Physics in Science Fiction

The following is a "slides and notes" version of a talk, written and presented to the Johns Hopkins University Society of Physics Students by Andrew E. Love Jr, a long-standing subscriber, and frequent contributor, to the Larry Niven mail list.

What is Science Fiction?


There is no commonly accepted definition of Science Fiction - all of the above have been proposed. I'm going to stick with the third and fourth, but the other two aren't as silly as they seem. These are taken from a book called "Turning Points: Essays on the Art of Science Fiction" edited by Damon Knight (1977). Number 1 is attributed to Norman Spinrad, number 2 is an obvious generalization of number 1 (and I'm sure I've seen it used somewhere), number 3 is attributed to Theodore Sturgeon, and number 4 is Reginald Bretnor's definition, paraphrased by Robert Heinlein. "Extrapolation" and "future" are two words also strongly associated with SF.

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