The Smart Core Manifesto
SPECULATIVE FICTION IN THE UNIVERSE WE PERCEIVE
“There is no definition of science fiction that excludes fantasy, other than prescriptive definitions so narrow that, were they applied, this encyclopedia would be reduced to ten per cent of its present length.”
— Peter Nicholls, The Encyclopedia Of Science Fiction
This book is for that ten per cent.
Science fiction is like opening a book on astronomy, only to find that nine out of ten of its pages are about horoscopes.
Why do we turn new readers or viewers loose on the ever-expanding world of science fiction with no clue whether they’re going to pick up a book or go to see a movie that opens their mind to the possibilities of mankind’s adventure in the universe or fills it with unicorns and vampires?
The smart core manifesto carves out space for a fiction of scientific advance that places clearly defined limits on the encroachment of fantasy.
In this book I argue for a new definition of plausible science fiction freed from its traditional subservience to time travel, psychic powers, and superheroes. A science fiction that better reflects the world we live in. A science fiction that unshackles the human imagination without dulling its intelligence.
A companion volume Smart Core In Practice will follow, listing hundreds of examples of smart core in all media from the dawn of science fiction to the present day.