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Soft science fiction

Soft science fiction is science fiction whose plots and themes tend to focus on philosophy, psychology, politics and sociology while de-emphasizing the details of technological hardware and physical laws. It is so-called 'Soft' Science Fiction, because these subjects are grouped together as the Soft Sciences or Humanities.

For instance, Frank Herbert in Dune, uses the plot device of creating a universe which has rejected conscious machines and has reverted to a Feudal organisation. Consequently Herbert uses the Dune saga to comment about the human condition and makes direct and accurate parallels to current socio-political realities.

As early as 1908 the famous United States author Jack London wrote The Iron Heel, a dystopic novel set in a future where a totalitarian capitalist state, controlled by a small ruling class of the very rich, crushed democracy and any form of liberty in the U.S.. Technological change was barely mentioned in this novel, and in short stories also based in this dark future. The stress was placed instead on class warfare and human emotions.

Soft Science fiction may explore the reactions of societies or individuals to problems posed by natural phenomena or technological developments, but the technology will be a means to an end, not an end itself.

Authors often thought of as exemplifying soft science fiction:

Compare: hard science fiction, space opera, comic science fiction