|Squids in Fiction!|
Even if you never studied mathematics, as a primate you can think of events in your environment as existing in a phase space. Start with what we call "space" and think about how objects behave in space and time.
Newton can realize (and mathematically confirm) that the same force that controls the trajectory of an apple controls the trajectory (orbit) of the Moon.
After a million years of bipedal primates wondering about what held the Moon in the sky, careful thinking, a few measurements and mathematics solved the mystery. Just how widely can we apes apply phase space analysis? Let's try using it to study fiction.
|A fiction phase space (click image to enlarge).|
For the image to the left, I arbitrarily labeled the three axes with skepticism, wonder and humor. Also, I arbitrarily labeled three attractors as Fantasy, Mystery and Science Fiction.
I'm thinking of the color-coded blobs in this diagram as mapping out popular literary genres. Let's say that red shading in the diagram indicates the most popular types of stories in each genre.
I recently blogged about a short story written by Isaac Asimov called "Cal". Cal is an example of a story that manages to simultaneously include elements of science fiction, mystery and fantasy (see the fms attractor in the diagram to the right).
s" in this diagram represents stories that are both mysteries and science fiction. Example's of such stories are the positronic robot stories that feature Asimov's futuristic detective, Lije Baley.
The Great Attractor
|skepticism and wonder|
ufologists" and "new wave" believers in "UFO religions".
Even before I had discovered the existence of the science fiction literature I read Chariots of the Gods? by Erich von Däniken. In my case, I grew up reading science before I discovered either printed science fiction stories or psuedoscience. However, for some people, psuedoscience and conspiracy theory dominates their world view. There have always been some people who believe in a flat Earth, Atlantis or the idea that space aliens secretly live among us.
|The Event will probably be in 2016!|
I'm intrigued by the fact that there have always been such "believers" at the fringe of the science fiction genre. For examples, I point to both the Shaver mystery and to John W. Campbell's fascination with what Frederik Pohl called "magic", such as L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics.
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|The Great Attractor|
Here in this blog, I sometimes lapse into playing the role of a character in the Exode Trilogy. I've had a lot of fun writing myself into my own science fiction story, but I don't have any trouble keeping clear in my thoughts the difference between fiction and non-fiction.
Related Reading: "there are some works that bridge the gap between speculative and realistic fiction" -Tom Rothamel
Recursive science fiction
Next: human breeding projects
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