Zeroing in on Science Friction – Summary | Major English Grade XII

Gray Goshgarian

Zeroing in on Science Friction – Summary | Major English Grade XII

Zeroing in on Science Friction

In his essay “Zeroing in on Science Fiction” Gary Goshgarin defines science fiction as the branch of literature that imaginatively speculates human life in the scientific or technological world.

Science fiction differs from other kinds of fiction in the sense that science fiction always gives a scientific logic for any imagination. It does not present any event without scientific rationale. In other kinds of fiction, the consequences are caused by magic or supernatural powers. Science fiction always predicts possibility while other kinds of fiction may present an event that is impossible. Goshgarin thinks that Frankenstein is science fiction while Dracula is fantasy fiction.

Goshgarin also distinguishes between Hard SF and Soft SF. Hard SF takes help of known principles and inventions to fill their stories with scientific jargon. The heroes are usually scientists or engineers. The readers with good knowledge of science can only enjoy this type of fiction. Caves of Steel by Asimov is a Hard SF. Soft SF takes help of sociology, anthropology, psychology, philosophy and other branches of knowledge to show the moral and social results of scientific advancement. It deals with how scientific developments will influence morality, evolution, and the environment. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess is Soft SF.

Important Questions:

  • How does Ghoshgarin draw a distinction between hard science and soft science fiction?
  • How does Goshgarin distinguish science fiction from other kinds of fiction?

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