Lakisha Fisher January 29, 2021 Science Worksheet
I guess that the main difference between science fiction and the more acceptable or "canonical" type of fiction must arise either from the themes employed, or the subject matter. In part two of this series, I mentioned that the themes employed by science fiction, namely: the search for life, identity, the gods, and morality are similar to those themes employed in "canonical" literature. By the process of subtraction, that leaves subject matter as the primary difference between the two genres. So, by subject matter, we must mean science, since weve already covered fiction ("when you has eliminate the impossible, whatever is left, no matter how improbable, must be the truth," as Sherlock Holmes would say). So, we must infer that science is the factor which differentiates science fiction from traditional fiction. By this definition, several traditional pieces of fiction must be considered science fiction. As an example, The Tempest, by William Shakespeare has often been cited as a type of science fiction if we expand the category to include those works which incorporate current science into their works. But wait, you say, The Tempest does not incorporate science into its construction. Oh really, I reply, the English were just beginning to settle the New World in earnest when the play was written ("Oh, brave new world that has such people int.") Besides, you reply, if anything, it is more fantasy than science fiction. Splitting hairs, I reply.
To use two brief examples, the Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov is often considered a "soft" science fiction work, relying more on the social sciences than the physical sciences in the plot line. In the story, Asimov posits the creation of a foundation that relies on psychohistory, a kind of melding of group psychology and economics that is useful in predicting and ultimately molding, human behavior. Anyone who has been following the stock and financial markets over the past year can attest to the element of herd mentality which permeates any large scale human interaction. The theme of shaping human dynamics through psychohistory, while somewhat far-fetched is not beyond the realm of possibility (and would, no doubt, be welcomed by market bulls right about now).
Human survival now depends upon a more general understanding that ethics is not about how science is used but about what is the ethical form of the spiritual, or holographic structure of science itself. There is no need for the reader to become conversant with the complex geometrical equations suggested by Professor Amy Edmondson, in order to follow the journey of ethical logic from ancient Egypt to the 21st Century Renaissance. However, before undertaking that journey we need to realise the nightmare scenario that the unbalanced 20th Century understanding of science has forced global humanity to endure and which Buckminster Fuller warned about.
In 1903, Lord Bertrand Russells book A Freemans Worship was published, containing his vision of A Universe in Thermodynamic Ruin. This nightmare mathematical assessment of reality stated that all the most ennobling thoughts of humankind amounted to nothing at all and all life in the universe must be destroyed. Lord Russell wrote that humans must endure, with total despair, the hopelessness of living within a reality that was totally governed by a lifeless energy law that Einstein was to call The Premier law of all science. The name of the law governing 20th Century technological culture is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It is also known as the Universal heat death law or, the Law of Universal chaos.
Huang suggested that the worlds seashell fossil record would provide the necessary patterning-change information. The research was assisted by the communities of the six towns comprising the Riverland Region of South Australia. During the 1980s the Centres several seashell life-energy papers, written by the Centres mathematician, Chris Illert, were published by Italys leading scientific journal, il Nuovo Cimento. In 1990 two of the papers were selected as important discoveries of the 20th Century and were reprinted by the worlds leading technological research institute, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers in Washington.
So, where are we? I think weve managed to muddle the waters somewhat. It appears that the element of science is needed for science fiction, but the precedents for science being contained in a fictional work, are somewhat troubling. Maybe in the next section, we should examine "modern" science fiction and try to determine how science plays a part in works of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. "All these worlds are yours:" the Appeal of Science Fiction, Part IV Up till now, weve defined science fiction as part science, and part fiction. No real revolutionary concept there. Ive tried to show how earlier works could be considered science fiction, with mixed results. Ive also said that works of the twentieth century would be easier to classify as science fiction, because they incorporate more elements of leading-edge science into their writing.
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