Thursday, 21 April 2011

Of Science Fiction and Science

Which came first, the Science or the Science Fiction?

Science permeates nearly all of my writing. Most of my published short stories to date have been Science Fiction. Even my less SciFi work usually includes scientific themes. You could put this down to the fact that I work in a scientific field (oceanography). But you’d be wrong.

Science Fiction came first.

When I was eleven I read my first Asimov story. It was Nightfall, and it changed my reading habits for ever.

The ideas in the Science Fiction I read inspired me, stretched my imagination, made me question the world around me. I moved on to Wyndham and Hoyle, to Bradbury and Vonnegut, to Gibson, MacLeod and Baxter.

Don’t get me wrong – I read across lots of genres. But it was Science Fiction that changed my life. You see, somewhere between Wyndham and Holye I decided that I was going to become a scientist.

And so I did.

I can’t help noticing that it isn’t unusual for SciFi writers to have a background in science. In fact both Asimov and Hoyle were very eminent in their respective fields.

I wonder which came first for them?


  1. Kate, I read my first sci-fi story at the age of six and it had the same effect on me. By seven, I knew I wanted to be a scientist. And I became one. And now I'm a sci-fi writer. Full circle.

  2. I'm sure a great many scientists were switched on to the wonders of the universe (sorry, going a bit Brain Cox there) by SF. And of course SF ideas have then fed back into proper science. It's a fascinating area.

  3. Guess I blow average, as I do not have a scientific background.

  4. Hi Graywave. How interesting - from SF to science and back to SF. You must let me know what your field was.

    Ah yes, Simon. The SF to today is the science of tomorrow. It is indeed a fascinating area.

    And Alex, I bet you have an interest though :-)


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