Tau Zero at 50

Al Jackson

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Not only is this the 50th anniversary of Tau Zero but also Niven's Ringworld was published in 1970.
Interesting that two 'hard SF; novels were up for a Hugo in 1971.
Ringworld won.
One also notes the Bussard Interstellar Ram Jet is 60 years old this year. Published in 1960.
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I love Ringworld, but I think it's fairly low on the SF hardness scale. Tau Zero is certainly harder to my way of thinking. Regardless, it was a difficult year for Hugo voters.

I've heard of Tau Zero , but have never read it.
 
I love Ringworld, but I think it's fairly low on the SF hardness scale. Tau Zero is certainly harder to my way of thinking. Regardless, it was a difficult year for Hugo voters.
Ringworld had a lot of Hand-Wave super science in it, Niven was aware of all the physics problems … maybe there ought to be a category of quasi-hard-SF ? Stories that contain plausible sounding super science .... but is really way out in the tail of the distribution.
 
Well, how about this link to TV Tropes, MOHS scale of hardness?

 
Well, how about this link to TV Tropes, MOHS scale of hardness?


Interesting. As a concept without drawing hard lines it is true. As soon as you try to apply it specifically to works you're likely to get into difficulty.
 

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