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Issue 35 • January 2020
Hard Science-Fiction Tropes
edited by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

Introduction to Issue 35 • Hard Science-Fiction Tropes

Welcome to Eye To The Telescope 35, hard science-fiction tropes. I encountered fantasy when I read The Hobbit at age 8, but my mind was blown by science fiction in the form of Lester Del Rey’s The Runaway Robot at about the same age. As soon as the librarians would let me into the grown-up section of the public library, I started reading Keith Laumer, Clifford Simak, Andre Norton, and anybody else whose book had a starship printed on the library binding. My tastes have broadened considerably since then, but I will always have a soft spot in my heart for futuristic technology ranging from jet packs to Dyson spheres to the utter transformation of reality. Even though I've never met anyone I would trust to fly a jet pack anywhere near me! Some science-fiction technology had already been made reality by the time I started reading about it, such as communications satellites and submarines. A lot more has been invented and put into common use since then, including self-driving cars and the equivalent of Dick Tracy's wrist-mounted video phones. I envisioned a wide range of poetic subject matter for this issue, and you did not disappoint. A couple of hundred poems were submitted, and it was very hard to make the final choice. It was with some difficulty that I squeezed in all of the poems that I felt were important and that fit the theme.

Hard science fiction includes space travel, encounters with aliens, time travel, matter transmission, and other technologies that we don't have yet. It may include sociopolitical speculation and personal relationships; this is in fact desirable, but it has to include some aspect of speculative technology. So what do we have in this issue? The 22 poems (by 21 different authors) that I have selected for you include speculation on the replacement of humans by their own creations, the nature of artificial intelligence, faster than light travel, contact with aliens, time travel, how we modify ourselves, and much much more.

Contributors to this issue range from professional scientists to professional writers. I am quite familiar with the work of some, but others are new to me. But for an introduction to a periodical consisting of relatively short pieces, I have gone on for long enough. Here are the poems.

—David C. Kopaska-Merkel