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Rubber science

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Rubber science

Rubber science is a science fiction term describing a quasi-scientific explanation for an aspect of a science fiction setting. Rubber science explanations are fictional but sound convincing enough to avoid upsetting the suspension of disbelief. Rubber science is a feature of most genres of science fiction, with the exception of hard science fiction. It is also frequently invoked in comic books.[1][2]

The term was coined by Norman Spinrad in an essay entitled "Rubber Sciences", in Reginald Bretnor's anthology The Craft of Science Fiction.[3]

Usage

Rubber science was Spinrad's term for "pseudo-science ... made up by the writer with literary care that it not be discontinuous with the reader's realm of the possible."[4] The term and concept have subsequently been adopted by science fiction writers to describe science based on "speculation, extrapolation, fabrication or invention."[5] For example, Star Trek: Voyager script consultant Andre Bormanis used "the so-called rubber science or the very speculative, consistent with reality" when he was unable to find scientific explanations "based in fairly well-established real science".[6]

Some science fiction authors have used the term disparagingly. [9]

Reviewers have used the term to praise deft or plausible scientific explanations,[10][11] and to criticise underdeveloped or distracting worldbuilding;[12] for instance, a Washington Post review criticized Orson Scott Card's novel Xenocide for its "chapter long dialogues about rubber science".[13]

See also

References

  1. ^ Peter Coogan, Randy Duncan, and Kate McClancy (Winter 2009). "The CAC Report".  
  2. ^ Bliss, Pam (April 12, 2010). "Hopelessly Lost, But Making Good Time #108". Sequential Tart. Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  3. ^  
  4. ^  
  5. ^  
  6. ^  
  7. ^ Friedrich, Brionna (May 12, 2013). What if?" Sci-fi and poetry natural to Grayland writer""".  
  8. ^  
  9. ^  
  10. ^ "The Uprising".  
  11. ^  
  12. ^ "The Bar Code Prophecy".  
  13. ^ Suillivan, Tim (September 29, 1991). "Worlds Without End".  
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