The term "Hard Sci-fi" is formed by analogy to the popular distinction between the "hard" (natural) and "soft" (social) sciences. Neither term is part of a rigorous taxonomy—instead they are approximate ways of characterizing stories that reviewers and commentators have found useful. The ...

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51
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2answers
8k views

Potatoes were alive and sprouted on Mars: How were they preserved on the journey there?

Please note: The biology related aspects of this question are posted here. In "The Martian" (2015), the protagonist grows potatoes on Mars. We see him using seemingly fresh potatoes as his seeds. ...
6
votes
0answers
97 views

SciFi book about Domes

I'm looking for the title of a book from 80s/90s. Some apocalyptic event and people live in domes. Different domes are for different things. Girl lives in one dome and wants to go to the Art dome to ...
2
votes
1answer
92 views

Did other writers adopt Asimov's concepts and terminology for changing time?

Summary: Did Asimov's time travel novel The End of Eternity influence other writers? In 1954, Isaac Asimov took a rejected short story and turned it into the clever time travel novel The End of ...
7
votes
0answers
64 views

West Coast tribal warfare with a dollop of aliens on the side

There is a novel that I can almost remember, from the late fifties or sixties, about conflict and ultimately war between various communities and states on America's west coast after a nuclear war or ...
4
votes
0answers
95 views

Where is Everybody? [duplicate]

Someone wrote a short story about the Fermi paradox—well, probably more than one person—but I have a specific story in mind. I can only recall the broad outline. A group of human explorers find a ...
10
votes
3answers
385 views

When was the first driverless car story written?

Reading the question about a future (the future) when non-automatic cars will be illegal, a moment sometimes called the automotive singularity, sparked the question in my mind about when the first ...
10
votes
1answer
199 views

SF short story about a patrol car on a “hyper-highway” at 400+ mph speeds

I'm trying to locate a short story, probably written in the 1970s but likely before the oil crisis, about a day in the lives of two officers and one medic on a patrol car riding the highways of the ...
4
votes
1answer
81 views

YA SF novel about 3 teens who survive a catastrophe in an underwater cave

My kids read a YA science fiction novel about three teens who survived a world-wide catastrophe by hiding in an underwater cave that they reached with a mini-sub. At the urging of my kids, I read the ...
5
votes
0answers
161 views

Short story about a boy raised in a “bubble” who becomes the smartest person alive

I'm trying to recall a story that must be sixty or seventy years old. I probably read it in an anthology. It felt old even when I read it. Here's what I remember: A baby was raised completely ...
11
votes
1answer
167 views

SF short story ID, written 40s—60s, primitive aliens who are much smarter than us

I'm looking for a story that was probably written somewhere from the 1940s to the 1960s. I think I read it in an anthology, possibly in the 1970s. A group of human explorers landed on a planet with ...
10
votes
1answer
343 views

1970s SF novel, story ID, eco war between insects & plants on one side, people on the other

I'm trying to recall a science fiction novel probably written in the 1970s. The United States was aggressively using pesticides, damaging the ecology of the planet. For some reasons, plant and insect ...
6
votes
1answer
96 views

What was the earliest science fiction story to use nanotechnology?

What was the first use of nanotechnology in a science fiction story? Richard Feynman gave a lecture "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom" in 1959 which defined many of the concepts of the ...
3
votes
1answer
130 views

First science fiction TV show

Is the BBC's pre-war live adaptation of Karel Capek's R.U.R., broadcast on February 11, 1938, the first science fiction television show? Originally, I would have thought that the American series ...
8
votes
1answer
215 views

SF Story identification 1960s story Analog magazine aliens conquer Earth by making everyone fall asleep

I'm trying to recall an SF story that was serialized in Analog magazine in the 1960s. Aliens invaded Earth by using a gas that made almost everyone fall asleep. A few individuals were either immune or ...
2
votes
2answers
98 views

How do distant clones solve the simultaneity problem in Diaspora?

Maybe I misundertand something, but I find Greg Egan's treatment of the simultaneity problem between distant clones in Diaspora problematic, strangely at odds with the overall technically detailed ...
15
votes
1answer
175 views

Book about two teenagers who find a physical constant changing device

This story was a favorite of mine back in my childhood (perhaps early 2000s) and was released in the 1960s. I later found it again in the early 2010s, and identified it as the same story, but I can't ...
10
votes
1answer
60 views

What happened to Paolo and the Transmuters at the end of Diaspora?

