The Closely Reasoned Technological Story: The Critical History of Hard Science Fiction

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Westfahl, Gary. "'The Closely Reasoned Technological Story': The Critical History of Hard Science Fiction." SFS #60 = 20.2 (July 1992): 176-83.

GW locates the origin of the term "hard science fiction" in a 1957 book rev. by P. Schuyler Miller, and notes that it was used as slang, between quotation marks, until the 1970s. Argues that there has been from the beginning, "two forms of hard SF": "microcosmic" hard S.F., i.e., cautiously extrapolated near-future, realistic space adventures, and more "extravagant stories of constructed worlds" (see 157). A. C. Clarke's A Fall of Moondust (1961) cited as an example of the former, while his Childhood's End (1953) cited as an example of the latter (although we would think Clarke's City and the Stars would be a better example). Argues finally that 1930s writers like H. Gernsback and J. W. Campbell could not meet the standards for scientific accuracy of truly hard S.F. (see GW's "This Unique Document" and J. W. Campbell entries under Fiction). Abstract at: (RFS, 27/04/95)