marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
marycatelli
marycatelli

Worldbuilding with the Soft Sciences

Opening with a discussion of what sciences are soft, and how biology, for instance, is moving toward hard -- one panelist defined a soft science as one in which you could not do many necessary experiments for ethical reasons.  (The lone guy on the panel observed that obviously soft sciences were what girls did and hard sciences what boys did.  0:)

Research.  The best way is to get bright ideas from soft sciences and build stories about them, rather than build your story and then try to fit it to what is known.

One person with a background in psychology disliked Heinlein after she realized that all the heroes were NT and all the villains were another type.  She thought this was bigotry.  (In which case, I would be in serious trouble.  I suspect that all my heroes are ISTJ.  But I suspect that the real matter is that sometimes you have to write the vein of stuff that you can write, and that this limits the types of characters you can draw.)

Discussion of equations.  When someone brought up Pern, I brought up the lack of changes in its history -- despite the big deal made about them -- particularly growth from population pressure, and from there the need to ensure your society can reproduce itself.  One panelist observed that was one level of math you did need even in the soft sciences.

Tags: arisia, world-building: general
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