then develop a set of topics that relate to the core of science fiction. So, armed with this battle plan, I started reading what a lot of famous authors said about science fiction. It seemed pretty straightforward until I discovered that no two authors think science fiction means exactly the same thing. Oh great, I think, “No more” (Sorry Edgar, I couldn’t resist).

 

So you may be wondering: What is the difference between “hard” and “soft” science fiction? I’m glad you asked, otherwise I would have to stop writing now. “Difficult” science fiction is about understanding quantitative sciences, such as astronomy, physics, chemistry, and so on. “Soft” science fiction is often associated with the human or social sciences, such as sociology, psychology, or economics. Of course, some writers incorporate “hard” and “soft” science fiction into their work, as Asimov did in the Inception trilogy.

So by choosing the authors, you were ready to move on to the next challenge, which you can read about in the next part of the series. “All these worlds are yours”: science fiction, gravity, the second part

What, three thousand pages, and you still don’t know how to start? How can this be? Well, I’m exaggerating a bit. I’m starting to group stories around general topics; It helps me when I organize things into groups so that I can apply some sort of selection criteria to data points that seem irrelevant (who says thirty years of business is not rewarded)? Gradually, I began to group stories into several broad rubrics: scientific discoveries, scientific discoveries. life forms (which include aliens, artificial life, and artificial life); the search for meaning (which includes the search for God or gods); the death of a group of men.

Again, I’m glad you asked because it’s a perfect introduction to the next part of the series. “All these worlds are yours”: science fiction, gravity, the third part

I think the main difference between science fiction and the more accepted or “common” kind of fiction has to be from the themes used or the theme. In the second part of this series, I mentioned that the themes used by science fiction, namely: search for life, identity, deities, and customs are similar to those used in “canonical” literature. By subtraction, this leaves the subject as the main difference between the two types.

So thematically we have to refer to science because we’ve already tackled fiction (“When you’ve removed the impossibility, all that remains, though unlikely, must be the truth,” as Sherlock Holmes said). We must therefore conclude that science is the factor that distinguishes science fiction from conventional fiction. According to this definition, many traditional works of fiction are to be considered science fiction.

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