Friday, November 14, 2008

Science and Fiction: What Do You Think?

Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far! See below for links to responses. If you would like to contribute to the conversation, just leave a comment with a link to your post.

ScienceOnline09 is an annual science communication conference that brings together scientists, bloggers, educators, and students to discuss promoting public understanding of science. Stephanie Zvan and I will be moderating a session on science fiction as a tool for science communication. We're looking for input on the topic and to start an online conversation between science fiction writers and science bloggers.

Participation is easy:

Questions about science and its relationship to science fiction are posted below and at Stephanie's blog Almost Diamonds. Send us a link to your answers on your own blog or post the link the comments at either site. If you're a writer without a blog, you can post your answers directly at either site.

We will then collect links to the posts on the ScienceOnline09 conference wiki, as well as our own blogs, and facilitate a discussion on the different ways science and science fiction are used.

Responses from the SF Writer Point of View
Responses from the Science Point of View
There's also discussion of the topic going on at io9.

Questions for Science Bloggers
  • What is your relationship to science fiction? Do you read it? Watch it? What/who do you like and why?
  • What do you see as science fiction's role in promoting science, if any? Can it do more than make people excited about science? Can it harm the cause of science?
  • Have you used science fiction as a starting point to talk about science? Is it easier to talk about people doing it right or getting it wrong?
  • Are there any specific science or science fiction blogs you would recommend to interested readers or writers?

Questions for Science Fiction Writers
  • Why are you writing science fiction in particular? What does the science add?
  • What is your relationship to science? Have you studied or worked in it, or do you just find it cool? Do you have a favorite field?
  • How important is it to you that the science be right? What kind of resources do you use for accuracy?
  • Are there any specific science or science fiction blogs you would recommend to interested readers or writers?

Thanks for taking part, and we look forward to your answers!

Tags:, ,

22 comments:

Sean Craven said...

Here's my response --

http://seancraven.blogspot.com/2008/11/science-and-science-fiction.html

Oh -- and I recently had another story set in the Little Things bar accepted at New Voices in Fiction!

Peggy said...

Thanks for your input, and congrats on getting another story accepted!

5 Science 1 said...

Thanks for this , really great article am a science blogger myself

http://www.5science1.com

Arvind Mishra said...

What is your relationship to science fiction? Do you read it? Watch it? What/who do you like and why?

· I am an sf buff from India, I am fond of reading and watching sf .I like the stories with optimistic note and happy endings. This may be due to the deep sacraments through which an Indian undergoes since his childhood. As a matter of fact most of the Indian stories have happy endings and a positive thought towards human life–VIVEKANAND ,the great Indian sage who visited USA once said .."See ,if you have lost every thing, future still remains." so we have born and brought up in a milieu like this.My all time favorite sf writer has been ISSAC Asimov who has many of his admirers in India.His many stories have social implications which is appreciated by Indian audience.

· What do you see as science fiction's role in promoting science, if any? Can it do more than make people excited about science? Can it harm the cause of science?

· At least in India sf could play a pivotal role in popularizing sf but for this we have to look for many new innovative formats to do so...one has already been practiced as has been already brought to your notice and have a mention on your blog -BIOLOGY IN SCIENCE FICTION -depicting/ showing sf in dynamic models, .tableux during the religious occasions where there is a great assemblage of lay people like the one called KUMBH –the largest fair of the world organized every 12 years for more than a month on the banks of river Yamunaa nad Ganga in Allahabad,India.There may be an ingenious mix of mythology and sf to attract the gullible. This experiment has yielded encouraging results during last Kumbh ,a year back in India .Yes if you rationally mix something very familiar with the something unfamiliar like sf ,things get going very well to carry and communicate the intended message to maassess.No ,there seems to be no damage to the science itself ,inversely it serves the very purpose of sci communication. Its helpful to bring out the science out of our iron walled laboratories to the public.

·

· Have you used science fiction as a starting point to talk about science? Is it easier to talk about people doing it right or getting it wrong?

· Quite often ,To begin a lecture on science or technology stories work as attracting contrivances /device for the audience and thus could be used in various medium of imparting knowledge from class room to open theatre as par the demand. But yes such story tellers or teachers must be trained by the expert in the field ,otherwise there is a possibility of promoting pseudo science in the name of sf -mythology mix or any such ingenious combo.

· Are there any specific science or science fiction blogs you would recommend to interested readers or writers?

· Biology in sf is my favorite , sf signal is another and there are many more depending on the choices by the people of specific geographical areas and interests.

· Questions for Science Fiction Writer.

* Why are you writing science fiction in particular? What does the science add?
* Writing to me at least is for my own satisfaction first and a very strong motivation to share the gained knowledge however meager to fellow beings who need that knowledge. Sf writing serves to satiate my innermost desire.
* What is your relationship to science? Have you studied or worked in it, or do you just find it cool? Do you have a favorite field?
* I am a PhD in fish genetics from the Oxford of the East –Alahabad university ,India –so have a penchant for scientific contents especially genetics ,behavior and so on.

* How important is it to you that the science be right? What kind of resources do you use for accuracy?
* Science must not only be right it should be rightly put forth also .Otherwise there are chances that it may transgress the limits of sensibility/rationality and may plunge into the realms of pseudo science.
* Are there any specific science or science fiction blogs you would recommend to interested readers or writers?
* Already mentioned.

Neth said...

Here is another bit of input.

Neth Space

Peggy said...

Thanks Arvind and Neth!

Schadwen said...

I've got my answers up here:

http://elementalhome.blogspot.com/2008/11/science-and-science-fiction.html

thoughtcounts Z said...

I just posted my answers here on my blog.

Miriam Goldstein said...

Here's my response. Thanks for the opportunity!

Jacob said...

nice post

Perry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Perry said...

Ever seen this collection of short stories? I read it in grade school & loved it.

Caught in the Organ Draft: Biology in Science Fiction

Peggy said...

Thanks for the responses schadwen, Miriam and Z!

Perry: not only have I seen it, I have a copy! It's out of print now, unfortunately.

Robert Evans said...

Here's my response

http://scifiwriter.blogspot.com/2008/11/questions-about-science-and-science.html

Lee Kottner said...

Great idea! Here's my response.

http://twistedphysics.typepad.com/cocktail_party_physics/2008/11/does-science-fi.html

SF Girl said...

Hi, Peggy! I've posted my response for both science and science-fiction questions on my blog, The Alien Next Door, at the link, below. Great idea. I look forward to seeing all the responses and how this discussion develops.
http://www.darwinsparadox.com/karen-mason-interviews-nina-munteanu/

S.M.D. said...

Here are my responses to the science fiction stuff:
http://wisb.blogspot.com/2008/11/peggys-qs-and-my-as-about-science.html

Thanks for giving me something useful to do :P.

coturnix said...

Have you tried asking John Kessell and Joan Slonczewski? I think they are both scientists by training (John majored in physics, I believe, while Joan does research and teaches microbiology as well as a Science in SF course).

coturnix said...

http://www4.ncsu.edu/~tenshi/index2.html

http://biology.kenyon.edu/slonc/slonc.htm

Term said...

Very impressive article and thanks for all the links keep sharing..!

Solid Wood Flooring said...

Awesome that work!!
thank you for sharing :)

Peter said...

Nice blog, very interesting!