The Differences Between Hard and Mainstream Science Fiction

Arthur Doweyko, award-winning author and scientist, talks about the challenges of creating the rules of a sci-fi novel. Unlike those in a fantasy world, the rules created for a science fiction novel are often thought to be based in the reality of scientific study and tradition. However, Doweyko explains that in mainstream science fiction novels the science is often soft and sometimes entirely fictional. In contrast, hard science fiction looks ahead to the possibilities of current scientific application but adheres to laws as they are currently understood. This, he believes, moves a novel from the realm of fantasy and into hard science fiction. That’s not to say that mainstream science fiction is faulty in some way. Doweyko says, “The clever thing to do in any fiction is to sell the reader a hook...even if it’s not scientifically feasible, if they can believe it, then you can sell a story that’s a heck of a lot of fun.” Listen to Doweyko as he shares his experience writing science fiction.

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