Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 21 to 30 of 30
Like Tree8Likes

Thread: Russian Science Fiction - Recommended books?

  1. #21
    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Fairfax, VA (Фэйрфэкс, ш. Виргиния, США)
    Posts
    1,592
    Rep Power
    34
    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    I remember those scenes from the book and I thought it was one of the silliest aspects of that book. Can anyone explain how that is scientific?
    Well, unlike faster-than-light travel, it doesn't blatantly violate known laws of physics; unlike telepathy, it doesn't suppose that there is some "fifth fundamental force" completely unknown to science; unlike the X-Men, it doesn't ridiculously ignore basic principles of how REAL gene mutations work; etc.

    But the railgun described by Heinlein is a technically plausible extrapolation of known science. You could, of course, object that such a catapult is totally unrealistic from an economic POV -- in that it would be so enormously expensive to build that it could never pay for itself. You could also foresee that because it might take decades to build something so huge, someone might in the meantime invent a better and cheaper way to get stuff beyond Earth's orbit, thereby making the railgun project obsolete before it was finished!

    There is, however, nothing inherently non-scientific or "magical" about the concept, as discussed in this Wikipedia article on Mass drivers.

  2. #22
    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Fairfax, VA (Фэйрфэкс, ш. Виргиния, США)
    Posts
    1,592
    Rep Power
    34
    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    My fave Heinlein book is a kids adventure about two boys in a boarding school on Mars, who outsmart an evil corporation with the help of ancient Martians. Forgotten the name.
    Found it -- the title is Red Planet, first published 1949. The Wikipedia article notes that the native Martians here are physically and culturally very similar to the ones that would appear 12 years later in the much more adult-oriented Stranger in a Strange Land. (Apparently, SiaSL was originally proposed by Heinlein's wife in the late '40s as a kids-oriented "Jungle Book on Mars", so Red Planet may have been an early experiment in this direction.)

  3. #23
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    697
    Rep Power
    22
    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    Hmmm. To me, the term "soft science-fiction" in English often implies a "space opera" in which faster-than-light spaceships, time travel, telekinesis, and other very unlikely things are simply taken as real and scientifically explainable (i.e., non-magical), though without any attempt to explain how they actually work. Both Star Trek and Star Wars could be considered "soft" in this sense. But Star Trek, which frequently discussed 20th-century problems like racism and the Cold War in allegorical terms, could also be called "soft" in the "social" sense.

    In contrast, Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress describes in believable and realistic terms the technical possibility of using a rail-gun catapult to launch cargo from the Earth to the Moon, without using "magical" techno-babble. For this reason the novel is often regarded as exemplifying "hard" science fiction. (Of course, Heinlein certainly gets some things quite wrong -- he assumes that photo-realistic CGI video doesn't get invented until around 2075, a time when the Moon already has several cities and a permanent population of 3 or 4 million humans!) On the other hand, to the extent that it discusses libertarian theory and male/female sex roles, TMiaHM is "soft social" sci-fi.

    The en.wikipedia article about "soft science fiction", by the way, gives Orwell's 1984 as an example of "social" sci-fi, and Čapek's R.U.R. as a example of sci-fi that's "soft" in the sense that the robots might as well be magical golems.
    Поясню, что я хотел сказать. Я использовал понятие мягкая научная фантастика в следующем значении:
    Это фантастика, которая основной акцент ставит не на научной достоверности, а на описании различных социальных процессов, характеров людей и т.п., или просто на "историях про космос" ("space opera"). Например, "Обитаемый остров" Стругацких — это история о том, как человек с европейским складом ума боролся против тоталитарного государства. Инопланетные реалии в этой книге просто декорации, они не имеют решающего значения. Хотя Стругацкие пишут про людей будущего, будущее в их книгах играет роль декорации, на самом деле они описывают процессы современного общества.
    Другой пример, Лукин в своих книгах свободно смешивает науку, фэнтези, мистику, сказки и т.п. Некоторые его книги можно отнести к научной фантастике, другие же это что-то вроде русского фэнтези.

    Книга "Роза и Червь", о которой я говорил в самом первом посте, — противоположный пример. Автор ставит задачу описать, как было бы устроено сообщество людей в космосе, если бы в 22-м веке Земля была уничтожена пришельцами. Он описывает все аспекты жизни: технологии, производство, коммуникации, политическое устройство общества, военные конфликты, характеры людей, их привычки, обычаи, отношения и т.п. Подобные книги я называю истинная научная фантастика, в противоположность "мягкой".

    Не уверен, насколько такая классификация совпадает с принятой в английском языке.

