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Jupiter 3 Science Fiction Books
Jupiter 3 Science Fiction Books
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Science Fiction Books, Classics to new releases.
Science fiction (abbreviated SF or sci-fi with varying punctuation and capitalization) is a broad genre of fiction that often involves speculations based on current or future science or technology. Science fiction is found in books, art, television, films, games, theatre, and other media. In organizational or marketing contexts, science fiction can be synonymous with the broader definition of speculative fiction, encompassing creative works incorporating imaginative elements not found in contemporary reality; this includes fantasy, horror, and related genres.
Science fiction differs from fantasy in that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely possible within scientifically established or scientifically postulated laws of nature (though some elements in a story might still be pure imaginative speculation). Exploring the consequences of such differences is the traditional purpose of science fiction, making it a "literature of ideas".Science fiction is largely based on writing entertainingly and rationally about alternate possibilities in settings that are contrary to known reality.
These may include:
* A setting in the future, in alternative time lines, or in a historical past that contradicts known facts of history or the archeological record
Science fiction is difficult to define, as it includes a wide range of subgenres and themes. Author and editor Damon Knight summed up the difficulty by stating that "science fiction is what we point to when we say it"., a definition echoed by author Mark C. Glassy, who argues that the definition of science fiction is like the definition of pornography; you don't know what it is, but you know it when you see it.Vladimir Nabokov argued that if were we rigorous with our definitions, Shakespeare's play The Tempest would have to be termed science fiction.
According to science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein, "a handy short definition of almost all science fiction might read: 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."Rod Serling's definition is "fantasy is the impossible made probable. Science Fiction is the improbable made possible."Lester Del Rey wrote, "Even the devoted aficionado– or fan- has a hard time trying to explain what science fiction is", and that the reason for there not being a "full satisfactory definition" is that "there are no easily delineated limits to science fiction."
Forrest J. Ackerman publicly used the term "sci-fi" at UCLA in 1954, though Robert A. Heinlein had used it in private correspondence six years earlier. As science fiction entered popular culture, writers and fans active in the field came to associate the term with low-budget, low-tech "B-movies" and with low-quality pulp science fiction. By the 1970s, critics within the field such as Terry Carr and Damon Knight were using "sci-fi" to distinguish hack-work from serious science fiction, and around 1978, Susan Wood and others introduced the pronunciation "skiffy." Peter Nicholls writes that "SF" (or "sf") is "the preferred abbreviation within the community of sf writers and readers." David Langford's monthly fanzine Ansible includes a regular section "As Others See Us" which offers numerous examples of "sci-fi" being used in a pejorative sense by people outside the genre.
As a means of understanding the world through speculation and storytelling, science fiction has antecedents back to mythology, though precursors to science fiction as literature began to emerge from the 13th century (Ibn al-Nafis, Theologus Autodidactus) to the 17th century (the real Cyrano de Bergerac with "Voyage de la Terre à la Lune" and "Des états de la Lune et du Soleil") and the Age of Reason with the development of science itself, Voltaire's "Micromégas" was one of the first, together with Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels. Following the 18th century development of the novel as a literary form, in the early 19th century, Mary Shelley's books Frankenstein and The Last Man helped define the form of the science fiction novel; later Edgar Allan Poe wrote a story about a flight to the moon. More examples appeared throughout the 19th century. Then with the dawn of new technologies such as electricity, the telegraph, and new forms of powered transportation, writers like Jules Verne and H. G. Wells created a body of work that became popular across broad cross-sections of society.In the late 19th century the term "scientific romance" was used in Britain to describe much of this fiction. This produced additional offshoots, such as the 1884 novella Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott Abbott. The term would continue to be used into the early 20th century for writers such as Olaf Stapledon.
