Diving back into the sub-genres, today we have hard science fiction. So, what's the difference between hard and soft science fiction?
Hard science fiction stresses the science side of things more. Most fiction in this sub-genre is rooted in real science. In fact, some readers actually will take the time to check and make sure the science is right! I found a wonderful definition at WordIQ.com. It also mentions that hard science fiction doesn't stress characterization much. Although this can be true in many instances, it isn't always the case. Some hard science fiction likes to look at the human condition, to see exactly how science would impact the world.
Star Wars and Star Trek? Yep, that's all soft science fiction. Warp drives are not based in real science. Both shows could also be considered space opera. It is possible to have a space opera that is also hard science fiction, though. Got to love how convoluted genre labeling can get.
I leave you with a few good links I found concerning hard science fiction:
Hard SF - This is a great place to start for all things about hard science fiction. Tons of links, reviews, and information on the genre.
10 Books That Prove Science Fiction Just Got Harder - A great list of more recent books that are bringing hard science fiction to another level. I've read two on this list, and I highly recommend Lilith's Brood.
Why Is Hard Science Fiction So Unrealistic? - Hard science fiction may base itself in real science, but this article discusses how it's actually one of the more unrealistic science fiction sub-genres out there.
References for Hard Science Fiction Writers - Do you write hard science fiction or are considering it? A lot of good scientific links on this website for a starting point for research.
Interview: SF Author Hal Clement - This is an interview from 2003.
NEXT UP: A look at Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology.