01:13:30 PM Aug 28th 2011
The definition used for "soft" science fiction is inaccurate. Soft science fiction refers to science fiction stories that pursue soft sciences such as psychology and sociology. A story about the psychological stress an astronaut undergoes while living alone on an experimental moon base would be a soft science fiction story. This remains true even if it rigorously adhered to the physical laws of the moon. While the hard science of astro-physics may be carefully monitored, the point of the story is the soft science of psychology. The type of science fiction described here would be better if labeled "pulp" science fiction or "adventure" science fiction. This would easily encompass the intended genre's such as planetary romance and space opera. The term soft science fiction is commonly misused to describe these sort of stories. I hope I'm not starting to sound like The Other Wiki, but given how much of a stickler TV tropes tends to be for the integrity of its Trope names, I think it's fair to recommend this fix.
05:42:34 AM Sep 16th 2012
edited by supergod
edited by supergod
That's definitely one definition, but generally "soft" science fiction includes both social science fiction and pulp science fiction, where scientific integrity is not important. That said the article is still terrible and needs a rewrite. Firstly soft science fiction can still be about how the technology affects society and whatever. The only difference is that hard SF spends more time explaining how the technology works. Also, the whole idea that soft SF is "for the masses" and appeals to people looking for sex and violence is nonsense. That's only the pulp aspect of soft SF (like Burroughs), not writers like lain Banks who isn't actually hard, even if his stories are more plausible than Star Wars. Then again the entire concept of "hardness" is so ill defined that its difficult to take seriously. For example I see in a lot of places on this site that Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Mass Effect, and Babylon 5 are supposedly "hard", but to me a focus on characters makes it "soft".