  4. #24
    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ukraine
    Posts
    3,049
    Rep Power
    24
    I don't see the point in searching for "unrealistic" details in SF. Do you really believe that it is possible to describe (and explain "scientifically") ALL aspects of common life and technology in a far future? "Orwell did not predict cell phones OMG He's so outdated!!!" - This way? I don't think that even pretending to the realistic description of everything is not very wise because it means obvious and predictable epic fail.

    For me the difference between the truъ and would-be SF is the main purpose of the author. If the purpose if to predict\warn\admire about something new that comes out with a sci/tech (and connected social) progress - it is truъ. If the main purpose is to entertain/stylize/escape-the-reality/get-the-profit/whatever else - it is would-be SF. That is subjective of course (as everything) but I believe that the criterion is clear enough for the most.

    Also I believe that the main purpose of SF is a social aspect rather than technical. Fiction literature is a humanitarian tool and solving technical problems with it does not look like a good idea. Can you name a single technical prediction of Jules Verne that does not come out as obvious fail? Submarines? Hey, sample submarines existed before Jules Verne. Jules Verne is about the spirit of the modern age, not about the particular technics or physical laws.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

  5. #25
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    339
    Rep Power
    10
    The problem with the strong Sci-fi is that most writers don't know or don't quite understand the latest ideas in physics and other fields of science and most scientists cannot write good literature. The gap is widening. In the times of Jules Verne a futuristic prediction would turned to reality in several decades and that case lasted approximately for the 30s decade of the 20-th century. Then the exponential development of science and technology took off and got such an acceleration that technical novelties became to be introduced before they could have been predicted. Interestingly, though, that some scientific ideas were primarily invented by sci-fi writers and only then became adopted by physicists. Such a thing has happened with the idea of relativistic space-time. The Einstein-Minkovsky concept is that time is just another dimension of relativistic space-time unity. But this idea was elaborated by H.G. Wells in his "The Time Machine". I used too think that Wells wrote that novel under the impression of relativistic ideas of Einstein, but in reality, the book was written a few decades before Minkovsky and Einstein developed their time-space concept. And the book was based on a short story published even several decades earlier than the novel. So it looks like Wells knew intuitively about time-space half a century before scientists did!
    Most writers of nowadays don't understand the last ideas in science though, I think. It seems, they are just interested in selling the possible biggest number of their books. So they elaborate on adventure, sex, violence and other eternal human emotions just in a slightly different imaginary context. At best they try to pose some sociological questions, as brothers Strugatsky did. Nobody could predict IT breakthrough, even the appearance of the Internet and the social changes that followed. And it's certainly a shame, because sci-fi writers abandoned a great mission they had, that is to predict the ways of the human society development and make people mentally and psychologically ready for the approaching changes.
    Now it's happened that sci-fi became so uninteresting that some physicists took pen and began to popularise the unknown aspects of today science knowledge. And there are a lot of wonderful things. For example, the mystery of time. There is a British physicists Julian Barbour, who strongly believe that time doesn't even exists. His book "The End of Time" is a very interesting reading. There are also such problems as the enigma of human's consciousness and personality, the problem of the possibility of creation of artificial intellect, the problem of the possibility of trans-humanism, the problem of the existence of parallel worlds and so on.


    (Moderation comment: further discussion moved to the new thread.)
    Last edited by Lampada; November 20th, 2013 at 07:42 PM.

  6. #26
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    697
    Rep Power
    22
    Quote Originally Posted by it-ogo View Post
    Also I believe that the main purpose of SF is a social aspect rather than technical. Fiction literature is a humanitarian tool and solving technical problems with it does not look like a good idea. Can you name a single technical prediction of Jules Verne that does not come out as obvious fail? Submarines? Hey, sample submarines existed before Jules Verne. Jules Verne is about the spirit of the modern age, not about the particular technics or physical laws.
    Я придерживаюсь точки зрения, что хужественная литература в первую очередь для развлечения читателя. То есть опция "поднимать серьёзные и неоднозначные вопросы" — не умолчательная. Если, например, здесь будет топик типа "литература, которая заставляет задуматься", тогда конечно в нём будет важен именно аспект "гуманитарного инструмента".

    Но поскольку этот тред о развлекательной литературе, то для неё важны иные критерии. Люди обычно любят книги, схожие по сеттингу. В этом плане классификация фэнтэзи — мягкая НФ — труЪ НФ имеет практический смысл, т.к. помогает ориентироваться.

  7. #27
    Увлечённый спикер bublinka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Moscow, Russia
    Posts
    53
    Rep Power
    7
    It does not qualify as Russian SF, but:
    I just want to add, that Lem is better translated to Russian, than to English in my opinion. Possibly, word play is easier to translate due to similarity in Polish and Russian (I mean words like "электрыцарь" ).
    Lem is probably my favourite SF author, and I highly recommend everybody to read him. My personal favourite novel is "Эдем". It is about spaceship crashing on a planet with highly organized life forms and the problems of contacting and understanding them.
    Hanna likes this.

