Get a free opinion about science in science fiction

It’s an old discussion: how much science should there be in science fiction and what kind of science should it be? It’s so old that when the discussion rolls around again you will probably be tired of it immediately. Aha! What if you had a totally new position on it? Then things might be interesting again.

You’ll need a D20 dice and the table below. Take the sentence “I believe that the science in science fiction should be X and Y” and replace X and Y with entries from the table, rolling the dice twice to get your exciting new take on the discussion.

Roll 1XRoll 2Y
1alien1based on 18th century understandings
2at a high school level2be expressed in profanities
3be indistinguishable from magic3consistent
4colourful4conveyed by scent
5confused5cribbed from Wikipedia
6consistent with the laws of thermodynamics6expressed using algebra
7cool7in the background
8cutting edge8include references from medical textbooks
9environmental9integral to the world building
10fuzzy10involve clockwork
11generous11involve pie charts
12hard12mainly about dairy goods
13in the appendix13mainly physics
14mathematical14only appear in sentences that start with a vowel
16obscure16served with mash potato
19sociological19use buzzwords like ‘quantum’
20soft20with copious footnotes

27 responses to “Get a free opinion about science in science fiction”

    • Now I have a bit of time to elaborate. Llull was a medieval mystic who used a set of concentric circles to generate random combinations of ideas – a perfect character for a historical fantasy. Zwicky was an astronomer who invented something called morphological boxes which also combine ideas and eliminate the nonsensical ones to come up with possible combinations to investigate further – Heinlein tossed out references to “Zwicky boxes” (and so did Brin)

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I don’t know about this. I personally prefer my science to be both confused and consistent with the laws of thermodynamics, which are both on the first dice roll. Really you need a D40 (or a D20 and a coin) and one list.

    (This may explain why I prefer space opera and fantasy these days to so-called hard SF.)


  2. If you search “virtual d20” on google you can roll some, err, virtual D20 – if like me you don’t have access to physical ones.

    On that note I believe that the science in science fiction should be morbid and with copious footnotes.


  3. Can I have mathematical and conveyed by scent?

    “Mathematical and in the appenduces” is Greg Egan’s Orthogonal, which I recommend.

    Liked by 2 people

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