[LMB] Details in Science Fiction

Eric Oppen ravenclaweric at gmail.com
Mon Nov 23 19:33:36 GMT 2020


It occurs to me to wonder---what makes you sure that the people in Piper's
stories were smoking* tobacco?*

Imagine Cheech and Chong...*in SPAAACE!*

On Mon, Nov 23, 2020 at 1:29 PM Andras Farkas <deepbluemistake at gmail.com>
wrote:

> On Sun, Nov 22, 2020 at 1:49 PM Howard Brazee <howard at brazee.net> wrote:
> > I’m reading two Science Fiction novels right now that illustrated an
> issue with having details in science fiction.
> >
> > One is the 1962 novel (that I read when it was new), “The Defiant
> Agents”.    The alien artifact that the American found and want to keep
> away from the reds used tapes.   (with recordings of some sort).
> THAT is definitely amusing and and an extreme example, having an alien
> artifact use tape... but also retro.
>
> > The other is the 2020 Hugo winner (which I am enjoying), “A Memory
> Called Empire”, that has an old, interstellar empire —with tea bags and a
> shower with the soaps and stuff that I see in contemporary America.
> >
> > Detail like that works in contemporary fiction.   And it works when it
> doesn’t mess up in historical fiction.    But needs to be disguised in
> futuristic science fiction.
>
> Honestly, I love these sorts of details, and find they add to the
> charm of old sci-fi.  I read sci-fi in context: I take a peek at who
> wrote it in what year... and then I enjoy the story.  The quirks are
> often cute and amusing to me, and I just accept them for what they
> are.
> Most sci-fi isn't meant to be a prediction of the future, only some of it
> is. ;)
> An example in Lois's works that made me smile when I first encountered
> it was the usage of light pens for computer input.
>
> I think the visuals for certain aesthetics in retrowave, synthwave,
> and vaporwave in music have occasionally done this on purpose: their
> visual aesthetics, in art or music videos, sometimes imitate sci-fi
> from earlier eras. (like imitating Blade Runner's aesthetic, or
> imitating eras of sci-fi where aliens are just humans with a different
> skin color)
> In sci-fi written works, sometimes you see people write new stories in
> the style of the old ones where people had astronauts on Mars or Venus
> without spacesuits and met hidden civilisations there.
> So to me, retro details are just delightful, and I'm fine with stories
> of varying amounts of them, more or less. :B
>
> In the backstory to one character I use in roleplay online, I model
> his world of origin partially on those old sci-fi depictions that were
> just Today (mid-1900s) But With Flying Cars, but as Today (early
> 2000s) But With Floating Smartwatches.
>
> --
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