Thursday, January 7, 2010

What Is Your Definition Of Science Fiction?

Robert A. Heinlein, author and critic:
Science fiction is "realistic speculation about possible future events, based solidly on adequate knowledge of the real world, past and present, and on a thorough understanding of the nature and significance of the scientific method" (quoted by Knight in Bishop, Nebula Awards 25, 3).

Theodore Sturgeon, author:
"'A good science-fiction story is a story about human beings, with a human problem, and a human solution, which would not have happened at all without its science content'" (as quoted in Atheling, More Issues, 12).

George Hay
"Science fiction is what you find on the shelves in the library marked science fiction."

(Aforementioned quotes were borrowed from Dr. Agatha Taormina's web page): http://www.nvcc.edu/home/ataormina/beyond/

Which of these quotations aligns with your definition of Science Fiction? Please respond thoughtfully using references to class discussion, prior knowledge, science fiction literature, science fiction films, etc... Type using complete sentences. This blog response is due by 6th hour Friday, January 8th, 2010.

27 comments:

  1. The quote by Theodore Sturgoen was the one that aligned most closely with my interpretation of science fiction becasue it includes both the science and the human side of a "good science-fiction story". I think it is important for a good story to have believeable characters whose situations can be sympathized with by the reader. This defeinition fit better with mine because it mentioned the human aspect as a primary component and then the science as a way to convey the story. I think that science fiction is less interesting if there is no problem that the reader can relate to because it isn't reasonable or it isn't one that readers can sympathize with and picture themselves in the character's shoes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. i agree most with the quote by Theodore Sturgoen because he really seemed to capture what the genre of science fiction is about. What is human and what do we do with something that we don't understand. For example: In the new movie "Avatar" We have destroyed our own world so we go somewhere else to populate and kill anything that is "hostile" but the humans in the movie say that it is hostile because it is something that they don"t understand. Science Fiction is all about what is human and what is inhuman. What is right and wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  3. science fiction... i believe my view on science fiction is best described in the first quote by Robert Heinlien stating that science fiction is a spectulation about the future using prestent day knowledge. from reading the article about the first author of the science fiction genre and his nickel book series, you can clearly see that all of his inventions that he created later became real world things. of course they were heavely modified compared to real life, they still had merit as inventions that could one day be tangible. his inventions were things that were never too outlandish for the time, for example steel was used for most all his inventions because in the time that the books were written steel was the main construction material. if the same writher were alive today he would use plastics, because we are the age of plastics. but bottom line science fiction is when a writer has an idea for a creation that has possibilities for becoming real, but far into the future. and this tangibility gives the ideass merit, credibility and believeability.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I actually disagree most with Mr. Sturgeon. Not all science fiction stories are about humans or even involve humans, although the other characters might be "personified" to act like human beings. I believe that both Heinlein and Hay have valid views of science fiction. Although Hay's view is rather literal, it is still true; Heinlein makes the most sense when he states that science fiction is a "realistic speculation" of the way things could be. I believe that science fiction is the way things could be, might be, or might become, due to some scientific or technological change/advancement.

