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In his essay here, Bova comments on the role of hard SF writers in Futurology, which sits at 5.5 on TVTropes Mohs Scale for SF hardness. Bova seems to consider this the role of hard SF writers. He calls hard SF writers the “scouts who go on ahead of the main body and send back reports about what’s up there.” Or what could be up there, we gather, if we go down a particular path. In other words, hard SF could show us different scenarios for our future. What happens if we try to do something about climate change, for example? Or, what happens if we don’t?

Bova also notes how a writer’s hard SF stories can become obsolete within their own lifetime. He notes in his essay that several of his earlier novels have now become real science, for example: flight to the moon, space stations in orbit, virtual reality, digital books, stem cell therapy. He also thinks we’ve likely invented sex in zero gravity. Hm.

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