Greg Egan's Diaspora. At the end of the book, after Paolo and Yatima traveled up 267,904,176,383,054 levels of universes, where there were no more gateways to go through another level: Paolo’s ...
5
votes
1answer
151 views

First contact story where aliens are (discovered at the very end to be) anti-matter

Does anyone recall the name of a SF first contact story where humans encounter an alien ship, and use the weak force to define left and right. At the very end, as the human and alien space walk out to ...
11
votes
2answers
888 views

What sci-fi novel has the moon split into 7 pieces by an asteroid, threatening life on earth?

I am looking for the title of a novel that I only caught part of on audio. It takes place within our current time frame and deals with the Moon getting struck and fragmented into (initially) 7 pieces ...
3
votes
1answer
160 views

A short story about a soldier in the future

Looking for a short story about a soldier in the future on a mission. At a certain point he bites down on a banana shaped capsule under his tongue and the drug accelerates his metabolism for the ...
11
votes
2answers
261 views

Do Heinlein's novels mention a plausible zero-gravity cat litter box?

I have read a lot of science fiction works with cats being the optimal space pet. I know Heinlein was a cat person, and I am thinking he had a solution for cats doing their business in space, but I ...
4
votes
1answer
117 views

Looking for the name of a Sci Fi book about a dystopian future earth with no medical services [duplicate]

So this is killing me... I read the book some years ago. My premise was that I do not read enough different authors, so I started picking books at random going down the alphabet. This book was ...
2
votes
1answer
169 views

Forgotten YA female sci-fi author 80s/90s

I'm trying to remember a favorite author of mine when I was a kid. She (definitely a she) wrote YA science fiction (not fantasy) with female heroes. I'm fairly certain one was about Mars. Classic ...
12
votes
0answers
120 views

Astronauts on Europa (moon), time-shift future, gravity, intelligent computer, Aries, 1960s?

I'm looking for the title and artists of a comic about some astronauts (around five I think) doing research/archaeology on (I think) Europa (Jupiter's moon). They're working when one or more of them ...
1
vote
1answer
131 views

Time dilation in L. Ron Hubbard's “To the Stars”

So I just finished reading L. Ron Hubbard's novel To the Stars and noticed a rather glaring issue. The plot in the beginning speaks of a ship capable of near-light-speed travel which makes a return ...
3
votes
0answers
126 views

Trying to find a short sci-fi/horror story featuring another dimension with a god that feeds on pain/fear

This is going to be a long example so bear with me. Years ago I read a story online where an army (along with our main guy) from our dimension are sent into another to help the natives who are ...
12
votes
1answer
212 views

Time travel book from the 50's

I'm looking for a time travel book that my parents and I have both read. My father thinks he got it in the 50's. Plot: A man is murdered while conducting an experiment and wakes up in a different ...
1
vote
1answer
200 views

Story about linguist who deciphers alien language/script [duplicate]

I remember a short story or maybe novella about a first contact. The powers in place bring in a renowned linguist (female, iirc) and her team to help communicate with the aliens. Working off the ...
3
votes
3answers
194 views

First mention of antimatter as a weapon system

I am writing an essay about something semi related. When did the word or concept of antimatter first appear? When was it first used as a weapon system, in film, book or comic?
3
votes
1answer
140 views

How does the Berserker war end?

I read a bunch of short stories and novellas in the berserker series by Fred Saberhagen, but I can't recall if any stories detail the end of the war. I couldn't find any definitive info online either. ...
1
vote
1answer
97 views

What is the earliest instance of an “Adventurers' Guild” in fiction?

What is the earliest instance of an "Adventurers' Guild" in fiction? It doesn't have to be called an 'Adventurers' Guild', but the basic requirements are: It's a organization that expands and has ...
1
vote
1answer
909 views

Little boy with robotic gloves attached to one hand. What's the name of the show?

He was wondering or exploring, I don't know. He came into a place like a crash scene with a big dead robot - not that big, a little bit bigger than a human - and the boy had some kind of pet or robot ...
6
votes
1answer
107 views

How was the messaging system in The Arrows of Time (Orthogonal #3, by Greg Egan) supposed to work?

