The Loom

i-5e40ae8530abd6d05be0150bcc52bc95-blob poster.jpgUniversity of Washington paleontologist Peter Ward and I are talking again on bloggingheads–this time about aliens. Ward explains why science fiction writers hate him, and why we need to breed tiny astronauts if we ever want to get out of our solar system. Check it out.

Poster from Wikimedia Commons, Headline Defiled From Shelley

Comments

  1. #1 Jonathan Vos Post
    February 2, 2008

    With all due respect, and with my compliments for your estimable work, as a prolific scientist and science fiction author/editor/publisher (you know my co-authors and co-editors Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, and Richard Feynman), I refer you to the biographic and bibliographic data on over 9,390 Science Fiction / Fantasy / Horror authors, and roughly 25,000 books, films, TV shows, and stories, that I’ve assembled, verified, and placed online in the award-winning 12-year-old 15,000,000 hit/year web domain magicdragon.com

    I also specifically refer you to the comparative alien-ology (overlapping the hardcopy chapters of this published as noted online):

    Me Human, You Alien: How to Talk to an Extraterrestrial
    by
    Jonathan Vos Post
    (c) 1996 by Emerald City Publishing
    an excerpt from a book entitled MAKING CONTACT: A SERIOUS HANDBOOK FOR LOCATING AND COMMUNICATING WITH EXTRATERRESTRIALS, edited by Bill Fawcett,
    July 1997, New York: William Morrow & Co.
    http://www.magicdragon.com/EmeraldCity/extraterrestrials/alien.html

    and

    ALIENS: MOVIES AND TV-MOVIES ABOUT ALIENS
    http://www.magicdragon.com/UltimateSF/aliens.html

  2. #2 Homie Bear
    February 2, 2008

    I think science fiction exists precisely because we can’t get out there- not yet, and possibly, as Ward says, not ever. If we got out there and discovered the Oompaloompians we wouldn’t need sci-fi anymore because we would know there were Oompaloompians. And of course SF is not just about aliens and interstellar travel.
    Another thing that got me thinking – I wonder if there are analogous processes to plate tectonics that could occur on more massive planets- fodder for the SF writers!

  3. #3 razib
    February 2, 2008

    benford was the other one besides brin. he was at UCSD for a while.

  4. #4 Jonathan Vos Post
    February 2, 2008

    Yes, of course Homie Bear is right: “… SF is not just about aliens and interstellar travel…”

    And razib is mostly right about G. David Brin — who got a Ph.D. in Astrophysics in greater San Diego; and prof. benford was acting Chair of Astrophysics at U.C. Irvine.

    Get my longer comment from about 6 hours ago (with two URLs) out of the queue where ScienceBlogs automatically sequestered it, and find out more from me as Scientist / Science Fiction author who actually went to Caltech with Dave Brin, co-edited a book with Brin and Sir Arthur C. Clarke, and was mentioned by name (as was my wife) in Greg Bear’s “The Forge of God.” Bear, you know? The 3rd of the “Killer B’s (Brin, Bear, Benford) now available in their authorized trilogy sequel to Asimov’s Foundation novels. The same Asimov who published me in an anthology of his, and who was my guest when I appeared on the NBC-TV Today Show, explicitly comparing the Real Space program (where I worked on Voyager, Magellan, Galileo, Space Shuttle, Space Station, Moonbase design, marsbase design, and Interstellar robot craft design)

    Look, if you want an encyclopedic breakdown of the THEMES of science Fiction (with hundreds of citations) and chronology and cross-reference to TV and film and science literature, just check out my vast “Ultimate Science Fiction Web Guide” as a subdomain of the domain hotlinked right here, and the 2 URLs in the previous comment that you can’t see right now.

    Pretty please?

  5. #5 DrugMonkey
    February 3, 2008

    John McCain’s pretty dinky, flight qualified and proven tough. let’s use him.

  6. #6 pxcampbell
    February 3, 2008

    This sci fi writer is not going to shoot himself yet.

    Sure, the critters 650 million years ago on Earth were small, but the premise of most sci fi is that advanced races come from planets closer in — and older than Earth. Therefore more evolved.

    Interesting science, to be sure, but not plausible fiction.

  7. #7 Doug
    February 3, 2008

    Hi Carl,
    Maybe you should also collaborate with Paul Davies, “physicist, cosmologist and astrobiologist working at Arizona State University”.

    I thought that Davies may have overlooked H2S in an hot environment [contrasted with methane/ethane in cold] and wonder if geomagnetic revesals may allow for reversed chiralty such as dextro-Amino_Acids, levo-sugars or levo-Nucleic_Acids?

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