I am old emough to remember when science fiction critics were saying things like “science fiction used to be space fiction, but all that stuff is in the past – now it’s Speculative Fiction about Technology / Ecology / Inner Space etc etc”.
Those were the days. If you are any kind of sf fan, you may have already seen this essay by Charlie Stross on the improbability of humans ever colonising space.
Sf exists in the tension between two states of mind: the starry-eyed nerdiness of “Gosh Wow if you can imagine it, it exists somewhere” and the pedantic nerdiness of “O RLY Laws of Physics sez NO”. We can picture this tension as a long steel cable, and Stross’ article as a hearty whack delivered to the cable with a big sledgehammer.
The echoing, twanging sound we hear is the cognitive dissonance of all the libertarian sf geeks in the comments thread, saying, more or less, “what the heckya writin’ science fiction for if ya don’t believe in space travel?”
Then it gets nasty.