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.


Anne finds her career …

When Anne was a girl, she always wanted to be
a dancer.  To wear flowing gowns and satiny slippers
and be guided as a sylph, lifting in twirls and leaping high,
up in the air with skirts twirling and shoes barely touching the floor,
and feeling the thrill of the collective sigh……………..from the audience.
But as fate would have it, her two left feet, and her lack of graceful
moves — more like those of a duck than a lovely swan, or
even a goose–combined with her brother’s snickers
she stepped on her skirt instead of her shoes
and tripped over her partner’s feet.

So then, when she saw that a new goal was needed
Anne decided that she wanted to be, when she grew older,
a doctor.  To have a white coat, a stethoscope  and thermometer
and peer into ears and down throats of her patients…to quickly discover
what ailed them…and find a cure, and all of the people would just be
astounded when Little Anne became a Doctor!   A wonderful plan!
It would be  a good position, pay plenty of money, and mean
great prestige…and besides, the town needed a Doctor.
It might have been the perfect profession, except…
she fainted dead away at the first drop of blood.

Not to be derailed on her track to gainful employment
Anne thought long and hard to find just the right profession
that would serve both her ambitions and her need for recognition.
“One thing that I can do well,”said Anne, “without  tripping over any feet
while dancing…or to lose my wits and panic when anyone bleeds…
The perfect job for me (why didn’t I think of it sooner?) is to get
pen and paper, and a computer — and spend my life Writing!”
So she wrote and she wrote, books and poems, and tales
about dancers and doctors, and all kinds of things.