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Old 11-20-2008, 03:56 PM   #31
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Would anyone here second Jack McDevitt? I enjoy his hard SF books, even though they might not be in the same league as some of the writers mentioned so far.
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Old 11-20-2008, 11:51 PM   #32
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I've read one of McDevitt's books, "Omega", and enjoyed it. I'll have to add the name to my huge list now. What have you read of his that you like? Infinity Beach sounds interesting.

And, I would definitely put the authors on the forum up on my list of to be reads - is there anywhere else I can get Gary Gibson's book, "Stealing Light" - other than waterstones?

And, in regards to "Inferior" - the topic wasn't quite my "taste" :-) but the initial chapter drew me in unexpectedly. I look forward to reading it if I can find a copy that is non-kindle.
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Old 11-21-2008, 07:02 AM   #33
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Is there anywhere else I can get Gary Gibson's book, "Stealing Light" - other than waterstones?.
Panmacmillan has it here's the link

Formats available are :

Adobe £6.99
Mobi £6.99

Regards

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Old 11-21-2008, 07:27 AM   #34
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N00b question, but how do you define true hard sci-fi?
....with perhaps science as an integral part of the plot.


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Old 11-21-2008, 07:29 AM   #35
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Dan Simmons' Hyperion series is FABULOUS. I've been reading Sci Fi for over 40 years.
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Old 11-21-2008, 07:34 AM   #36
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Dan Simmons' Hyperion series is FABULOUS. I've been reading Sci Fi for over 40 years.
Me, too.

Then you can remember the splash he made with Song of Kali, which went on to win the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.

I believe (if memory is correct), Hyperion won the Hugo and Nebula awards for Best Novel, as well.

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Old 11-21-2008, 07:50 AM   #37
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N00b question, but how do you define true hard sci-fi?
Hard Science Fiction, as opposed to other kinds (and not to suggest the other kinds are any less worthy of reading) has to, imho meet a couple of criteria.

1. Science has to be somehow integral to the plot. This does not necessarily mean that Hard Science Fiction can only be about the science, but rather the science presented in the story has to be a necessary ingredient to the story (i.e. if you can replace your spaceships with cop cars, air force fighters or ships at sea and the story still essentially makes sense, and those are the Science Fiction elements in your story, then you don't have Hard SF.).

2. The science that is a necessary ingredient to the story has to accurate to the best knowledge of the writer of the story (At the very least a plausible extrapolation of known science). In other words, if you are writing now, you can't have ships simply accelerate past the speed of light, but you could have if you were writing in the 19th century. Now this does not necessarily mean that every piece of science in the story has to be 100% accurate; certain elements like FTL drives tend to be gimmies simply because they allow the characters to get to the spot of the action.

As a general rule, most science fiction is not Hard Science Fiction. Not saying it isn't good, just that it isn't Hard Science Fiction.

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Old 11-21-2008, 07:51 AM   #38
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Dan Simmons' Hyperion series is FABULOUS. I've been reading Sci Fi for over 40 years.
I agree; though like with A Fire Upon the Deep, I don't think it really qualifies as Hard Science Fiction.

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Old 11-21-2008, 08:00 AM   #39
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Gotcha! Thanks Bill & Don
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Old 11-21-2008, 08:09 AM   #40
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I do not like Dan Simmons and Jack McDevitt. Very-very slow paced.
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Old 11-21-2008, 08:14 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by bill_mchale View Post
Hard Science Fiction, as opposed to other kinds (and not to suggest the other kinds are any less worthy of reading) has to, imho meet a couple of criteria.

1. Science has to be somehow integral to the plot.
2. The science that is a necessary ingredient to the story has to accurate to the best knowledge of the writer of the story
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Would you also classify Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park (to take a very known example) as Hard SF (or even SF for that matter?)
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Old 11-21-2008, 09:20 AM   #42
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Would you also classify Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park (to take a very known example) as Hard SF (or even SF for that matter?)
I would say that Jurassic Park is a borderline case. Certainly the science is integral to the plot. The problem is that some of the science is not entirely plausible. I need to slightly amend my criteria from above; the science not only needs to be accurate to the best knowledge of the author, the author needs to have seriously researched the topic to make sure that the science is plausible.

The funny thing is, you can sometimes take bigger leaps when you take the trouble to get the science right. Greg Bear's Darwin's Radio is a good example of this. He took the time to get the background science right before he started working with his speculations. While not a thriller like Jurassic Park, the ideas in it seem more radical.

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Old 11-21-2008, 02:23 PM   #43
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Would anyone here second Jack McDevitt? I enjoy his hard SF books, even though they might not be in the same league as some of the writers mentioned so far.
I highly recommend McDevitt's books. I've read most of them so far, and I've enjoyed them more than most books I've read in the past few years, because he has a unique vision of the future that I appreciate.
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Old 11-21-2008, 02:38 PM   #44
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Hard Science Fiction, as opposed to other kinds (and not to suggest the other kinds are any less worthy of reading) has to, imho meet a couple of criteria...
Personally I don't agree with that definition of "hard" SF. "Hard," as opposed to "soft," SF, is simply SF in which the technology is well-researched, based on current knowledge and accepted theory, and presented in a realistic fashion consistent with that knowledge and theory. For instance, hard SF would generally NOT include faster-than-light drives (Star Trek), since that is still considered effectively impossible given our knowledge of current and possible science and technology. It could include clones (Jurassic Park), but would not include superheroes.

Another good hard SF series would be Nancy Kress' Beggars trilogy: Beggars in Spain; Beggars and Choosers; and Beggars Ride.
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Old 11-22-2008, 07:24 AM   #45
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I'm always amused by the language of debate and find that many of the definitions - as they are explained - amusing, indeed -- amusing in a good, healthy way, and not demeaning to anyone here.

Pehaps we should be thankful for Theodore Sturgeon's definition (paraphrased): "Science Fiction is what you find in the library marked 'Science Fiction'."

I still want to be amused, however, so I'm waiting for more definitions to follow. I'm surprised, though, that no one has shaken this moth-eaten carpet out the window to air: "Science Fiction is just technological Fantasy."


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