  8. #28
    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Fairfax, VA (Фэйрфэкс, ш. Виргиния, США)
    Posts
    1,592
    Rep Power
    34
    Quote Originally Posted by it-ogo View Post
    I don't see the point in searching for "unrealistic" details in SF.
    Well, it depends on how you define "unrealistic." Old sci-fi which assumed that Venus is covered with swampy jungles is "unrealistic", but not "unrealistic" in the same sense as modern sci-fi which assumes that spaceships will someday be able to travel through Einstein-Rosen bridges, aka wormholes.

    After all, early sci-fi about the "Swamp People of Venus" did not actually contradict the scientific information about Venus that was known at the time -- rather, the authors took advantage of the fact that there was practically NO scientific information about Venus back then!

    On the other hand, today's real-world physics predicts that IF Einstein-Rosen bridges actually exist at all, anything much larger than an electron would be crushed into "singularity" while attempting to pass through the wormhole. So, science-fiction which depicts ships going back and forth through wormholes is essentially "stealing" a valid concept from modern physics and using it in Magical and unrealistic way -- they might as well forget any pretense of science and solve the problem of interstellar travel by using the Floo Spell from Harry Potter!

    On the other hand, there's nothing necessarily wrong with this sort of unrealism. The classic Mote In God's Eye uses a variation on the wormhole so that ships can travel between stars instantly, but this "magical" premise is simply an excuse to bring humans into contact with extraterrestrials who are biologically, psychologically, and culturally very different from humans. In fact, the rather unusual sex lives of the aliens -- they're sequential hermaphrodites -- has played a major role in shaping their history and culture, and so you could argue that the novel is "hard" sci-fi from a socio-biologist's point-of-view, even though a physicist might consider it "science fantasy" or "soft."

    Do you really believe that it is possible to describe (and explain "scientifically") ALL aspects of common life and technology in a far future? "Orwell did not predict cell phones OMG He's so outdated!!!"
    If I were going to criticize Orwell for anything, it would be that he did not predict hackers! (In other words, he assumed that the two-way "telescreens" were, and would remain, under the permanent control of the totalitarian government, and that dissidents would not find a way to exploit the technology for subversive purposes.)
    Говорит Бегемот: "Dear citizens of MR -- please correct my Russian mistakes!"

  9. #29
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    339
    Rep Power
    10
    (Moderation comment: partially moved to the new thread.)

    Well, unlike faster-than-light travel, it doesn't blatantly violate known laws of physics
    The problem is, the impossibility of faster-than-light travel is not explained by any known law of physics. It's postulated "as is" and the whole physics theory is built upon that postulate. It's overall accepted, it's proved by innumerable experiment and observations but it never has been plausibly explained.
    On the other hand, today's real-world physics predicts that IF Einstein-Rosen bridges actually exist at all, anything much larger than an electron would be crushed into "singularity" while attempting to pass through the wormhole. So, science-fiction which depicts ships going back and forth through wormholes is essentially "stealing" a valid concept from modern physics and using it in Magical and unrealistic way -- they might as well forget any pretense of science and solve the problem of interstellar travel by using the Floo Spell from Harry Potter!
    I agree, but please remember, that however modern and strange and complicated the relativity may seem in fact it is a classical physics theory in the sense that it isn't a quantum theory. So nowadays it is perceived as outdated and needs to be redesigned in order to be built in the modern quantum perception of the world. As for the quantum theory, it opens doors to almost boundless flight of fantasy and speculations.
    Throbert McGee likes this.

  10. #30
    Почётный участник
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Russia
    Posts
    130
    Rep Power
    4
    I think, Strugarsky's books is very close to soviet regime. To understand it, you must understand sotivet regime. So, I can't recommend it to everybody.

    Another names of russian SF - Vyacheslav Rybakov (Вячеслав Рыбаков), Ilya Varshavsky (Илья Варшавский).

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12

Similar Threads

  1. Russian Science fiction?
    By GreenLarry in forum Book Reviews
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: May 4th, 2009, 01:07 PM
  2. Russian Interactive Fiction games
    By GrAndrey in forum Getting Started with Russian
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: January 15th, 2008, 12:31 PM
  3. Science fiction terms
    By Knave in forum Translate This!
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: June 7th, 2007, 02:21 AM
  4. Replies: 2
    Last Post: December 15th, 2006, 05:24 AM
  5. Need help transliterating Russian for America fiction
    By Wyel in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: August 23rd, 2006, 10:46 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


Russian Lessons                           

Russian Tests and Quizzes            

Russian Vocabulary