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Old 11-25-2017, 01:10 PM   #46
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I didn't say he put it into complex scientific terms. He used analogy like the idea that the net is not unlike the road system. And if the universe is connected to itself then you have the situation where two particles can be light years apart and what happens to one will have an effect on the other because they are connected at the quantum level. In theory I gather you could transmit a message across light years in the blink of an eye because somehow time doesn't factor into things. He also used the theory of the Alcubierre drive in his two novels.
That depends on your choice of QM interpretations. I did my own experiments, once Scientific American provided the method of building quantum erasers as DIY devices. The waveform did not collapse across the "universe". (Actually a large desktop.)
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Old 11-25-2017, 02:47 PM   #47
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The researcher's blog post triggered poor reading in me. My eyes glazed over and my mind wandered. I think he was saying that if people thought they were reading something "genre," science fiction in their test, then they didn't try as hard as if they thought they were reading so-called literary fiction. Kind of fits expectations, doesn't it? I hope they do more studies with different comparisons. It might show something unexpected. We can hope, anyway.

We can also hope he gets someone else to write it up. Someone who uses fewer words and less jargon would be good.
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Old 11-26-2017, 12:28 AM   #48
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The researcher's blog post triggered poor reading in me. My eyes glazed over and my mind wandered. I think he was saying that if people thought they were reading something "genre," science fiction in their test, then they didn't try as hard as if they thought they were reading so-called literary fiction. Kind of fits expectations, doesn't it? I hope they do more studies with different comparisons. It might show something unexpected. We can hope, anyway.

We can also hope he gets someone else to write it up. Someone who uses fewer words and less jargon would be good.
The study was scientific and so has to meet certain rigorous standards. The language used to describe it becomes specialized for that reason. It's usually the job of science journalists to translate for the layman, but unfortunately sensationalist writing is trumping accuracy in that field as drawing more eyeballs becomes a priority.

There was an unexpected conclusion from the study. It was hypothesized that people reading SF would put more effort into world building in their minds since it's usually quite different from what we're used to, but surprisingly that wasn't generally the case. My guess is that most people read SF for fun, and when they read SF-specific details, they are absorbed more for setting the mood rather than scrutinized for important information.
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Old 11-26-2017, 01:39 AM   #49
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The study was scientific and so has to meet certain rigorous standards. The language used to describe it becomes specialized for that reason. It's usually the job of science journalists to translate for the layman, but unfortunately sensationalist writing is trumping accuracy in that field as drawing more eyeballs becomes a priority.

There was an unexpected conclusion from the study. It was hypothesized that people reading SF would put more effort into world building in their minds since it's usually quite different from what we're used to, but surprisingly that wasn't generally the case. My guess is that most people read SF for fun, and when they read SF-specific details, they are absorbed more for setting the mood rather than scrutinized for important information.
I would have to disagree with you. If the purpose of the study was to test if there was any differences between reading "narrative realism" and "science fiction", more of an effort not to introduce extraneous influences would have been made. So please don't trumpet that it has to meet rigorous standards. The differences between the written items which, IMNSHO, introduces irrelevant variables makes any such statement risible. Remembering some of my old university courses, to quote one professor's favourite phrase "any conclusions drawn from your study would be highly suspect".

Are we going to pretend that terms such as corporal and ensign (and nevermind what the expletive deleted is the lowest rank of commissioned officer—also referred to as an officer and a gentleman or an larval officer depending on your prejudices—I've left out other less complementary terms such as 90-day wonders—is doing waiting on tables in a restaurant serving enlisted personnel) are in common use in science fiction other than stories set in military or military-style settings? Letter to the editor vs. message to Command? Mrs. Moyer consistently through the text vs. Engineer Grady in the first paragraph and Grady with no honorific after that? I did find that the description of using a stylus to handwrite his letter to the editor humourous. Are there no keyboards real or touch in that future?

Personally, when I read science fiction, I pay attention to the details of the world building. Oddly, most of my favoured authors have done the same. I look at the effort Hal Clement put into such an unlikely worlds as Mesklin or Iceworld as examples. Calling that patische science fiction could only be done by someone who read little science fiction and didn't much like what he/she read.

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Old 11-26-2017, 02:13 AM   #50
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I would have to disagree with you. If the purpose of the study was to test if there was any differences between the "narrative realism" and "science fiction", more of an effort not to introduce extraneous influences would have been made. Or are we going to pretend that terms such as corporal and ensign (and nevermind what the bleep is the lowest rank of commissioned officer (also referred to as an officer and a gentleman or an larval officer) is doing waiting on tables in a restaurant) are commonly used outside or military or military style organizations? Letter to the editor vs. message to Command? Mrs. Moyer consistently through the text vs. Engineer Grady in the first paragraph and Grady with no honorific after that? I did find that the description of using a stylus to handwrite his letter humourous. Are there no keyboards real or touch in that future?

