Questions tagged [hard-sci-fi]

For questions about "hard" science fiction, use on [story-identification] questions when the work is hard sci-fi and for questions about hard sci-fi in general.

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96
votes
10answers
9k views

Which was the first novel set in universes where P=NP?

I wonder whether anyone has written a novel set in a universe where P=NP, in the event that there is more than one, which was the first? In this universe all problems that could be verified in ...
77
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5answers
4k views

Invisibility should cause blindness: how does hard sf cope? [closed]

One problem I've always thought of with science fiction characters becoming invisible is that they should go blind, because their retina does not catch any light. Obviously a lot of soft SF or ...
53
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2answers
9k 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. ...
50
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5answers
11k views

Why does Michael Crichton use US Customary measurements in hard sci-fi?

The great Crichton is known for thoroughly researching his subject areas for each different book, evident from the extensive bibliography in the end and the checkable facts throughout the book. This ...
43
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7answers
3k views

What are the criteria for defining “hard” science fiction? [closed]

The term "hard" science fiction is used for sf that corresponds to our currently understood science models of the universe. The exact definition of what counts as hard science fiction is too ...
43
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2answers
2k views

Artificial lifeform trying to establish contact through compiler bugs [duplicate]

I am looking for a short story I read online a few years ago, about artificial lifeform, with a hard sci-fi taste. A couple of software engineers were trying to identify a strange program behavior on ...
34
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1answer
990 views

What book has space arks crewed by slaves leaving earth?

I will give as much detail as I can remember. I first read the book in 1980. I have searched sci-fi books back to the 1940's and still can't find this book. I believe it may either be a really old ...
29
votes
1answer
2k views

Name of a sci-fi story about time travel

There was a short novel I found in my library few years ago, whose title nor author I don't remember. It was in a hard sci-fi setting: there was a pair of characters (man and woman) which traveled ...
27
votes
1answer
3k views

Book set in two universes [duplicate]

I am trying to remember the name of a book I read when I was a teenager about 20 odd years ago. I think it was written in the 70's or 80's. The premise of the book as I remember it is as follows. ...
27
votes
1answer
2k views

Identity novel, short story or book series… slower than light space battles, time dilation and boardings, several planets [duplicate]

Ok. So I read books as a kid, this may have been mid to late 1980s. Definitely before 1993. These details I remember, they might be from the same book or from several: Slower than light space travel ...
27
votes
2answers
2k views

Book about a physicist who discovers how to create universes with different laws of physics

I'm looking for a book I read 10–20 years ago about a physicist who accidentally discovered how to create universes. I think she worked at a collider. (I don't remember if it was a real collider like ...
26
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2answers
3k views

Book with tesseracts Story ID [duplicate]

I read this book in 2007 but it was a old book (1960s I believe) and it was about these kids who met these 3 old ladies with names like "What" ,"Who" and another one. They find out their father is on ...
26
votes
1answer
3k views

Story ID: plugging vacuum leak with one's butt

I'm certain this story was no later than 1980, and written in the 1950s-60s is probably much more like it. I'm pretty sure I read it in a collection rather than a magazine, but of course that could ...
26
votes
1answer
804 views

Tracking down a short story with the term “abnotechia” or “abtechnological”

Hi I am curious about the term "abnotechia" which I encountered in a short story that I am now trying to look up, but google searches are coming up empty. I am pretty sure the story appeared ...
24
votes
1answer
3k views

A prison in the corona of a star holds society's only murderer

I'm trying to find this sci-fi book, I remember there was a prison, I think made of a hollow asteroid, orbiting inside the corona of a star. It was built by this advanced society to hold their only ...
23
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2answers
1k views

Out-of-control starship results in some crew members landing in a rebirthed universe?

I think this was a classic "golden oldie" hard sci-fi novel or novella published at least several decades ago. I recollect: An accident or crew mutiny causes the ship's ramjet or similar engine to ...
23
votes
2answers
2k views

How does the scientists version of the Lords Prayer (Our Father) go?

I read this in a book from the 60s-70s, surely not 80s. But there was a version of the Lords Prayer adapted for Scientists. Now, the normal Lords Prayer goes something like this: Our Father, who art ...
22
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4answers
3k views

How “hard” is the science behind the genetics mentioned in Blade Runner?

How accurately does the science in Blade Runner reflect the current understanding of genetics?
22
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0answers
435 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 ...
20
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7answers
2k views

Asimov's laws in pseudocode or applying the 3 laws today [closed]

I first asked this at Writers.SE but was advised I might do better here... I am working on a science fiction novel that will involve a large quantity and variety of synthetic life forms. I have been ...
19
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1answer
2k views

Novel about alien species made of gas rings?

I read a novel where several enemy alien species were stranded together on an interdicted planet. They had to recycle everything and keep hidden. By "keep hidden" I mean make sure there is no ...
18
votes
1answer
848 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 ...
18
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1answer
2k views

Short story about Nobel Prize winning scientists that drop out when they realise they were incorrect

It's a short story that I read in an anthology a few years ago. The premise is several scientists are preparing to go to Geneva to accept the Nobel Prize for their work in astrophysics. But one of ...
18
votes
1answer
442 views

Sci-fi story with the premise that spacetime geometry is Riemannian

I'm trying to find a hard sci-fi story where one of the major premises was that the world has a Riemannian geometry (x^2+y^2+z^2 + t^2) instead of the real world's Minkowski geometry (x^2+y^2+z^2 - t^...
18
votes
1answer
527 views

Old sci-fi story about the guy waking up women from cryostasis

It involved a long-term space trip and the inhabitants could only be put to sleep once because the second cryo was too much for their body and they would die. The man literally went through every ...
16
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8answers
5k 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 of ...
16
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2answers
3k views

What would the sky look like standing inside a Dyson Sphere? [closed]

I am working on a roleplaying campaign guide set inside a Dyson Sphere. It's a solid shell around a star like our own and is 300 million kilometers across centered on the star. The atmosphere hugs ...
16
votes
1answer
2k views

Do you know this insect asteroid story?

