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Bad Science does not make good Science Fiction

Updated on October 8, 2013


Bad science does not make good science fiction— this is one of the truths of working in genre of Science Fiction. If the science is bad then the Science fiction can never be good. There are many examples of excellent Sci-Fi out there. The best way to develop good Sci-Fi is to look at what already exists in the world then extend it in the future. For example if you start with prosthetic limbs and you look at advances in robot technology, you can see that in the end it is likely that we will have mechanical limbs. Therefore to have a scene in a film where the human civilisation is more advanced than us and yet instead of prosthetic limbs they have metal poles for legs, you know something has gone wrong.

Science Fiction can date quickly if it does not follow the general trend of society. It was obvious a decade ago that we would eventually end up banning cigarettes in public places. However shows like Battle Star Galactica ignored that trend at their own peril. Every other character seems to have a cigarette in their mouth. They also ignored the move towards technology, they are constantly passing round sheets of paper. It seems laughable that a decade on and most people are walking round with Ipads and kindles like those seen in Star Trek Next Generation. However, when they get it right, the results are impressive. I am thinking of course about the epic 1984. In it the woman is on a television, but there is also a camera attached to the main character's telly so she can see what he and everyone else is doing. She then spouts out the main character’s number and orders him to bend lower. Cameras are a brilliant example of this, you can get spy cameras that are absolutely tiny now.

Technology generally gets smaller and more efficient with time, so if you think about things that are large and bulky now, it is likely in the future they will be smaller, faster and more efficient. How much smaller can computers get? One day it is definitely possible we will have processors that are more efficient that the Intel Pentium Icore 5 in a pair of glasses or in a wrist watch. It is a scary thought really. This is how technology operates. Alternatively advancements in cloud technology will mean we are able to access our top of the range computer from our glasses whilst out on the street.

True Science fiction should always like project into the future "wouldn’t it be cool if…" "How amazing would it be if we had Ipads that rolled up like a cloth (After Earth)". The limit really is human imagination, the key is to take a product that exists and project it into the future… smaller, faster, better. How about instead of using rockets we are propelled through space by essentially folding the space time continuum around us. One of the most exciting developments for me is finding the 'God Particle.' This is the particle that gives objects mass, imagine if we were able to reduce the mass of objects using this particle, lorries full of stuff would become as light as a family car.

Now the warning, know what you are talking about, for example: what is the difference between an android and a robot? If you clone something, will it grow from a single cell or start as a fully formed human? Even if it is a fully formed human, would it have the same memories as the original? These are questions that demand an answer, if I went back in time and shot myself would the present version of me disappear as well? Make sure when writing science fiction you do your research, unless of course you want to create bad science fiction.

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    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      An interesting and helpful hub, with humour as well. Enjoyed reading it.

    • jht1414 profile image

      JJ Tyson 

      5 years ago from Chapel Hill, NC

      I liked this a lot. Its so funny to see retro-futuristic versions of things to come because of how much they got wrong. The paper and the cigarettes were both great examples. I'm also reminded of the flying cars in Back to the Future 2. There was no way that was happening in 30 years. Anyways, great article. I really enjoyed it.

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