Good Science Fiction

Good science fiction has no dealings with fairytale magic spells, but is premised on the world as an orderly place. There is mystery, but the universe is not frivolous nor light-fingered in its changeability. If you put a brick on a table it stays there unless something moves it, even if you have forgotten it is there. Poltergeists and sprites don't intervene and hurl it about for reasons of mischief or caprice. Science fiction may tinker with the laws of nature, advisedly and preferably one law at a time, but it cannot abolish lawfulness itself and remain good science fiction. Fictional computers may become consciously malevolent or even, in Douglas Adams's masterly science comedies, paranoid; spaceships may warp-drive themselves to distant galaxies using some postulated future technology, but the decencies of science are essentially maintained. Science allows mystery but not magic, strangeness beyond wild imagining but no spells or witchery, no cheap and easy miracles. Bad science fiction loses its grip on moderated lawfulness and substitutes the 'anything goes' profligacy of magic. The worst of bad science fiction joins hands with the 'paranormal', that other lazy, misbegotten child of the sense of wonder which ought to be motivating true science. The popularity of this kind of pseudo-science at least seems to suggest that the sense of wonder is widespread and heartfelt, however misapplied it may be. Here lies the only consolation I can find in the pre-millennial media obsession with the paranormal; with the immensely successful XFiles and with popular television shows in which routine conjuring tricks are misrepresented as violating natural law.


Folksonomies: science science fiction

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Douglas Adams:Person (0.809268 (positive:0.575834))

Science (0.969478): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Magic (0.647290): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Witchcraft (0.546756): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Psionics (0.542130): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Fiction (0.522866): dbpedia | freebase
Science fiction (0.520836): dbpedia | freebase
Nature (0.516044): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Law (0.481345): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Dawkins, Richard (2000-04-05), Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder, Mariner Books, Retrieved on 2011-09-21
Folksonomies: evolution science