• C.W. Phelps

Hard vs Soft, What Turns You On?

Updated: Jul 14

What really gets you in the mood to read? Do you need the world to make sense? Do you crave simi-provable facts to help grind you into the setting of the story. An anchor of loosely based logic so hard that it keeps you tied down and tethered? You want, no need, to know exactly how that laser drill operates! After all, it’s the linchpin to saving the mining populace of Mars, and the mechanics of which really get your blood pumping…

Or maybe you prefer softer touches. The science in your fiction is more like a gentle caress. It reminds you that the future is playing out across the pages, but your real focus is on the pulsating characters. The handsome protagonist holds his blaster aloft and shoots straight, blasting away at the enemy, while the heat of it beads sweat across his skin. There are no manual explanations here, just a man, and his blaster.

Hard science fiction is just that, hard. It sticks to reality-based facts meant to create a sense of plausibility for the reader. The science and technology are integral to the plot of the story, but while the science is realistic, the technology is more theoretically possible. It pulls from all realms of science as well, math, physics, engineering, computer science, often even biology and chemistry. The more accurate the story is on these facts, the harder the Sci-Fi is considered to be.

However, to maintain the element of being ‘science fiction’ the story cannot fall too far outside of the realm of believably. Soft science fiction must flirt with that line carefully, or else it falls into the genre of fantasy. The science here is realistic, or at least can sound that way. However, it the facts are un-proven, or outright idealistic. What really matters in soft science fiction are the characters, their relationships and culture are what’s integral to the plot, the science is just part of their environment. Their science is also founded in elements of psychology, politics, history, sociology, and even economics.

Next week, we'll go alittle deeper into these two sides.

Until then friends, keep reading!

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