[LMB] Details in Science Fiction

Matthew George matt.msg at gmail.com
Tue Nov 24 13:44:54 GMT 2020


On Mon, Nov 23, 2020 at 2:39 PM Eric Oppen <ravenclaweric at gmail.com> wrote:

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

As idiotic as using tobacco is, using it in space or in artificial
atmospheres even more, using an intoxicant in space is doubly so.  It'd be
like drinking alcohol in a war zone.




>
> 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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> >
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