I remember reading a science fiction short story about an asteroid being discovered that is filled with ant-like insects. Initial attempts to investigate are frustrated by aggressive response from ...
16
votes
1answer
294 views

Sci-fi book featuring xenophobic aliens with hydraulic activated limbs

I am looking for the title of a sci-fi book with an interesting plot and have had no luck finding it. The Plot: Humans working at the edge of the solar system discover a xenophobic alien race that ...
16
votes
1answer
850 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
604 views

Looking for a short SF story about two ultra-fast ships flying around the entire universe

I'm trying to find a story I read maybe fifteen or twenty years ago. The story itself might be much older, of course: it had a 1950's - 60's 'golden age of hard SF' feel to it. As I remember it, ...
16
votes
2answers
382 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 ...
15
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1answer
1k views

Sci-Fi story where human astronauts barf up their guts like sea cucumbers

I read a short story where astronauts became infected with something that made them barf up their insides and regrow them, like sea cucumbers. In the end, this is how one of the characters learns that ...
15
votes
1answer
646 views

Trying to find a book about rediscovered space travel after interstellar war isolates planets

The book is written in the 1980s. The storyline is about an early 20th century level technology planet getting visited by a spaceship which causes quite a stir. The visitors start helping to ...
15
votes
1answer
3k views

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

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 ...
15
votes
2answers
631 views

What SF novel or short story features characters that can only communicate with musical instruments?

I would like to find out the title of the book or short story that meets this criteria. Science Fiction novel that the characters use only musical instruments (eg. saxophone, guitar, violin, piano, ...
15
votes
1answer
395 views

In “Spin” by Robert Charles Wilson, why was it called “the spin?”

I just finished this book, and I never understood why the phenomena/event was called "the spin."
14
votes
1answer
2k views

Trying to find a sci-fi series about a teenage boy genius that I read as a kid?

I'm looking for a series from around the same era as the Hardy Boys (I'm guessing 1940s to 1960s), its about a teenage boy who is a science genius, and has access to a lab where he invents and builds ...
14
votes
1answer
922 views

What is the name of this scifi movie with an AI robot on another planet gone rogue

It's been 10 or 20 years since I've seen this science fiction movie, it's bugging me I can't find it. I'll describe the plot the best I can. A number of crewmen board a manned space mission to ...
14
votes
1answer
372 views

I am trying to find a story that I read online some time ago. (uploading, similar to “Accelerando”, “natural reserve” for humans)

This is what I remember: I think the author was not a professional writer but the story was cited in other webs. A main theme was "uploading". The pace remembered me to "Accelerando" by Charles ...
14
votes
1answer
436 views

Earthman has super-strength on an alien world and wins leadership tournaments

There is an old short story of a man who discovers humans have super-strength on an alien world out in the still being explored outer reaches of space. Every seven years or so they had tournaments to ...
13
votes
6answers
5k views

How does a Dyson Sphere's inhabitants deal without gravity? [closed]

It's well known that because the gravitational attaction at one point on the inside of a hollow shell is zero, because it is cancelled by the attraction from all the other points on the interior. ...
13
votes
5answers
531 views

What is a good example of a progression from the current state of Cryogenic freezing, to a working system used for interstellar travel? [closed]

In all of the books that I read, the intermediate steps in turning cryonics into a useful technology seem to be glossed over, and the actual implementation is not described in great detail. Is there ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Is Asimov’s “The End of Eternity” time-changing model consistent?

When I think of Asimov I imagine the greatest sci-fi writer in history: Maybe this isn’t true, but I was very impressed by some of his ideas and I expect always to find great ones when I read his ...
13
votes
3answers
758 views

Is exponential population growth in The Amalgam addressed in Greg Egan's books?

The Amalgam is a galaxy-wide conglomerate of intelligent species that have the technology to scan their brains; it turns up in several of Greg Egan's short stories ("Glory" and "Riding the Crocodile")...
13
votes
1answer
313 views

Sci-fi short story about stranded pilots on frozen planet

I can recall nearly the entire story, but not the author or the title. Two pilots land on a frozen planet (Pluto, I think?) The landing thaws the ice, and it subsequently freezes trapping them. They ...
13
votes
2answers
903 views

In Singularity Sky, why did Eschaton kidnap majority of the Earth's population?

Was a simple warning not enough? Or was it a demonstration of power?
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Can someone help me figure out the name of a sci-fi book about space travel at the speed of light? [duplicate]

I read this book when I was much younger and can't remember the name of it but I remember it's one of the best books I've ever read. It starts with this young girl that bumps into an older lady, the ...
13
votes
1answer
164 views

Story with liquid vat computer that evolves programs by growing conductive veins through the vat

This is a story I've been trying to find for years. A scientist has built some sort of computer that is a vat of liquid chemicals. It automatically evolves programs by growing conductive veins through ...
13
votes
1answer
321 views

Sci-fi short “story” presented as rules for a game?

Read a great short story earlier this year, I am now tearing my hair out trying to find it again. It's game rules for a mechanical interpretation of a catastrophic event we caused to another species. ...

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