Thursday, July 30, 2009

Authenticity in SF

The question of whether Science Fiction should have less scientific inaccuracy is kind of like asking whether it would be nice if suntans weren't linked to skin cancer: well, sure, but expecting one without the other isn't a sign of a well-developed mind. But this post made me think of the matter, and I wanted to specifically note that the recent film Moon did a passable, though not perfect, job at keeping the science plausible and serving the plot at the same time.


Chet Scoville said...

A while back I was talking with Robert J. Sawyer (whom I know slightly) about this topic; what he said was that, from his POV, scientific accuracy is what gives a science fiction writer his moral authority. In other words, if an sf writer is willing to play fast and loose with science, then an audience has no reason to trust him on other matters. I disagree with that slightly, because I think that what an audience is willing to accept depends upon a rather complex and always shifting agreement between them and the author, but I think his position is a very reasonable one.

Kate said...

Hey John, noticed you hadn't responded to any of the numerous comments on your "dog whistle" piece.

Then I took a peek at your previous post:

“In Praise of the National Post”, July 23rd

…“For being the only newspaper to play it cool on this Kingston-Canal-Murder story.”

According to the Post that day, the police “….would not confirm media reports that the deaths were part of an "honour" killing.”

Praise-worthy, non-inflammatory reporting by the Post, I agree.

However, in today’s National Post, according to an article entitled “Victim wed in secret”: :

“Kingston police have said they are investigating the possibility the homicides were so-called honour killings.”

And, in another Post article entitled “Kingston canal victim made several attempts to marry: report”, from July 31st: :

“Relatives of Rona Amir Mohammad have alleged that her husband felt his oldest daughter had disgraced his family by her behaviour in Canada. They also alleged the homicides were carried out as so-called honour killings.”

Oh dear, the National Post, the Canadian police, and now Muslim relatives of the victims have started to use inflammatory, culturally-insensitive language.

Not “cool”, to borrow your term.

Anonymous said...