Wed 12 Sep, 2012 05:00 am
What is science fiction. I know it's something different. but it's related to our history..
It's only related to history in the sense that people in the past have written. It's a branch of fiction writing. Current popular science fiction franchises include Star Trek, Star Wars
, but it doesn't need to have a space ship in order to be science fiction. But science fiction was written by HG Wells, who died in 1946, was a sci-fi writer, but you can go back to Gulliver's Travels
and earlier for science fiction/fantasy writing.
It is often used as a vehicle for discussing current social issues, while separating them from current racial and political issues.
Science fiction is the genre of writing which, ostensibly, is based on scientific knokwledge and principles. However, most of it ends up being science fantasy--the stories are not founded in scientific knowledge or principles. So, for example, The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells is not actually science fiction, because there was no reason to believe that there was life on Mars, let alone sentient life, let alone sentient life which would want to invade our planet.
Nevertheless, such writing is usually classed as science fiction. As Roger has pointed out, it is often a vehicle for exploring ideas in a literary environment free from the constraints of the contemporary world. However, it still usually becamoes little more than science fantasy, because it starts with premises for which there is no scientific basis. Many, many science fiction stories, for example, rely on the idea that it would be possible to travel quickly in interstellar space without being subject to speed limit of the speed of light, and also possible to quickly communicate, too. However, the science of which we are relatively certain recognizes the speed of light as an impassiable barrier. I recently found a novel in a yard sale which was the Hugo and Nebula award winner for 1972. It was entitled The Forever War. The central characters were soldiers who fought the war. The war lasted for more than 1200 years, but as the characters were travelling at relativistic speeds (significant fractions of the speed of light), they personally only aged about 20 yeras in that space of time. That was the effect of time dialation. It was refreshing to read a novel which hadn't discarded inconvenient scientific principles just to attempt to make the story interesting.
Under the guise of the gene explosion of space traveling apes over millions of years I'm gotta tell you a story---
'I was sitting in a small room and there was a knock at the door.'
Also Robert Anson Heinlein was one of the best of the genre.