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Sci Fi Foundations of Space Science
Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins
A review of the book edited by Gregory Benford and George Zebrowski
Skylife:  Space Habitats in Story and Science (NY Harcourt, 2000. 355p.)

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Acollection of science fiction short stories portraying situatoins of otherworld settlements by humans and the cultures they developed. Writers explore how human societies might develop in non-Earth environments: other planets, planetoids, multi-generation colonization ships, mining colonies on asteroids, and such.

It is a cultural or social collection from Sci Fi, in which various authors portraying their made-up universes and worlds, or various aspects of the quest to conquer pace.

The volume has an excellent introductory essay by the editors, providing a literary and technical foundation. This essay and introductions to each short story in the collection provides a technical reference for actual science and physics involved in the questions of space travel and related physics and engineering knowledge and design.

Many well-known science fiction writers have been very meticulous in their study and use of actual science, physics and other technical subjects, including sociology and economics. Many have been actual science consultants and have written as scientists in their own right. For instance, Isaac Asimov, had a PhD in Chemistry and was a university professor.

Many Sci Fi writers have had uncannily accurate prophecies and forecasts in their stories. Some have specifically dealt with the engineering details of science and its possibilities. This collection of stories provides interesting views of possible social and technical problems and successes in the attempts to establish living environments on artificial satellites, long-range colony ships and actual colonization of other worlds.

One story, "The Other Side of the Sky" by Sir Arthur C. Clarke was written in the 1950s. Yet all the details he describes here about space exploration are right.

It has sometimes been the case that NASA and other space strategists and engineers actually referred to Sci Fi writers as guides to techniques and design. In fact, some of you may have even seen Clarke on coverage of NASA space launches. Clark is a noted consultant on actual space technology. Some terminology now commonly used began in Sci Fi stories of the past.

This is the level of quality of this collection. Two new stories are included which were written just for this volume.

See related reviews and articles on this site:
[review] The Future of Spacetime

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OBJ

First written on Amazon.com 7 September 2006
Posted on Thoughts and Resources 9 September 2006

Copyright © 2006 Orville Boyd Jenkins
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use.  Other rights reserved.

Email:  orville@jenkins.nu
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