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Photograph of a man sitting in a chair.
Arthur C. Clarke, one of the significant writers of hard science fiction.
Black and white photograph of a man, in the foreground, sitting at a table.
Poul Anderson, author of Tau Zero, "Kyrie" and others.

Hard science fiction is a category of science fiction characterized by an emphasis on scientific accuracy or technical detail or both.<ref name="nicholls1993">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref><ref name="wolfe1986">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> The term was first used in print in 1957 by P. Schuyler Miller in a review of John W. Campbell, Jr.'s Islands of Space in Astounding Science Fiction.<ref name="jesse2005">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref><ref name="hartwell2002intro">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref><ref name="westfahl1996">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> The complementary term soft science fiction, formed by analogy to hard science fiction,<ref name="jesse2005b">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }})</ref> first appeared in the late 1970s. The term is formed by analogy to the popular distinction between the "hard" (natural) and "soft" (social) sciences. Science fiction critic Gary Westfahl argues that neither term is part of a rigorous taxonomy; instead they are approximate ways of characterizing stories that reviewers and commentators have found useful.<ref name="westfahl2008">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>

Stories revolving around scientific and technical consistency were written as early as the 1870s with the publication of Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea in 1870 and Around the World in 80 Days in 1873, among other stories. The attention to detail in Verne's work became an inspiration for many future scientists and explorers,{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }} although Verne himself denied writing as a scientist or seriously predicting machines and technology of the future.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }}

Today, the term "soft science fiction" is also often used to refer to science fiction stories which lack any scientific focus or rigorous adherence to known science. The categorization "hard science fiction" represents a position on a broad continuum—ranging from "softer" to "harder".<ref name="westfahl2008"/>


Hard science fiction sections
Intro  Scientific rigor  Representative works  See also  Notes  References  Further reading  External links  

PREVIOUS: IntroNEXT: Scientific rigor
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Science::science    Fiction::fiction    First::title    Editor::novel    David::westfahl    Hartwell::stories

Photograph of a man sitting in a chair.
Arthur C. Clarke, one of the significant writers of hard science fiction.
Black and white photograph of a man, in the foreground, sitting at a table.
Poul Anderson, author of Tau Zero, "Kyrie" and others.

Hard science fiction is a category of science fiction characterized by an emphasis on scientific accuracy or technical detail or both.<ref name="nicholls1993">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref><ref name="wolfe1986">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> The term was first used in print in 1957 by P. Schuyler Miller in a review of John W. Campbell, Jr.'s Islands of Space in Astounding Science Fiction.<ref name="jesse2005">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref><ref name="hartwell2002intro">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref><ref name="westfahl1996">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> The complementary term soft science fiction, formed by analogy to hard science fiction,<ref name="jesse2005b">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }})</ref> first appeared in the late 1970s. The term is formed by analogy to the popular distinction between the "hard" (natural) and "soft" (social) sciences. Science fiction critic Gary Westfahl argues that neither term is part of a rigorous taxonomy; instead they are approximate ways of characterizing stories that reviewers and commentators have found useful.<ref name="westfahl2008">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>

Stories revolving around scientific and technical consistency were written as early as the 1870s with the publication of Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea in 1870 and Around the World in 80 Days in 1873, among other stories. The attention to detail in Verne's work became an inspiration for many future scientists and explorers,{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }} although Verne himself denied writing as a scientist or seriously predicting machines and technology of the future.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }}

Today, the term "soft science fiction" is also often used to refer to science fiction stories which lack any scientific focus or rigorous adherence to known science. The categorization "hard science fiction" represents a position on a broad continuum—ranging from "softer" to "harder".<ref name="westfahl2008"/>


Hard science fiction sections
Intro  Scientific rigor  Representative works  See also  Notes  References  Further reading  External links  

PREVIOUS: IntroNEXT: Scientific rigor
<<>>