Science in Fiction Part Four: Reality and Possibility

In the past three posts of the science in fiction series, I discussed time travel, space aliens, and technological advance. When it comes to writing science fiction, a writer’s main concern is often whether or not their story is realistic or believable. If a writer sticks to the laws of nature and physics, there is no dismissing the possibility that the events of the story could one day happen.

The real science of reality and possibility? If there is a .00000001% chance that something could happen, and there is infinite time in which events are taking place, it is 100% certain that the event will happen eventually. This means that theoretically, anything written in science fiction could possible occur. However, most readers will not take everything they read as realistic. A reader must possess this thing called suspension of disbelief. When reading a story, in particular one of the science fiction or fantasy persuasion, the reader must set aside their knowledge of the life they live, the culture, and in some occasions, the laws of physics. Many people have trouble with this, which is why it is important for a writer of science fiction to follow to the best of their ability the laws of nature that rule our world.

Can you think of any good science fiction books or films that were successful in sticking to the laws of physics?

In my opinion, science fiction can be an extremely difficult thing to read and enjoy if it does not seem believable. However, and to conclude with my favorite quote by Friedrich Nietzsche, “there is no truth; there is only perspective.” If someone believes a thing to be true, then even if it is not true, to that individual, it is true. If a reader’s suspension of disbelief is strong (but not so strong that they lose touch with reality, because that would probably be bad) then they are more likely to enjoy science fiction. If a writer is knowledgeable of the hard science that has been established, they will be more likely to be successful in stretching its boundaries to create an intriguing and enjoyable science fiction novel. 

Peace, Aimee