The distinction between “hard science fiction” and “soft science fiction” means many different things to different people—but that doesn’t prevent people from turning it into a status game. Which science fiction has the most real science, or the most serious scientific discussions? Depends whom you ask.
It’s actually impossible to sum up the huge contribution to genre publishing of David G. Hartwell, who died today according to Locus. He discovered countless great authors and industry professionals, and he edited Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune and Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun. Hartwell is simply irreplaceable.
Science fiction is the literature of discovery — and there are tons of great ways to come up with stories worth telling. But a lot of the most compelling stories are based on actual cutting-edge science. But how do you turn real science into science fiction? To find out, we asked hard SF writers and scientists.
Over at Locus, there are some great excerpts from their interview with Stanley Schmidt, who recently ended his record stint as editor of Analog, the hard science fiction magazine. Most notably, Schmidt explains why he sometimes gets tired of the phrase "hard science fiction":
Stanley Schmidt has been synonymous with hard science fiction in the magazine world for the past 34 years that he's been the editor of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, but now he's moving on. The magazine's new editor will be Trevor Quachri, the current managing editor.
Can't wait to read China Miéville's first foray into hard space opera? Neither can we. So we're thrilled that the first chapter is already available for free online, at Pan MacMillan UK's site.
Alastair Reynolds has a PhD in astronomy and has a background in space science — but the Terminal World author doesn't like to use the term "hard science fiction" to describe his work. Talking to Locus Magazine, he explains:
Is Lois McMaster Bujold really a hard science-fiction author? Her work doesn't appear, at first glance, to revolve around scientific concepts. But, suggests one blogger, that's just because she's rather more subtle about writing about hard science than some authors.
If cleanliness is next to godliness, then I can't help but think God must like 1980's Hugo-winning novel, The Fountains of Paradise, by Arthur C. Clarke — even if it's all about getting in His face.
James P. Hogan, author of Inherit The Stars and 30 other hard science fiction novels, passed away yesterday. He talked in a 2004 interview about how 2001: A Space Odyssey made him a science fiction author... because it frustrated him.
Pyr's Lou Anders breaks it down for you in an awesome new interview over at Redstone Science Fiction. Will "sword and planet" novels make a comeback? Why is steampunk eating hard SF's lunch? What's science fiction's answer to Harry Potter?
In science fiction, people often confuse narrative realism with "hard," or scientifically-accurate, storytelling. But in fact, hard science fiction is one of the most unrealistic subgenres of SF.
Click to viewWhy do so many books labeled "hard science fiction" actually contain technology that works pretty much like magic in a fantasy novel? Hard science fiction is supposed to be the branch of SF that's rigorously scientific, and doesn't gloss over difficult problems like faster-than-light travel. Larry Niven's…
I've always thought the term "hard science fiction" referred to stories or novels where the science was important to the story, and which strove for absolute scientific and technical accuracy. But now it turns out I was wrong, and actually "hard SF" refers to stories about personal growth, along the lines of the…
Mike Brotherton, author of the novel Spider Star released last month from Tor, proudly calls himself a hard science fiction writer. And now he's sharing the secret of his hardness with you. Brotherton just posted a really interesting, provocative list of general-audience books about space and astrobiology that he…