Real or Not Real: Does Scientific Accuracy Matter in Fiction?

Science fiction movies nowadays are constantly in production, and stories are being told all the time. Some of these stories present a series of facts, whether verbally, visually, stylistically or as part of the narrative. Most of the time the public can discern between what was made up by the creators and what represents reality, but on occasions a film incorporates scientific concepts in such a convincing manner that the audience does not bother questioning if what they just learned is real or not real.

With the imminent release of the science fiction action-adventure film Jurassic World, a sequel to the highly successful 1993 film Jurassic Park, it is worth asking the question of why it is important for creators in fiction, whether they are authors, screenwriters or filmmakers, to present current scientific thinking within the context of their work. The cultural impact of the original film will be explored, as will the decision to not incorporate the latest scientific knowledge regarding dinosaurs in the sequel, and the possible consequences this can have to the public in general. The so called “Science Fiction Scale of Hardness” will also be briefly touched upon, highlighting its usefulness when trying to determine how and why it is important that a work of science fiction reflect the most up to date current scientific knowledge.

As a starting point for discussion, there will be an excerpt from the following video, which demonstrates a common misconception often portrayed in movies. The narrator is a little annoying, but the video can be stopped at 2:22, after the main point has been made clear.

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