08 December 2017

Science in Science Fiction

Today I was listening to the Star Talk, Neil deGrasse Tyson podcast. He was interviewing Andy Weir.They talked about his new book about the city on Moon. I did not read the book, actually, I watched only the film Martian, and even that was incomplete. I watched it on a plane, so I missed the ending when we started the landing procedures and the crew cut off the streaming. I’ve seen all up to the point where Martian was removing parts of the rocket and attaching the tarp so that he can leave the Mars.
But back to the podcast. Of course, Andy and Neil talked about the science of Andy’s books. And I found really endearing that Andy stated he wrote the science parts in his works thinking about what Neil’s reactions would be when he sees it.
As a scientist myself, I often have to suspend belief to follow the story. And sometimes it just takes too much, especially if the wrong science was used to advance the plot.
For instance, I was really annoyed by the death of the male astronaut in Gravity. It was completely unnecessary and scientifically wrong. And it was used as the major plot point. One would think that such a particular story, which hardly could be called science fiction, but more like a thriller, would actually use the correct science. After all, they were talking about the technology, dangers, and procedures that are an everyday occurrence for us.
Rant over.
It would be neat if the more authors and more Hollywood people would follow Andy’s example and really try to imagine how Neil would react to their work.
See, I’m fully supporting Neil’s action to Make America Smart Again. And putting the correct science in stories is one of the ways writers can contribute. As I said in my previous post, stories are a reflection of the society, the social norms. And they also form the view of our young ones about the world.

So, if you are writing your own story, put correct science in it and make your scientist humans. Full humans, because not only that will enrich your story, but will help our society accepts science. Today we really need science acceptance. It is a matter of our survival.

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