Personally, when I read science fiction, I pay attention to the details of the world building. Oddly, most of my favoured authors have done the same. I look at the effort Hal Clement put into such an unlikely worlds as Mesklin or Iceworld as examples. Calling that patische science fiction could only be done by someone who read little science fiction and didn't much like what he/she read.
When doing scientific research, you try to isolate what you're studying as much as possible to make the conclusions more definitive. Making the two passages as similar as possible except for the marker words is an attempt to do that. It may not produce prose that would make a best seller, but it is valid in terms of the research. There is some difference there to consider. It may not apply to iconic SF novels as read by ardent fans, but there is something going on there that needs to be analyzed.
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Old 11-26-2017, 08:35 AM   #51
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There was an unexpected conclusion from the study. It was hypothesized that people reading SF would put more effort into world building in their minds since it's usually quite different from what we're used to, but surprisingly that wasn't generally the case. My guess is that most people read SF for fun, and when they read SF-specific details, they are absorbed more for setting the mood rather than scrutinized for important information.
I'm quite matey with one of my nephews about audiobooks and we generally swap tips and tricks at holiday gatherings. He's an avid SF reader (I love him, but he's not perfect) and he was telling me on Thursday how he bumps up his SF listens to 2.0X speed, so he can get through the world building quickly.

The discussion has moved on and I'm not referencing the quoted post, but even from my side of the aisle I think that both sides should temper their more judgmental terms about the other. I'm always rather surprised that some think that those who read litfic or nonfiction aren't reading for fun. Fun is where you find it.
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Old 11-26-2017, 10:23 AM   #52
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Lordy. A bit late to chime in here I know. I love reading reading science fiction, but the science fiction version of the study was unreadable. Just changing a few marker words doesn't make a story science fiction. In this case, it made a badly written story worse. I could make it through the first version okay, because I could identify with the setting with little effort. The SF version was harder because of the ridiculous attempts to make the story SF. I'd like to see what the results would have been if they had used a better written narrative.
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Old 11-26-2017, 10:55 AM   #53
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but even from my side of the aisle I think that both sides should temper their more judgmental terms about the other. I'm always rather surprised that some think that those who read litfic or nonfiction aren't reading for fun. Fun is where you find it.
Agreed. And along the line of "reading for fun", and without (hopefully) rambling on too long (a failure, I believe); I was asked what seemed like a fairly innocent question over the holiday that I think I answered too quickly.

"You enjoy reading for reading's sake, don't you?"

I immediately went with my gut and replied, "yes." He said that he did not. But after further contemplation, I realized that wasn't true at all (neither my answer nor his). Enjoying "reading for reading's sake" would imply that I would still take enjoyment from reading something that I find extremely offensive; or something that I find boring, uninteresting, or even something horribly written; or that I get enjoyment from moving my eyes across any text I might encounter. I don't. I "enjoy" reading things I find enjoyable (which merely encompasses "fun" for me. It's not defined by it), fulfilling and/or enlightening.

As does everyone who is reading something entirely voluntarily, I think (not that assigned reading can't be enjoyable too, but that's a different topic). The person who asked the question, for instance, primarily reads (or listens to) non-fiction. He knows that I primarily read fiction. The point is that both of us read on an entirely voluntary basis. No assigned reading for classes, certification, or work for either of us. We're reading things we both want to read.

So I've discovered that whenever someone seeks to question/denigrate another's voluntary reading preferences—or seek to zealously defend their own—(whether it's fiction vs non-, or litfic vs genre), it's because they're striving to make their preferences seem less frivolous, or striving to make someone else's seem more so. But the fact of the matter is: all voluntary reading is entirely frivolous. Only the personal definitions of "fun" and "enjoyment" fluctuate. **

So what my family member should have asked me was, "you enjoy reading what you enjoy, don't you?" To which my response should have been, "Of course I do. So do you."

As to the topic and the study, the only wrench I would throw into the works is that litfic has a penchant for cherry-picking the "best" genre works for inclusion in its own ranks. Which suggests to me that even though word-selection may play a part in how "seriously" a work is read, the label the work is ultimately given will play a big part as well. If we're told there's subtext or social commentary to glean from something, those who find that sort of thing interesting will look for it—regardless of the category/label or word-choice.


** I realize there is a small sampling of voluntary readers who "enjoy" torturing themselves with works that run entirely counter to their own nature/proclivities, but that doesn't really change my premise. It just proves that personal interpretations of "enjoyment" can vary wildly. Some people "enjoy" being miserable, too.

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Old 11-26-2017, 01:42 PM   #54
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When I complained of the study author's poor writing, I was referring to his blog post. 'Way too many words, and he was too much in love with them.

