Dear Doctor Science

Now here’s an interesting question.

Dear Doctor Science;

Are ‘Warp Drives’ , ‘Hyperspace’ and ‘Psionics’ Science Fiction or Fantasy?

When and if he replies I’ll let you know.

While I am no quantum physicist, it seems to me that they were projecting the idea of FTL (Faster Than Light) drives back when I was a teenager (1950’s) … and since a ‘warp drive’ is for all intent and purpose just such an FTL device, it has at least a basis in Theoretical Science. .. and I would point out that there are engineering teams within aerospace company labs that are being paid to develop such ideas. Science Fiction or pay-check? The same with ‘hyperspace’ … which I’ve always understood as the manipulation of higher dimensional space in some relative time… which relates to some function of quantum mechanics.

As to Parapsychology and it’s ganglia…

The entire psuedo-scientific field of study depends more, I think, upon whether you believe the concept that there are higher-function areas of the human brain that are capable of such things… if only we can learn how to ‘turn them on’. Well;

On this I reserve judgement, for how do twins always seem to know what their other twin is feeling… or when something has happened to the other twin? How are some people better able to heal themselves than others? Is it simply genetics or does the mind have a say in it as well? As a physician, I’ve seen enough occurrences over the years to leave me open to the idea that there might be something to it, although I doubt I would define it as ‘telepathy’ or ‘psychokinetic’ ‘ability’… if we’re using the generally accepted definition of the words.

The bottom line here is that in a ‘real’ sense, I think they’re more theoretical science than anything else.

It’s all a matter of perception.

If I wave my hand at a wall and then walk through it;

Is it magic?

… or is there some form of particle excitation device imbedded in it that has ‘dematerialised’ the wall?

… or did someone just use a particle beam weapon to disintegrate it?

… or did the stage hand behind the black drape just pull the rope that slid it aside when I signalled by waving my hand at it in a particular way?

My point?

How they’re ‘used’ by an author, and the setting in which he or she places that use, might determine whether it is Science Fiction or Fantasy.

But the real question is … why does it matter?

It is, after all… fiction. We, the authors, pull this stuff out of our minds or the ether or wherever it is we gain our inspirations. We build the worlds our stories are based in or on, and we decide how the physics and everything else in that world is going to work.

It DOES NOT  have to all work the same from one story by one author to the next story by either the same or different author.

There is no ‘standardised playbook’ or ‘book of rules’ for SF or Fantasy or some combination thereof.


About Gwendolyn McIntyre

Author, editor, businesswoman, musician, lover of jazz and horses. Chief investigator of all things that go BUMP in the night.
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