Science in Fiction …and vice-versa


Being a real fan of Science Fiction requires a flexible imagination, and have an open mind that is capable of accepting for consideration any concept at all.  Its OK to have compartments, or niches, or organizational charts in which these concepts reside—such as:  Possible, Improbable, Unlikely, Impossible But Intriguing, Far-Fetched, Ridiculous, and Boring.

In the first place, anything can apply to classification of Science Fiction.  The “Science” part places restrictions on the subject matter in that purists will want divisions into Real Science…topics that are accepted by almost everybody.  For instance, here is a true scientific fact:  “when we look up into the sky we see  specks of what looks like sparkly things reflecting (or generating) light.”

On the other hand Science Fiction fans might propose that there are, up in the sky, great big diamonds twinkling and shining back at us.  These are very valuable heavenly bodies…which in fact actually may BE what they appear to be…great figurative strings of white holiday lights decorating the vast wilderness of Space for our enlightenment/entertainment/delight/wonder.    The operative word here is “Fiction,” meaning “probably untrue.”

But there we are faced with the dilemma of What is True?   What is Fiction?  In the case of True Facts/Real Science, and other specific terms, the questions appear to be “What are those sparkly things in the Sky?”   The True Science people mumble  all sorts of conjecture about light waves, substance compositions, Albert Einstein, and the magnitude of stars in strength, composition, distance, reflective properties… and prevalent theory.

The Science Fiction adherent— writer, reader, believer—on the other hand, is not handicapped by any “body of theoretical evidence,” itself an oxymoron.  In a given work of fiction, novel or story, the writer comes up with a premise—not a theory, its made up of whole cloth, rather than a restrictive set of rules.

Before I back myself into a corner here, being as how I am NOT a Scientist, let me just say that if a new novel comes out entitled Real Diamonds in the Sky, and the plot of the novel revolves around the discovery that Stars really ARE diamonds…leading to a huge competition among the human race to begin harvesting them.    Which of course immediately renders the diamond/stars worthless.

To paraphrase the standard remark  kids used to say when they gave a book report in class… “if we want to read this novel…or one like it…someone is going to have to write it!”       Unless, of course, Steven Hawking publishes a NON-Fiction best seller with the same title.


6 thoughts on “Science in Fiction …and vice-versa

  1. Haha!! Wonderful post. I am too a Science Fiction admirer and I support you wholly.I think Science fictions are the reason that make science lively.I recall, most of the scientists had rich sense of seeing wonders in the ordinary. Einstein himself said- “Imagination is more powerful than knowlege” Newton used to perform “thought experiments” implying his imagination powers.I also recall how HG Well’s “Time Machine”had intrigued our thinking and hinted at the possibility of a time machine- a subject still being pursued by scientists. Imagination and wonder is the starting point of great discoveries, and they exist unabridged in science fictions! 🙂


    1. great comment! thanks! I think the key to the whole thing is the importance of keeping an open mind—“never say never” no matter how preposterous or unlikely something seems…Remember Alice, in Wonderland, who believed in a [lot] of impossible things before breakfast?

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