Sunday, 29 September 2013

SF Premises

Wellsian:
undersea, air, space and time vehicles;
alien contact;
heat ray, poison gas, tanks, aerial warfare and atomic bombs;
invisibility;
social revolutions;
two centuries of future history;
a parallel universe.

(I know it was Verne that had the submarine but Wells had a bathysphere that, appropriately, went straight down to find intelligent bipeds on the sea floor just as the Cavorite sphere went straight up to find Selenites in the Moon. Edgar Rice Burroughs' mole machine went straight down to find people living beneath the central sun on the inner surface of the hollow Earth, which was also accessed through the North Polar opening by Tarzan and others in a balloon! - so ERB, and some others, including Roger Bacon, add underground vehicles, "subterrenes", to the list.)

Post-Wellsian:
extrasensory perception;
indefinite longevity;
artificial intelligence;
interstellar civilization (hinted at near the end of The War Of The Worlds);
a predictive, mathematical science of society;
time travel organizations;
many millennia of future history;
regular travel between parallel universes.

The post-Wellsian themes encapsulate Isaac Asimov's major contributions whereas Poul Anderson covers these and more.

A Science of Society
Governments know that unpopular measures will be opposed but not by how many. Anti-government campaigners know that they will be supported but not by how many. Imagine a science accurately predicting the outcomes both of new government measures and of opposition to them. But is this even theoretically possible?

2 comments:

  1. Regarding a science of society, Michael Flynn's In the Country of the Blind and Donald Kingsbury's Psychohistorical Crisis may be of interest. Both portray situations where multiple groups with a science of society are in conflict with each other.

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