Emilia Ewing January 29, 2021 Science Worksheet
A second example from Asimov, that of the three laws of robotics, has taken on a life of its own. Asimov began developing the laws of robotics to explain how a robot might work. The three laws were postulated as a mechanism to protect humans and robots. He did not expect the laws to become so ingrained into the literature on robots; in fact, the laws have become something of a de facto standard in any story or novel written about artificial life, as Asimov has noted in several essays. The case of Asimovs three laws of robotics influencing other writers is not unusual. In the case of Arthur C. Clarke, his influence is felt beyond writing and extends to science as well. Clarke is the person responsible for postulating the use of geo-synchronous orbit for satellites, and the makers of weather, communications, entertainment and spy satellites owe him a debt of gratitude for developing this theory. He anticipated the manned landing on the moon, and many discoveries made on Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and their many moons.
Then it hit me: Id actually have to seriously think about some sort of a method to select from the thousands of science fiction short stories that had been written in the past century. When I considered that the ideals of the foundation would have to be reflected in the stories which I selected, something near panic set in: science fiction was not part of the "cannon." "While I pondered weak and weary, over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore," I reached a decision: Id first try to figure out what science fiction "was," and then Id develop a set of themes that related to the essence of science fiction. So, armed with this battle plan, I proceeded to read what several famous authors had to say about science fiction. This seemed simple enough, until I discovered that no two authors thought science fiction meant quite the same thing. Oh, great, thought I: "nevermore." (Sorry, Edgar, I couldnt resist).
After presenting complex geometrical reasoning, Professor Edmondson wrote, "By now familiar with Fullers underlying assumptions, we shall take time out to introduce some background material. The origins of humanitys fascination with geometry can be traced back four thousand years, to the Babylonian and Egyptian civilisations; two millennia later, geometry flourished in ancient Greece, and its development continues today. Yet most of us know almost nothing about the accumulated findings of this long search. Familiarity with some of these geometric shapes and transformations will ease the rest of the journey into the intricacies of synergetics."
Now I admit, these groupings may be arbitrary, and may in fact reflect my perspective on things, but I had to start somewhere. The strange thing was that these grouping tended to repeat, no matter who the author was. When I thought about it, these same types of concerns are mirrored in the more "canonical" texts that are taught in school. So, what makes science fiction different from the mainstream texts taught in colleges and universities across the country? Once again, Im glad you asked that, because it is a perfect lead-in to the next part of the series. "All these worlds are yours:" the Appeal of Science Fiction, Part III
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