By now most science fiction fans have seen Alfonso Cuarón's film Gravity, or at least heard of it. They've likely also witnessed the building backlash against the film. First came astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who detailed a long list of scientific issues with the film. Then former astronaut Scott Parazynski did the same. I've also heard similar complaints from other science fiction fans, complaints that the most scientifically accurate SF film in years isn't accurate enough.
As a science fiction lover and writer, I'm not going to quibble over all the nitpicks about Gravity. Yes, I realize that space stations and satellites orbit at different heights. And yes, I realize that Sandra Bullock’s hair does not float freely on her head at all times like it would in free fall.
But you know what: WHO GIVE A DAMN! I still enjoyed the movie and think it's wonderful that people are watching a SF film which is as close to scientifically accurate as anything Hollywood is likely to create.
Understand this—fiction is NEVER real life. The very nature of stories dictate that they can never be totally accurate. And this obsessive harping on trivial issues while missing the larger picture is one reason science fiction—true science fiction, as opposed to science fantasy like Star Wars or Star Trek—is ignored by most people.
I mean, the only reason I see for all this nitpicking is so a few scientists and SF insiders can show how only they truly understand science fiction, as opposed to all those unwashed heathenistic fans who dared to watched an actual hard SF film. What these people appear to be saying is that only nitpicking asshats deserve to decide what passes some BS "science fiction" test.
Well, as a science fiction lover I'm sick of this attitude. Our genre is bigger than the nitpickers among us. Our genre is bigger than those who would so shrink our science fiction stories that they only appeal to a few insiders.
Making a compelling story which is also a hard SF movie is just that, hard. So I for one applaud the realism in Gravity, even as I understand that some of the film's scientific accuracy was shortchanged in the interest of keeping the story going.
And for those who desire to nitpick the film to death, know this: For a genre which is supposely about such big issues, science fiction needs to stop dwelling on the minutia of fail. Otherwise our genre will so exclude itself from being enjoyed by anyone that nitpicking will soon be all science fiction has left to offer.