Hard SF - "Predicting" the future?
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Author:  JamesGifford [ Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hard SF - "Predicting" the future?

Heinlein is perhaps to be credited with popularizing the notion of a "cold" war and hair-trigger standoff over nuclear weapons, especially as early as "Solution Unsatisfactory" was written.

However, he was widely read in obscure fields, and if you read the detailed histories of the development of the bomb(s) and the physics that went into them, you'll find that the morality and consequences of each side having weapons of total destruction was kicked around in the late 1920s and early 1930s by the scientists themselves. It wasn't accidental that Oppenheimer had that quote on tap the day Trinity changed the game.

Welcome to the forum, incidentally. :)

Author:  CarlSanders [ Mon Feb 01, 2010 1:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hard SF - "Predicting" the future?

As I Posted, 'in genre SF'.
Your thoughtful reply brings to mind the venue where one might certainly find a great many prophecies and predictions: 'gray literature', a deal of which is composed of unpublished dissertations and theses. John Brunner noted this source in a Note to one of his novels.

Author:  DanHenderson [ Tue May 05, 2015 10:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hard SF - "Predicting" the future?

I'm rereading my favorite Heinlein book, Time Enough For Love, for the umpteenth time, and something he said jumped off the page as a spot-on prediction. It's in the section where, in his Captain Aaron Sheffield persona, Lazarus Long is transporting a pair of slaves he bought on Blessed, Jose and Estrellita (both of whom he manumitted the moment he got them on his ship), to Valhalla. During the trip, Estrellita falls pregnant, and Lazarus laments that his ship is ill prepared to deal with it (page 191 of the Virginia Edition):
(What did he have aboard for a pregnancy test? Damn it, if he must abort her, it should be as quickly as possible when it's no worse than plucking a splinter. Then--no, there wasn't so much as a "Monday morning" pill in the ship, much less modern contraception. Woodie, blast your stupid soul, don't ever go into space again so poorly equipped!)

Methinks the Grand Master clearly predicted Plan B.

Author:  mostlyclassics [ Wed May 06, 2015 10:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hard SF - "Predicting" the future?

That struck me too, Dan, when I also reread Time Enough for Love a couple of months ago.

I looked up the matter on wikipedia. Presumably the bare facts are correct on such a subject. It turns out there was a "morning after pill" available as of 1971 (DES), but the FDA never approved it (ever) or anything else until 1997. So the concept was in the air in the early 1970's.

Author:  DanHenderson [ Thu May 07, 2015 7:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hard SF - "Predicting" the future?

Thanks for doing the research! DES rings only the vaguest of bells, and, of course, I have no recollection of when I became aware of it, but that would seem to remove this from the category of a prediction.

Author:  mostlyclassics [ Thu May 07, 2015 1:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hard SF - "Predicting" the future?

Again from wikipedia (possibly more information than anyone wants, but here it is):

Diethylstilbestrol (DES...) is a synthetic nonsteroidal estrogen that was first synthesized in 1938.


In 1973, in an attempt to restrict off-label use of DES as a postcoital contraceptive (which had become prevalent at many university health services following publication of an influential study in 1971 in JAMA) to emergency situations such as rape, an FDA Drug Bulletin was sent to all U.S. physicians and pharmacists that said the FDA had approved, under restricted conditions, postcoital contraceptive use of DES. In 1975, the FDA said it had not actually given (and never did give) approval to any manufacturer to market DES as a postcoital contraceptive, but would approve that indication for emergency situations such as rape or incest if a manufacturer provided patient labeling and special packaging as set out in a FDA final rule published in 1975. To discourage off-label use of DES as a postcoital contraceptive, the FDA in 1975 removed DES 25 mg tablets from the market and ordered the labeling of lower doses (5 mg and lower) of DES still approved for other indications changed to state: "This drug product should not be used as a postcoital contraceptive" in block capital letters on the first line of the physician prescribing information package insert and in a prominent and conspicuous location of the container and carton label.

One trouble with DES is that it causes cancer, not only in mothers but principally in their daughters, a particularly nasty kind of vaginal clear cell adenocarcinoma. In so-called DES sons, it can cause developmental problems with the naughty bits.

So, now you know. :lol:

Author:  DanHenderson [ Fri May 08, 2015 9:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hard SF - "Predicting" the future?

Thanks again for the research. Sounds nasty!

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