Originally Posted by Steve Jordan
So I tend to draw the Hard SF line where theory runs headlong into the wall of reasonable practicality and shatters like an Fabergé egg... whereas in Soft SF you just assume the egg impossibly survived anyway, for the purpose of moving the story along. Again, there's nothing wrong with that, it is a staple of all kinds of fiction, not just SF... and if the reader is willing to accept that the egg survived, in order to enjoy the story, that's great.
Was flying from Paris to NYC in several hours reasonable practicality 100 years ago??
This definition of hard sf is more like mundane sf with emphasis on hard science maybe, rather than let us be "relevant to larger societal issues" that the mundanists proclaim when they tank in the market, and spells boring with capital B most of of the time.
Restricting hard sf to "reasonable practicality" dooms it to irrelevance and a sell by date reached quite soon. Near-future thrillers are at least more exciting, while popular science books are more educative...
To me hard sf is more about a way of writing, a philosophy if you want, that says that there are physical laws in the universe that *are* there and we cannot go around with acts of will, power of love, positive thinking or whatnot, deus-ex-machinas and such, but we may engineer solutions to them.