Science Fiction is a unique genre. It can contain a variety of overtones from other literary categories such as horror and suspense. All along, it is nested in its own world with the expectation that science is at it’s core. To understand this, we need to look at the pioneers of the subject. Reading some hard science fiction pieces can cause confusion if you do not take the time to review the footnotes. Jules Verne’s, Journey to the Center of the Earth, is a prime example of an original work having notes on just about every other page. There were concepts or actions taking place in his works that the average reader of the time would have no knowledge or concept of until they followed the star to the corresponding notation. In addition, let us look at Isaac Asimov or Arthur C. Clarke who furthered the purity of the tradition by taking on the roll of the “Futurist”. They both predicted advances in Artificial Intelligence and satellite communication years before they became a reality and analyzed them from a human or moral implication.
This subject has suffered as even some of its own Architects find it way too easy to sway from that hard line expected in sci-fi, and delve into sub genres. These works are usually referred to as “Soft Sci-Fi”. Often, they skew the purity of that which is based in science.
Depending on the popularity of the piece, when this is pointed out in the literary world, there tends to be a ruffling of feathers that can spark a truly hot debate in the community around the merits of classification and purity. What needs to be considered is that a literary work claiming its pedigree must avoid even the slightest level of the paranormal. It should not introduce something that is contrary to the sense of a scientific mindset . Above all things, it must observe of the Scientific Method.
Straying from this requires that the reader step out of the reality from which they have been led and forces a leap into a concept that does not have a scientific standing. This causes the story to slip from the framework of the genre’s intent. One needs to be willing to objectively assess what they are reading and truly accept that while they may be enjoying a piece that is labeled “Science Fiction”, it may not fit the bill.
Too many times we blur the intention of a written piece. While there is nothing wrong with any literary format, let us call a spade a spade and be OKAY with its classification. In the meantime, allow Sci-fi to truly take its form and debunk that it’s reading requires a pocket protector and a pair of taped-up glasses.