In particular, why didn't messages being relayed from the future use up bandwidth and prevent new messages from being sent back?
9
votes
2answers
1k views

How long could Miller's Planet remain in orbit

In Christopher Nolan's movie Interstellar, Miller's Planet is in orbit around a supermassive black hole affectionately (??) called Gargantua. Miller's Planet orbiting Gargantua: It is orbiting "at ...
2
votes
2answers
261 views

Kids animated tv show from the late 80's

I can only barely recall the images but thats it. Will do my best to explain, you give me the title! Main character; Female, white costume, has sort of flat hair with the rainbow streaks, touches a ...
4
votes
0answers
113 views

Sci-fi with space-mining scientists, personal internet - book identification help, please

About a year ago, my kindle was stolen and I'm really more upset that I can't track down the name of the book I had just sampled and was planning to purchase. I've since replaced the kindle, but I ...
8
votes
1answer
371 views

Story about a colony on a forest planet

A number of years ago, I read a novel of a colony on a world that was covered by dense forest. The native people were human-like but had prehensile toes and lived in the forest canopy layer in ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

What's the name of the book where a girl is built into a spacecraft?

There was a sci-fi book a book I saw about 10 years ago, that featured a society of people where (I think) some chose to become parts of spacecraft. I was very young at the time so i only remember ...
3
votes
1answer
216 views

Giant snails on a remote island

This story revolved around a guy who visited a remote island. There were giant snails there and he thought it amusing and could easily out run them ... for a while. Probably 50's. Ring a bell for ...
10
votes
1answer
953 views

Interstellar flight over generations

I read a story about an interstellar flight of a couple of ships to a distant star system that takes centuries. Generations of families live on the ships. They are fleeing from an earth at war. ...
2
votes
2answers
357 views

Accelerated decrepitude due to telomere length in Blade Runner?

PREAMBLE: Before there is debate, let me preface this question by stating that I am indeed aware of the question Why do replicants have a short lifespan? However, none of its answers adequately ...
4
votes
0answers
171 views

Search for title of military SF

I am trying to figure out the title and author of a military SF i read 1-2 years ago (2013/2014). The human race and its worlds are in a fight with a technology superior race of aliens that are in ...
0
votes
3answers
583 views

Why do all the fantasy and sci-fi movies and novels show extra-terrestrials as intelligent beings and more powerful than humans [closed]

I have always wondered that why do all the movies and sci-fi novels show ET's as more intelligent and powerful than us. Can't they be just dumb or below us in the intelligence aspect? Apart from ...
1
vote
1answer
131 views

Can a nuclear reactor be used as a space-based weapon? [closed]

Imagine you have a ship, running on nuclear reactor. We will assume this ship uses some kind of advanced technology that allows nuclear reactors to function in gravity-less environment. This ship is ...
2
votes
1answer
540 views

Short sci-fi story: aliens regret setting Earth's destruction in motion [duplicate]

The story is basically told from an alien's point of view. Essentially they observed us from far off, deemed us as violent and a danger to the universe, and set course (asteroid or something) to kill ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Short sci-fi story: aliens regret destroying Earth with asteroid or something

The story is basically told from an alien's point of view. Essentially they observed us from far off, deemed us as violent and a danger to the universe, and set course (asteroid or something) to kill ...
4
votes
0answers
271 views

Looking for a sci-fi novel about a ship with a neutron star at one end to counteract acceleration

I read this novel 30 years ago, so it's at least that old, but probably decently older. I can remember only details, but I remember an older couple (a woman, who was captain of a ship, I believe), ...
3
votes
2answers
198 views

80's 90's female protagonist descending a space elevator or a tall tree on another planet

I read a book in the late 80's or early 90's that involved a woman special operative. She was descending a space elevator or a large tree down to the the planet and she had bio tech embedded in her. ...
2
votes
1answer
158 views

Book about an industrialist that finds an animal in space that creates portals

I am looking for a sci-fi book I read in the late 80's or early 90's dealing with a a rich space industrialist that finds an animal in space that, when stimulated, creates propulsion. Later in the ...
13
votes
7answers
4k views

In science fiction, which planet with lifeforms has the largest gravitational force?

I've just started reading Foundation and Gaal Dornick has landed on Trantor for the first time and notices that: The air seemed thicker here, the gravity a bit greater, than on his home planet ...