In the early 20th century, pulp magazines helped develop a new generation of mainly American SF writers, influenced by Hugo Gernsback, the founder of Amazing Stories magazine. In the late 1930s, John W. Campbell became editor of Astounding Science Fiction, and a critical mass of new writers emerged in New York City in a group called the Futurians, including Isaac Asimov, Damon Knight, Donald A. Wollheim, Frederik Pohl, James Blish, Judith Merril, and others. Other important writers during this period included Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, A. E. van Vogt and Stanisław Lem. Campbell's tenure at Astounding is considered to be the beginning of the Golden Age of science fiction, characterized by hard SF stories celebrating scientific achievement and progress. This lasted until postwar technological advances, new magazines like Galaxy under Pohl as editor, and a new generation of writers began writing stories outside the Campbell mode.
In the 1950s, the Beat generation included speculative writers like William S. Burroughs. In the 1960s and early 1970s, writers like Frank Herbert, Samuel R. Delany, Roger Zelazny, and Harlan Ellison explored new trends, ideas, and writing styles, while a group of writers, mainly in Britain, became known as the New Wave. In the 1970s, writers like Larry Niven and Poul Anderson began to redefine hard SF. Ursula K. Le Guin and others pioneered soft science fiction.
In the 1980s, cyberpunk authors like William Gibson turned away from the traditional optimism and support for progress of traditional science fiction. Star Wars helped spark a new interest in space opera, focusing more on story and character than on scientific accuracy. C. J. Cherryh's detailed explorations of alien life and complex scientific challenges influenced a generation of writers.Emerging themes in the 1990s included environmental issues, the implications of the global Internet and the expanding information universe, questions about biotechnology and nanotechnology, as well as a post-Cold War interest in post-scarcity societies; Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age comprehensively explores these themes. Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan novels brought the character-driven story back into prominence. The television series Star Trek: The Next Generation began a torrent of new SF shows,of which Babylon 5 was among the most highly acclaimed in the decade. Concern about the rapid pace of technological change crystallized around the concept of the technological singularity, popularized by Vernor Vinge's novel Marooned in Realtime and then taken up by other authors. Television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and films like The Lord of the Rings created new interest in all the speculative genres in films, television, computer games, and books.
While SF has provided criticism of developing and future technologies, it also produces innovation and new technology. The discussion of this topic has occurred more in literary and sociological than in scientific forums. Cinema and media theorist Vivian Sobchack examines the dialogue between science fiction film and the technological imagination. Technology does impact how artists portray their fictionalized subjects, but the fictional world gives back to science by broadening imagination. While more prevalent in the beginning years of science fiction with writers like Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Frank Walker and Arthur C. Clarke, new authors like Michael Crichton still find ways to make the currently impossible technologies seem so close to being realized.This has also been documented in the field of nanotechnology with University of Ottawa Professor José Lopez's article "Bridging the Gaps: Science Fiction in Nanotechnology." Lopez links both theoretical premises of science fiction worlds and the operation of nanotechnologies.
Authors and filmmakers draw on a wide spectrum of ideas, but marketing departments and literary critics tend to separate such literary and cinematic works into different categories, or "genres", and subgenres. These are not simple pigeonholes; works can be overlapped into two or more commonly-defined genres, while others are beyond the generic boundaries, either outside or between categories, and the categories and genres used by mass markets and literary criticism differ considerably.
Hard science fiction, or "hard SF", is characterized by rigorous attention to accurate detail in quantitative sciences, especially physics, astrophysics, and chemistry, or on accurately depicting worlds that more advanced technology may make possible. Many accurate predictions of the future come from the hard science fiction subgenre, but numerous inaccurate predictions have emerged as well. For example, Arthur C. Clarke accurately predicted (and invented the concept of) geostationary communications satellites,but erred in his prediction of deep layers of moondust in lunar craters. Some hard SF authors have distinguished themselves as working scientists, including Robert Forward, Gregory Benford, Charles Sheffield, Isaac Asimov, and Geoffrey A. Landis, while mathematician authors include Rudy Rucker and Vernor Vinge. Other noteworthy hard SF authors include Hal Clement, Joe Haldeman, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Kim Stanley Robinson, Robert J. Sawyer, Stephen Baxter, and Jacek Dukaj.
