SCIENCE FICTION QUOTES

quotations about science fiction

Science Fiction quote

When I was a young writer if you went to a party and told somebody you were a science-fiction writer you would be insulted. They would call you Flash Gordon all evening, or Buck Rogers.

RAY BRADBURY, The Paris Review, spring 2010

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At some point, every science fiction and fantasy story must challenge the reader's experience and learning. That's much of the reason why the genre is so open to experimentation and innovation that other genres reject--strangeness is our bread and butter. Spread it thick or slice it thin, it's still our staff of life.

ORSON SCOTT CARD, How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy

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The science fiction method is dissection and reconstruction. You look at the world around you, and you take it apart into all its components. Then you take some of those components, throw them away, and plug in different ones, start it up and see what happens. That's the method: restructure the world we live in in some way, then see what happens.

FREDERIK POHL, Locus Magazine, October 2000

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Science fiction is often described, and even defined, as extrapolative. The science fiction writer is supposed to take a trend or phenomenon of the here-and-now, purify and intensify it for dramatic effect, and extend it into the future. "If this goes on, this is what will happen." A prediction is made. Method and results much resemble those of a scientist who feeds large doses of purified and concentrated food additive to mice, in order to predict what may happen to people who eat it in small quantities for a long time. The outcome seems almost inevitably to be cancer. So does the outcome of extrapolation. Strictly extrapolative works of science fiction generally arrive about where the Club of Rome arrives: somewhere between the gradual extinction of human liberty and the total extinction of terrestrial life.

URSULA K. LE GUIN, introduction, The Left Hand of Darkness

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Historically, I guess that's how science fiction works: you start by using aliens to think the unthinkable -- and then, eventually, another writer, having grown a little more comfortable with the earlier notion, brings it into the human.

SAMUEL R. DELANY, interview, Nerve, June 14, 2001

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As science fiction writers began to get their first glimmerings of the kind of power that computers might someday control, their immediate reaction was one of panic. Even through the 1960s, this view of computers as powerful gods did not change; it only became more sophisticated. For instance, Arthur C. Clarke wrote a short story that began with every telephone on earth ringing at the same time. Over the course of the next few hours, there were an extraordinary number of plane crashes and accidents. The punch line of the story was that the communications network that linked every machine on the planet into one vast consciousness had finally "awakened." The ringing of the phones was the birth cry of the baby and the crash of the planes was its first attempt to play. And so on. The idea was this: When the consciousness wakes up, watch out.

DAVID GERROLD, InfoWorld, July 5, 1982

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I often use the metaphor of Perseus and the head of Medusa when I speak of science fiction. Instead of looking into the face of truth, you look over your shoulder into the bronze surface of a reflecting shield. Then you reach back with your sword and cut off the head of Medusa. Science fiction pretends to look into the future but it's really looking at a reflection of what is already in front of us. So you have a ricochet vision, a ricochet that enables you to have fun with it, instead of being self-conscious and superintellectual.

RAY BRADBURY, The Paris Review, spring 2010

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Many of the early greats of sf -- Hugo Gernsback (publisher of Amazing Stories) in particular -- saw themselves as educators. The didactic thrust of science fiction got the genre initially pegged as children's fare. It was seen, at its best, as an extension of school and, at its worst, as teenage wish fulfillment.

SAMUEL R. DELANY, interview, Nerve, June 14, 2001

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I ... wanted science fiction to be more naturalistic. There had been a poverty of description in much of it. The technology depicted was so slick and clean that it was practically invisible. What would any given SF favorite look like if we could crank up the resolution? As it was then, much of it was like video games before the invention of fractal dirt. I wanted to see dirt in the corners.