    ReplyDelete
  5. My interpretation of science fiction fits more with what George Hay said.Science fiction to me relates to non realistic creature and super heros. Or inventions way ahead of our time that could exist in the far away future.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have to say that the first quote by Theodore Sturgeon lines up with ny interpretation with Science Fiction.Because it always begin with a human problem and solution but it couldn't happen at all with out science content.An example would be in the new movie "Avatar" they go to an entirely new planet because they have destroyed their old one, and on the new planet they destroy the new planet to find a rock that sell for twenty million dollars. Science Fiction is all about what is right and about what is wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I disagree with Theodore Sturgeon because that all science fiction stories don’t have to deal with just humans. Have you ever seen District 9 a movie that just recently came out, in my opinion that movie was a good movie. There was no question that this was a Science fiction film but this movie had an alien problem and a solution. But to be fair it also had a human problem and solution. So that quote that Theodore Sturgeon said in my opinion is off but after all it is just an opinion. But I do like the quote that George Hay said.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The last quote both amuses me and aligns with my definitions of science fiction. I believe that whatever the librarian classifies as that genre must, in fact, be a work of that kind. If I were a librarian and I saw the title of a book called, "Outsiders from Mars", why would I put it in the philosophy section? There is not a very fine line between science fiction and other types of novels, movies, stories, etc. It leaves a completely different taste in one's preverbial mouth when read next to Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography and that right there is very clear.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The quote from Theodore Sturgeon most relates to my definition of science fiction because I believe that every science fiction story is composed of the elements he has in his definition. For example in the movie "I am Legend" the human problem is that zombies have taken over planet earth. The Zombies came into existence because a professor tried to create a cure for cancer, which is the science content. At the end a normal human finds the cure to the zombie virus, the human solution. The components of Theodore Sturgeon's definition fall into place like that for almost all science fiction stories.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The quote from Theodore Sturgeon most relates to my definition of science fiction because I think that most science fiction stories are put into the real world with humans, but there aren't just human problems and solutions. For example, in the movie "Avatar" the avatar people lived in a tree that was being destroyed and the humans were attacking the aliens, so they had to fight back for their land, and I thought that was a great movie. So I agree with some of his quote but not all.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I believe that the quote from Robert A. Heinlein aligns best with my definition of Science Fiction. I think that Science Fiction is speculation about what will happen in the future and also guesses at what could happen in the future with the primary goal being on entertaining an audience. I disagree with Theodore Sturgeon in that Science Fiction has to be about humans, it could be about an alien species on a distant planet. Sure the aliens would have to have human-like emotions in order for an audience to connect to the characters but that is true for any piece of literature.

    ReplyDelete
  12. My definition of science fiction is a fictional story about scientific themes or elements. I think the quote by George Hay fit best with my definition of science fiction because science fiction is simple in defintion, but complicated in that it includes a multitude of different science related topics and fantasy-related stories. It is also interesting because even though it is fiction it could one day become a reality like in "Star Trek," they use transmitters to communicate with each other from a distance like we do with cell phones today.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Toutching on what Sturgeon said, regardless of genre, a good story needs the human element. It is the human(or not so human)emotions and situations that cause the reader to identify with the plot; bringing the characters to life.
    However, Heinlin's quote does a good job of explaining that the human situations could not occur without science. Predictions and speculations of future science sets the scene and is often the source of conflict.
    In simple terms, my definition of science fiction is this: fictional science. Scientific achievements that readers can only dream of provide the stage, and commonly the conflict, for a story about humans, written for humans.

    ReplyDelete
  14. posts by kaleidoscope_eyes should be attributed to Leslie H.

    ReplyDelete
  15. My idea of Science Fiction most closely relates to the quote by George Hay because I do not know much about Science Fiction to begin with. I have never really read any novels that would be considered Science Fiction but I have seen several movies. I think that novels that are Science Fiction do relate somehow to humans but there is always a scientific or futuristic twist. I have heard that science novels do relate to people to grab attention but they have some sort of "the impossible" to create appeal.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Robert A. Heinlein's definition of science fiction is most like mine. I feel like science fiction has a lot to do with the future and the unknown, and in order to get to the future, the past is reflected upon. In order to find a better future, the mistakes from the past are ideally supposed to be fixed. The past is a process of trial and error in testing what does and doesn't work in society. Science fiction can sometimes emulate how drastic the changes can sometimes be. For instance, technology takes control over people and turns them into drones. Also, the government can drain society of emotion and comprehension. Ultimately, free will is stolen from people. This theme is dispersed through many novels such as "Anthem" by Ayn Rand, "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury, "The Illustrated Man" by Ray Bradbury, and "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley.