Soft and social SF
The description "soft" science fiction may describe works based on social sciences such as psychology, economics, political science, sociology, and anthropology. Noteworthy writers in this category include Ursula K. Le Guin and Philip K. Dick. The term can describe stories focused primarily on character and emotion; SFWA Grand Master Ray Bradbury is an acknowledged master of this art. Some writers blur the boundary between hard and soft science fiction - for example Mack Reynolds's work focuses on politics but anticipated many developments in computers, including cyber-terrorism.
Related to Social SF and Soft SF are the speculative fiction branches of utopian or dystopian stories; The Handmaid's Tale, Nineteen Eighty-Four, and Brave New World are examples. Satirical novels with fantastic settings such as Gulliver's Travels may be considered speculative fiction.
The Cyberpunk genre emerged in the early 1980s; the name is a portmanteau of "cybernetics" and "punk" , and was first coined by author Bruce Bethke in his 1980 short story "Cyberpunk". The time frame is usually near-future and the settings are often dystopian. Common themes in cyberpunk include advances in information technology and especially the Internet (visually abstracted as cyberspace), (possibly malevolent) artificial intelligence, enhancements of mind and body using bionic prosthetics and direct brain-computer interfaces called cyberware, and post-democratic societal control where corporations have more influence than governments. Nihilism, post-modernism, and film noir techniques are common elements, and the protagonists may be disaffected or reluctant anti-heroes. Noteworthy authors in this genre are William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan, and Neal Stephenson. The 1982 film Blade Runner is commonly accepted as a definitive example of the cyberpunk visual style.
Time travel stories have antecedents in the 18th and 19th centuries, and this subgenre was popularized by H. G. Wells's novel The Time Machine. Stories of this type are complicated by logical problems such as the grandfather paradox. Time travel is a popular subject in novels, and in television series, either as individual episodes within more general science fiction series, for example, "The City on the Edge of Forever" in Star Trek, or as one-off productions such as The Flipside of Dominick Hide.
Alternate history stories are based on the premise that historical events might have turned out differently. These stories may use time travel to change the past, or may simply set a story in a universe with a different history from our own. Classics in the genre include Bring the Jubilee by Ward Moore, in which the South wins the American Civil War and The Man in the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick, in which Germany and Japan win World War II. The Sidewise Award acknowledges the best works in this subgenre; the name is taken from Murray Leinster's early story "Sidewise in Time".
Military science fiction is set in the context of conflict between national, interplanetary, or interstellar armed forces; the primary viewpoint characters are usually soldiers. Stories include detail about military technology, procedure, ritual, and history; military stories may use parallels with historical conflicts. Heinlein's Starship Troopers is an early example, along with the Dorsai novels of Gordon Dickson. Joe Haldeman's The Forever War is a critique of the genre, a Vietnam-era response to the World War II-style stories of earlier authors. Prominent military SF authors include David Drake, David Weber, S. M. Stirling, and Lois McMaster Bujold. Baen Books is known for cultivating military science fiction authors. Television series within this subgenre include Battlestar Galactica and Stargate SG-1.
Works in which science and technology are a dominant theme, but based on current reality, may be considered mainstream fiction. Much of the thriller genre would be included, such as the novels of Tom Clancy or Michael Crichton, or the James Bond films.Modernist works from writers like Kurt Vonnegut, Philip K. Dick, and Stanisław Lem have focused on speculative or existential perspectives on contemporary reality and are on the borderline between SF and the mainstream.According to Robert J. Sawyer, "Science fiction and mystery have a great deal in common. Both prize the intellectual process of puzzle solving, and both require stories to be plausible and hinge on the way things really do work." Isaac Asimov, Anthony Boucher, Walter Mosley, and other writers incorporate mystery elements in their science fiction, and vice versa.