This is an impromptu part two related to the previous quote. This from Helium.com comparing the differences between Jules Verne and H.G. Wells:
Verne is one of the more optimistic science fiction writers of all time and despite the drama of his writing, books like Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, From the Earth to the Moon and Journey to the Center of the earth all used science as a method of empowering the characters. He looked at science and saw a blossoming of wondrous possibilities, this most evidenced in Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Whereas with Verne it was about romance and character driven dramas, Wells would use the medium to make a point about mankind itself. He criticizes the stratification in English society in his book the time Machine and in The War of the Worlds he seems to imply our technology will destroy us. Before it was even thought of he predicted the splitting of the atom. When this happened he was horrified… he encouraged governments not to pursue the technology but they did anyway… he died a bitter man.
So it’s not like the debate between futuristic formats is a new one. And I think it was Robert J. Sawyer who’d mentioned in a talk that Wells is better known (better liked?) specifically because he didn’t throw so much technical jargon into his books. Verne’s tech-specific accuracies are all well and good, but the science in them is somewhat dated now and a description of every exact measurement of the 20,000 Leagues vessel’s every gear and knob shouldn’t be the reason people want to read the book, unless they’re really into victorian steampunk and want to build the thing.
There will always be ones who are in it for the science, and others who’ll be in it for the plot and the people. I don’t think one way is more right than the other.
I agree. Some hard core science fiction is pretty hard to get through, even if that is what you are into. I think a nice balance of the two is key. Of course, that balance is going to be slightly different for each reader.
Sci Fi is likely the only stuff I’d ever want to write, but I know my science knowledge is rudimentary at best. I’d wind up writing something set in space — I did for nanowrimo a couple years ago. That was great fun. I really should consider doing a sequel this year, but now I blog and it seems to suck up my attention too much to start another writing project.