Read This Before the Next Time You Get Sucked into the 'Hard Science Fiction' Debate

Illustration for article titled Read This Before the Next Time You Get Sucked into the 'Hard Science Fiction' Debate

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.

Advertisement

Over in Tor.com, a bunch of authors weigh in on the “hard vs. soft” debate, and it’s illuminating. I particularly like the responses from Max Gladstone, Ellen Klages and Michael Swanwick. You should definitely read this before your next argument over what science fiction qualifies as “hard.”

Top image: Larry Niven’s Ringworld.


Charlie Jane Anders is the author of All The Birds in the Sky, coming Jan 26 from Tor Books. Follow her on Twitter, and email her.

DISCUSSION

commonperson
commonperson

I hate the entire classist tone the “hard” vs. “soft” argument takes. It’s like Star Wars vs. Star Trek. People need to just let people enjoy what they enjoy and not lecture others on how good or bad it is. It just reminds me of how much it feels like geek/nerd culture attacks its own.