WILLIAM GIBSON, The Paris Review, summer 2011

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There are a number of writers who innovate, who attack the problems of human reaction to scientific advance, who talk about the human condition in a technological world, and who have the long view. These are the carriers of the torch. The ones who content themselves with a tiny bit of "sense of wonder" are within the fold, but they're the same sorts who were always writing the "gave a mighty whack and green ichor flowed..." sort of yarn. Now, unfortunately, they're touted to the skies and given slick covers, while the real books languish in the niches and don't get much promotion. That's where sf conventions ought to come in -- rather than spending their time and effort talking about the latest tv creation and trying to up their numbers.... The torch is still burning, but it's been passed with far less publicity than it deserves.

C. J. CHERRYH, interview, SFRevu, June 1, 2004

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I'm sorry to disappoint science fiction fans, but if information is preserved, there is no possibility of using black holes to travel to other universes. If you jump into a black hole, your mass energy will be returned to our universe but in a mangled form which contains the information about what you were like but in a state where it can not be easily recognized. It is like burning an encyclopedia. Information is not lost, if one keeps the smoke and the ashes. But it is difficult to read. In practice, it would be too difficult to re-build a macroscopic object like an encyclopedia that fell inside a black hole from information in the radiation, but the information preserving result is important for microscopic processes involving virtual black holes.

STEPHEN HAWKING, "Information Loss in Black Holes", July 2005

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In science fiction, we dream. In order to colonize in space, to rebuild our cities, which are so far out of whack, to tackle any number of problems, we must imagine the future, including the new technologies that are required.

RAY BRADBURY, Playboy, 1996

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A snappy label and a manifesto would have been two of the very last things on my own career want list. That label enabled mainstream science fiction to safely assimilate our dissident influence, such as it was. Cyberpunk could then be embraced and given prizes and patted on the head, and genre science fiction could continue unchanged.

WILLIAM GIBSON, The Paris Review, summer 2011

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I suppose that literature as it is won't die, science fiction included. But games are becoming an extremely important part of the science fiction world, including games that are adapted from books (or vice versa: books that are adapted from games). It's wonderful to have the opportunity to play and see your favorite characters on the screen, but the opportunity to read a book does not become less attractive.

SERGEI LUKYANENKO, interview, Strange Horizons, November 28, 2011

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Some writers are still blindly enamored with science and gadgetry, but I don't think it's as prevalent as it once was. Almost everybody these days pays lip service to literary value; some people talk the talk without walking the walk, but I do believe that most SF/fantasy writers are aiming above the least common denominator.

JAMES ALAN GARDNER, Strange Horizons, January 7, 2002

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Most of what I do is science fiction. Some of the things I do are fantasy. I don't like the labels, they're marketing tools, and I certainly don't worry about them when I'm writing. They are also inhibiting factors; you wind up not getting read by certain people, or not getting sold to certain people because they think they know what you write. You say science fiction and everybody thinks Star Wars or Star Trek.

OCTAVIA E. BUTLER, interview, 1991

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That's really what SF is all about, you know: the big reality that pervades the real world we live in: the reality of change. Science fiction is the very literature of change. In fact, it is the only such literature we have.

FREDERIK POHL, attributed, Science Fiction Authors: A Research Guide

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One of the biggest roles of science fiction is to prepare people to accept the future without pain and to encourage a flexibility of mind. Politicians should read science fiction, not westerns and detective stories. Two-thirds of 2001 is realistic -- hardware and technology -- to establish background for the metaphysical, philosophical, and religious meanings later.

ARTHUR C. CLARKE, attributed, The Making of Kubrick's 2001

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Science fiction is any idea that occurs in the head and doesn't exist yet, but soon will, and will change everything for everybody, and nothing will ever be the same again. As soon as you have an idea that changes some small part of the world you are writing science fiction. It is always the art of the possible, never the impossible.

RAY BRADBURY, The Paris Review, spring 2010

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The reason that I like SF and fantasy and horror is that to me it's the pulp wing of surrealism. That's the aesthetic of undermining and creative alienation that I really go for.

CHINA MIÉVILLE, interview, 3:AM Magazine, 2003

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