When C.A.T. was first published, I thought there would be a flurry of interest in it and then it would over the period of a year or so dwindle to nothing.
Wrong! C.A.T. is still getting wonderful reviews, nearly 30 months on. It is certainly a cheering thought. I am grateful to those to have bought C.A.T. and its follow-on, Neptune’s Angel, and to those that have taken the time and trouble to write such lovely reviews. A big THANK YOU to you all, and a special thank you to Terry Press at TWBPress for having faith in me and the stories.
In the meantime I’ve been trying to answer the question: “What is allowable science in hard science fiction?”
The answer I’m coming to is rather surprising and I suspect at odds with what most people perceive as allowable science. Just like the way I perceived the sales and interest in C.A.T. would go.
Just like here are assumptions in science fiction publishing hidden to me, there are hidden assumptions in the way we use mathematics to interpret science. Yes, these conclusions are deep, insightful and need quite a bit of explaining. It’s enough for me to want to write a pamphlet on the subject and self-publish it… well, no sane publisher would want to deal with such an obscure subject.
But the bottom line it that a lot more science should be allowable in hard science fiction than most people currently believe. And I’m not just thinking about things like Alcubierre‘s faster than light way of travelling.
Which brings us to what people think hard science fiction ought to be. Most people would agree that it uses reasonable extrapolations of scientific developments at the time of writing the story.
[Note the use of the word, reasonable. What is reasonable to one person, could be totally unreasonable to to another, which is why there seems to be so many arguments about what is included in the sub-genre. The other caveat is at the time of writing the story. For instance if a story was written using FTL travel before 1905 when Albert Einstein published his paper about special relativity saying nothing could travel faster than light, then it would classed as hard science fiction.]
But with my contention that my allowable science is broader than most people’s, it would lead to me having a wider range of science to choose from.
Well, not quite. It’s more like different rather than wider, and it could be wildly different at that.
And for that to have a chance of becoming acceptable, more people need to debate what I call the philosophy of science in hard science fiction… and it’ll be a long debate…