As far as the study, I wish they had put a little more effort into the sample stories. Simply inserting militaristic and technological components in place of civilian and ordinary ones was lazy. Maybe if they had done the so-called SF one first, then modified it. Better yet, they could have used a different genre that required more careful alterations. (mystery, romance, intrigue, etc) I think their slapdash preparation makes their results less reliable.
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Old 11-26-2017, 02:54 PM   #55
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When doing scientific research, you try to isolate what you're studying as much as possible to make the conclusions more definitive. Making the two passages as similar as possible except for the marker words is an attempt to do that. It may not produce prose that would make a best seller, but it is valid in terms of the research. There is some difference there to consider. It may not apply to iconic SF novels as read by ardent fans, but there is something going on there that needs to be analyzed.
The problem, for me, is that there were both SF (using the word very loosely) and military references used in the "SF" text. Two variables instead of one. Adding extraneous variables makes any study pretty much useless for it's intended purpose. As you said, "isolate what you're studying" which was not done. The alternative is to state that the average reader is unable to distinguish between the two which is itself a absurd statement.
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Old 11-26-2017, 04:11 PM   #56
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The study was scientific and so has to meet certain rigorous standards. The language used to describe it becomes specialized for that reason. It's usually the job of science journalists to translate for the layman, but unfortunately sensationalist writing is trumping accuracy in that field as drawing more eyeballs becomes a priority.

There was an unexpected conclusion from the study. It was hypothesized that people reading SF would put more effort into world building in their minds since it's usually quite different from what we're used to, but surprisingly that wasn't generally the case. My guess is that most people read SF for fun, and when they read SF-specific details, they are absorbed more for setting the mood rather than scrutinized for important information.
Sorry, just because someone does a study doesn't make it scientific. One of the major issues in science today is the shoddy work of so called "peer reviewed" studies. Some studies have even been caught making up data to support their conclusion. For this to be a scientific study, the authors would have need to do something like measure the brain activity rather than take surveys. That's not science, it's social studies.
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Old 11-26-2017, 05:26 PM   #57
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Sorry, just because someone does a study doesn't make it scientific. One of the major issues in science today is the shoddy work of so called "peer reviewed" studies. Some studies have even been caught making up data to support their conclusion. For this to be a scientific study, the authors would have need to do something like measure the brain activity rather than take surveys. That's not science, it's social studies.
Okay, but that's a whole other topic which applies to all social studies research, and not just this paper.
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Old 11-26-2017, 06:36 PM   #58
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The study was scientific and so has to meet certain rigorous standards. The language used to describe it becomes specialized for that reason. ...
I'm sorry but there's nothing "scientific" in writing something like "... [it] appears to predispose readers to a less effortful and comprehending mode of reading – or what we might term non-literary reading – regardless of the actual intrinsic difficulty of the text." That's just lazy and timid writing. College students and professors need to learn to actually say what they're trying to say instead of being timid with language. They write "We might term non-literary reading." Well, do you or don't you? I think what this writer is trying to say, in his mealy-mouthed, not quite getting to the point way, is that "SF readers are lazy and don't try to understand the difficult concepts in SF novels."

Another G.K. Chesterton quote from Orthodoxy ...

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It is a good exercise to try for once in a way to express any opinion one holds in words of one syllable. If you say "The social utility of the indeterminate sentence is recognized by all criminologists as a part of our sociological evolution towards a more humane and scientific view of punishment," you can go on talking like that for hours with hardly a movement of the gray matter inside your skull. But if you begin "I wish Jones to go to gaol [jail] and Brown to say when Jones shall come out," you will discover, with a thrill of horror, that you are obliged to think. The long words are not the hard words, it is the short words that are hard. There is much more metaphysical subtlety in the word "damn" than in the word "degeneration."

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Old 11-26-2017, 07:53 PM   #59
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I thought that the mealy mouthed author was trying to say in his blogpost that his study showed that ordinary readers (or at least undergrads roped into another silly study) read science fiction less carefully then 'literary' fiction which proves that ordinary readers are prejudiced against science fiction.

Given the radically different interpretations I think we can agree that he needs to write more clearly.
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Old 11-27-2017, 10:21 PM   #60
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I remember when I was in a college English lit class, we read a short story about a woman walking through a garden. I'm not going to remember any details here - it was too long ago. But I remember that I read the story at face value. It was a pretty story abut a garden. When it came time for the class to discuss the story, the professor told us the story was about a woman's sexual awakening, cloaked in metaphor or allegory. (Everything he assigned for reading ended up being about sex one way or another - so I left the class thinking the guy was a bit of a pervert, to be honest.)

But I can see a bunch of college kids reading a simple-seeming story labeled as "literary fiction" about a waitress and looking for the symbolism or metaphor or something "more" than "just a story about a waitress". Give them the same basic story but call it science fiction, and they probably figure "Whew, I can just enjoy the story and not have to work so hard!"

I also agree with others here that have said part of the problem could be what they saw as the type of story (military SF). I like some science fiction, but military SF is not usually high on my favorites list.
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