    ReplyDelete
  17. The one by Robert A Heinlein is the one I truly think says what science fiction is. Science fiction is somthing that is very unknown and in the future to me. Like many people have said in order to talk or say things about the future you need to refrence things from the present and past to really understand how a change could occur. One major flim person really changed how science fiction can be viewed and that is George Lucus. His "Star Wars" films has really impacted science fiction. He showed his thought of what the future had in store but in a different way by using the line; "A long time ago in a galaxy far far away..." Although he gave it the aperance that it happened a long timr ago people have been trying to actually find ways that what he showed his flim could actually become relaity in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Only George Hay's quote seems to capture the variety found in Science Fiction. The only constant throughout many stories are that they are often based in the future. "Anthem" takes a creative approach to Science Fiction where far-fetched technology is nowhere to be seen, and it's debatable that "Anthem" would fit the second definition of science taking a central role. As for the first quote, the notion that the scientific method and reasonable speculations take a greater role than creativity in imaginings of the future seem ridiculous when this idea is actually applied to any story within the genre. The main role of science and technology is as a tool to move the plot along, and provide a setting to analyze what the author believes to be constants and unique traits in the nature of humanity.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I think the quote by Robert A Heinlein truly shows what science fiction is to me its mysterious and very futureistic .Yet it relays on past information to set it up. Acouple of films that portray this well are Star Wars by George Lucas and I Am Legend by Francis Lawrence these movies have impacted science fiction greatly and tie into the advances in technology because of science fiction.

    ReplyDelete
  20. My definition of science fiction aligns with Robert A. Heinlein’s definition. Robert emphasizes the importance and enormity of “science” in science fiction. He also states that science fiction is entirely possible with adequate knowledge of the past, present, and nature itself. Theodore Sturgeon says that all science fiction must pertain to humans, but the science fiction film Robots, for example, has no humans at all. George Hay has a very pessimistic view of the idea of science fiction. He simply claims that science fiction books are the ones found in the science fiction section of the library. He’s either a pessimist or he’s just apathetic about science fiction. It’s actually a ridiculously ignorant thing to say. I believe science fiction is a genre that pertains to plausible science-related ideas, but the story is not actually true. My definition clearly aligns best with Heinlein’s definition.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Personnally I have not read that much Science Fiction in my life. Actually come to think of it I cant really remember any Science Fiction books I have ever read. So the definition that most applied to me was George Haye's ,"Science fiction is what you find on the shelves in the library marked science fiction." I have seen Science Fiction movies such as Star Wars Avatar etc. but when it comes to Sci-Fi Novels, I have little to no knowledge aout them. I do hope though, that through this class i hope to gain a greater respect for Sci FI.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I agree with the second quote by Theodore Sturgeon that science fiction is mainly about as the human race in general. I think most of science fiction comes from the obsession of us wanting to create and become a more advanced generation than other previous ones. We like the idea of being able to make things and, through time, make them even better than they ever were. In the movie The Matrix, there is a fictional conspiracy that people are becoming more and more like the machines we create and eventually the machines end up becoming our creators. I think this movie portrays our thinking as a society that we want to create something that we have complete control over. In Star Wars and Star Trek, these movies are about the idea of finding new galaxies and new creatures living in different places. They portray the idea of imperialism which still links to the idea that we as human beings like to be in control. That is why I agree with Sturgeon that science fiction is about us as the human race as a whole, in general.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I think I am most like George Hay because, I currently dont have a clear definition of what science fiction is. I hope that through this class I can obtain a definition of science fiction

    ReplyDelete
  24. The first quote is definitely the closest one to my definition of the science fiction genre. I would say that science fiction deals with real world problems, but there are higher reasonings to everything in the reading that explain everything. In addition to all of that, I think that science fiction has other-worldly components in it also.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I think science fiction is something that could be real, but we just don't know about such as the movie Avatar. There could be a world like "Pandora" that the humans travel to, but we just haven't discovered it yet. Science fiction is also having to do with things that people imagine and decide to share them with others, but they could happen, or be discovered in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I think science fiction is a twisted reality, that could someday become real. But, I also think that some of the stories are warnings for what might happen if we aren't careful with what we decide to do with technology.
    -Morgan H, MWF6

    ReplyDelete