Discussion in 'Community' started by Snax Rebo, Feb 5, 2017.
You know it's good when "that individual" bashes it.
I hope you're kidding.
Rendezvous With Rama, Pushing Ice, Protector as mentioned before, All Clarke's Space Odyssey books though 3001 gets fantastical, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, The Expanse, The Quiet War series, Rocket Girls(there's 2) Usurper Of The Sun, most cyberpunk is hard scifi but most of it does not involve space travel--The Autumn Rain Trilogy does mostly as backdrop. This list is far from complete.
What part? That he liked it as a modern classic or that you think it was not hard scifi? It is in fact both.
The modern classic part. I found that movie to be exceptionally bad.
Honestly for me Hebert and Tolkien have always seened very close in terms of strengths. There are obviously big differences in philosophy at play between them yet I think both build very consistent and evocative worlds that extends across every location/situation rather than just a handful of more dramatic ones, indeed I think its often the more subtle locations that have the greatest effect. I would say as well that both do know how to write characters with personality and as you say "wit" which very often isn't the case with ambitous fantasy/sci fi settings.
Personally I'd say that the somewhat lesser known third example of similar work is Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun, its more warped and wilfully obtuse but in terms of world building and characters with personality I think its close to the above two.
I was referring to the novel, but for me the movie is excellent. If I had Blade Runner, Alien, and The Martian as the core of my sci fi oeuvre I'd do such a microphone drop it would leave a large crater.
I'm an uninformed pleb. I had no idea it was a novel first.
Yeah, that young whippersnapper Ridley Scott, he's going places!
So I decided to pick up House Atredies from the library. The Butlerian Jihad is the only one I kinda read so far so I hope can entertain you with my reactions to KJA's writing.
Let me spare you precious moments of your life: they are rubbish.
Really? How do you figure Asimov to not be a "hard" sci writer? I, Robot and the Robot series, Caves of Steel, The Stars,Like Dust, the Gods Themselves, Nemesis, sci-fi classics all.
"Hard" refers to where a story falls on the spectrum of realism. The question is whether, at the time it was written, the story accurately reflects the limitations or challenges of very present/very near-future projections about technology. So, for instance, Gravity is perhaps the closest Hollywood has come to producing a hard science fiction story. The only real competition would be The Martian.
What are things that don't follow this pattern? Comprehensive equations that successfully map of the sociological vicissitudes of humanity, a mule with telepathic powers, a robot that lives for centuries on a secret moon base, hermaphrodites, et cetera. They are all wonderful stories. I love them, and they are classic. But there is nothing "hard" about them.
Oh, I clearly have no idea that the term "hard" sci-fi is a an actual thing. I thought it had the opposite meaning. Carry on.
You thought `hard´ was just ´way out there´?
The Great Dune Trilogy was delivered, and it's huge. 912 pages. Actually really uncomfortable to read. Stupid me for wanting to be cheap...
I just finished Alastair Reynolds' On The Steel Breeze, that was really wonderful, highly recommended.
That's exactly what I thought. I had Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos pegged as the hardest of the hard sci-fi. Good luck with the Dune opus. Try not to sprain a wrist.
Yeah, the parts about cyber-Keats were certainly very hard. Otherwise absolutely fantastic, the whole series.
I know I've been skimming the thread, but how did a thread about massive worms in sand and a fat guy in flying suspenders dovetail into the merits of hard science fiction?
I recognise Asimov, Verne and Snow Crash. Who are the rest of them?
Heinlein wrote Starship Troopers and Stranger in a Strange Land. Niven did Ringworld. The only Stephenson I read was Anthem, and I didn't find it to be very sexy. I've heard Cryptonomicon thrown around as something similar to Gravity's Rainbow (by Thomas Pynchon, the dude the God Moderator of the JC and myself quite grok), but I doubt Stephenson has done enough peyote to write something similar to our main subject, Frank.
I suppose Cryptonomicon could wind up similar to Gravity's Rainbow if your requirements for similarity were "Has some math" and "Has multiple time periods" but otherwise? Nah.
The boundaries between hard and soft sci-fi are pretty much arbitrary. I classify sci-fi based on how similar they feel to other novels I've loved. So:
Hard sci-fi: similar to Solaris, Rendezvous with Rama, The Forever War, or Tau Zero.
Soft sci-fi: similar to Dune, The Martian Chronicles, The Left Hand of Darkness, or Babel-1
Hey, works for me.
I prefer Lynch's film to the bloated miniseries. William Hurt is badly miscast as Duke Leto. It's like, he OD'd on Ambien while filming. Lynch's version (at least, the extended Alan Smithee version that I saw) is still one of the best looking sci fi films of the early 80's.
It's ****ing insane, but I expect that from Lynch.
Those are great paintings.
Hard SF is speculative fiction with a reliance on solid/justifiably plausible scientific/engineering principles (as opposed to stuff that uses exotic sciencey themes and jargon/bafflegab, e.g. 'engage the supersonic wave oscillator,' 'reverse the polarity of the neutron flow,' or, 'it's the ship that made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs'). Physics, maths, biology, chemistry and everything else has to behave. Any imaginary conceit (eg. FTL drive, time machine, teleporter, etc) has to at least work in principle, and any associated engineering problems must be reasonably accounted for. Arthur C. Clarke was the king of Hard style imo, practically any scifi of his qualifies (early Dan Dare comic strips maybe not so much). The Space Odyssey stuff is essential, and his co-authored later work the Time Odyssey is well worth a look. He would be the first to state which principles or theories he took liberties with, too. Same with Asimov. Grab a copy of a compilation of his robot stories, such as The Complete Robot.
If you can find a cheap copy, Frank Hoyle's The Black Cloud is probably the archetypal first contact story in a purist Hard style. A very influential book by a very esteemed scientist of his day, and peppered with algebra and equations (which you are free to skip without ruining the narrative if that feature puts you off).
I would definitely say Andy Weir's The Martian qualifies as Hard, btw. The only silly conceit Weir made was to have a sandstorm capable of knocking over the MAV. His ion drive might be a bit OP, but the speeds the ships were travelling at were not unreasonable. He underestimated the water content of Martian soil (but wasn't to know at the time), and maybe the potatoes were a convenient conceit, but he made a concerted effort to make everything consistent with reality. Maybe I missed a load of obvious stuff but I've seen/heard/read a few Weir interviews and the guy definitely did his research.
Really not sure about Starship Troopers... It's a hard read, but it's more rocket-pants and exotic aliens kind of territory. The training/brainwashing segment (most of the book IIRC) is probably a realistic portray of marine life with a dystopian scifi slant, but I'm not sure that it qualifies as Hard. I can't remember it relying on any particularly well described scientific principle.
Steampunk stuff is right out, imo. If a steam powered space rocket/giant-spider-warrior-robot can't work in principle (without relying on unobtanium powered antigravity or magic spell) then your steam powered rocket story ain't the Hard stuff.
Anyway, Dune, back on topic...
I just watched Arrival directed by this Villeneuve chap. Initial thoughts were how similar it is to Doctor Who... It's a slow burn with some cliches thrown in for Hollywood studio peace of mind, but the payoff was worth it. I can see why he's a strong candidate to direct Dune now. The way time and internal thoughts were dealt with in Arrival would really suit Dune. Flashforwards, flashbacks, different realities and outcomes converging. This is exactly the kind of film language that the Lynch film needed instead of those lingering shots and thought bubble voiceovers.