It Doesn't Have To Be Right…

… it just has to sound plausible

For every step forward…


… someone somewhere will be determined to drag you backwards. Everyone is talking about women in sf and the fact they’re appallingly under-represented… and Technology Review goes and publishes a list of The Best Hard Science Fiction Novels of All Time, which includes ten books, only one of which is by a woman sf writer. Sigh.

As if that weren’t enough, number two on their list is that well-known paragon of scientific rigour, The Time Machine by HG Wells. And, of course, there has to be a book by Asimov there too, though thankfully it’s not Foundation. Instead they picked I, Robot. I must admit, I’ve never understand the reverence in which the Three Laws are held. I mean, they’ve never been implemented in robots, there would be no point in doing so – robots, or “computer numerical control” machines, do exactly what their programming instructs them to do, and nothing more. So if you want a robot to kill a person, you simply put that in its instruction set.

As for the rest of Technology Review’s list… they’ve not made entirely embarrassing choices, though I wouldn’t actually classify many of the books on the list as hard sf. Still, as lists of science fiction works go, it’s a pretty poor job.

2 thoughts on “For every step forward…

  1. I’m trying to work out which British ladies are hard science fiction writers? Any indications?
    Best wishes, Rosie

  2. If you *were* only going to pick one by a woman, though, Cyteen’s a pretty good choice – I’m midway through a reread at the moment. It’s the best on their list IMO, with important things to say about childhood and indentity (as, actually, has The Diamond Age, also on their list), and I don’t think I can name a clearly better novel – by anyone, in any genre.

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