Unit Eight
第八课
Science fiction is definitely not pure science,
科幻小说被定义为非纯科学。
but neither is it pure fiction.
但也不是纯小说
This literary genre, argues science fiction writer Ben Bova,
这种文学流派,争论幻小说作家本.博瓦
stands and a bridge between science and fiction,
在科学和小说间建立了一座桥梁
between reason and emotion.
以及在理智和情感这间
Moreover, science fiction is not mere entertainment,
此外,科幻小说不仅仅是娱乐,
but has a more important role to play.
但是它还当担着一个更重要的角色
Believe it or not,
相不相信它
it can help us to understand the ways in which our world may change and accist us in shaping the future in the manner that we wish.
它可以帮我们理解世界变化的方式,为我们定制我们希望的未来。
THE ROLE OF SCIENCE FICTION
科幻小说的作用
Ben Bova
本?博瓦
The year 1972 was marked by publication of a controversial book, The Limits to Growth.
1972年因为《增长的极限》一书的出版而受人瞩目。这是一本有争议的书。
this study of the world's future,
对世界未来的研究,
done by a team of MIT scientists with the aid of computer "models" of the future of our society,
是麻省理工学院的一群科学家利用我们社会未来的电脑模型来完成的。
forecast a planetwide disaster unless humankind sharply limits its population growth and consumption of natural resources.
这项研究预测,除非人类极大地控制人口增长和自然资源的消耗,否则就会遭受世界性的灾难。
Most people were caught by surprise when the book came out.
该书出版时大多数人为之一惊。
Many refused to believe that disaster is possible, probable,
许多人拒绝相信那个灾难的发生是可能的,甚至极有可能,
inevitable if we don't change our mode of running Spaceship Earth.
甚至是不可避免的。如果我们不改变操作“地球飞船”的方式。
But science fiction people were neither surprised nor outraged.
而科幻小说家对此既不惊讶也不恼怒。
The study was really old news to them.
这项研究对他们来说的确是老生常谈。
They'd been making their own "models" of tomorrow and testing them all their lives.
他们一辈子都在制作和试验自己的未来世界的“模型”。
For what the scientists attempted with their computer model is very much like the thing that science fiction writers and readers have been doing for decades.
科学家们借助于电脑模型所尝试的事与科幻小说作家及其读者几十年来所做的事很相似。
Instead of using a computer to "model" a future world society,
所不同的是,科幻小说作家并不是用电脑来“模拟”一个未来社会,
science fiction writers have used their human imaginations.
而是运用他们的想象力。
This gives the writers some enormous advantages.
这给予作家极大的便利。
One of the advantages is flexibility.
灵活性是有利条件之一。
Science fiction writers are not in the business of predicting the future.
预测未来不是科幻小说作家的职责,
They do something much more important.
他们所做的更为重要一些。
They try to show the many possible futures that lie open to us.
他们要竭力在我们面前展现很多可能会出现的未来。
For there is not simply a future, a time to come that's inevitable.
因为不可避免地不止一种未来、一种时代要出现的。
Our future is built, bit ty bit,
我们的未来是点点滴滴,
minute by minute ,by the actions of human beings.
分分秒秒的人类活动造就的。
One vital role of science fiction is to show what kinds of future might result from certain kinds of human actions.
科幻小说的一个重要作用,是要表明某种人类行动会产生什么种类的未来。
To commuicate the ideas, the fears and hopes,
要表达它们的观点,恐惧和希望
the shape and feel of all the infinite possible futures,
所有无穷个可能的社会形式和感受
science fiction writers lean heavily on another of their advantages: the art of fiction.
科幻小产家大力依靠另一便利条件:虚构艺术。
For while a scientist's job has largely ended when he's reduced his data to tabular or graph form,
科学家的主要工作完成于资料被转换为表格或图表之时,
the work of a science fiction writer is just beginning.
而这对科幻小说家来说,工作只是刚开始。
His task is to convey the human story:
他的任务是要讲述人类的历史,
the scientific basis for the possible future of his story is merely the background.
故事中可能会出现的那个未来所涉及的科学依据,仅仅是个背景。
Perhaps "merely" is too limiting a word.
也许“仅仅”是个局限性太大的词。
Much of science fiction consists of precious little except the background,
许多科幻小说除了背景情况,基本构思和别致的新东西之外,
be basic idea, the gimmick.
几乎别无内容。
But the best of science fiction,
但是最好的科幻小说,
the stories that make a lasting impact on generations of readers, are stories about people.
就是那些能对几代读者产生久远影响的作品,都是有关人的故事。
The people may be nonhuman.
书中描写的人物也行不是人类,
They may be robots or other types of machines.
可能是机器人或是其他类型的机器。
But they will be people, in the sense that human readers can feel for them,
但是他们应该算是人,在人们读到他们时会表现出同情。
share their joys and sorrows, their dangers and their ultimate successes.
与它们共甘苦,分担它们身处危险的忧愁,分享它们最后成功的喜悦。
The art of fiction has not changed much since prehistoric times.
科幻小说的虚构艺术自史前时期以来并无多大变化。
The formula for telling a powerful story has remained the same:
讲述一个扣人心弦的故事的模式一直都没变过:
create a strong character, a person of great strengths,
塑造一个坚强的人物,一个勇猛无比、
capable of deep emotions and decisive action.
感情丰富、行为果断的人。
Give him a weakness.
给他加上一个弱点,
Set him in conflict with another powerful character or perhaps with nature.
让他与另一位强大的人物??或是自然,发生冲突。
Let his exterior conflict be the mirror of the protagonist's own interior conflict,
让主人公的外部冲突像一面镜子反映出自己的内心冲突,
the clash of his desires, his own strength against his own weakness.
反映各种理想之间的冲突,反映自身优、缺点之间的冲突。
And there you have a story.
就这样,你的故事成了。
Whether it's Abraham offering his only son to God,
不管故事讲述的是亚拍拉罕献祭独子给上帝,
or Paris bringing ruin to Troy over a woman,
还是帕里斯因女人而毁灭特洛伊,
or Hamlet and Claudius playing their deadly game,
还是哈姆雷特与克劳狄斯想方设法除掉对方,
Faust seeking the world's knowledge and power -- the stories that stand out in the minds of the readers are those whose characters are unforgettable.
还是浮士德执着追求人间的知识与权力??这些故事都因塑造了令人难忘的人物而深印在读者的脑海之中。
To show other worlds,
仅仅展示别的世界,
to describe possible future societies and the problems lurking ahead, is not enough.
描述可能出现的未来社会以及潜在的问题是不够的。
The writer of science fiction must show how these worlds and these futures affect human beings.
科幻小说作家还必须表明这些世界和未来是如何影响人类的。
And something much more important:
更为重要的是,
he must show how human beings can and do literally create these future worlds.
他必须说明人类如何能够而且确实在创造这些未来世界。
For our future is largely in our own hands.
因我们的未来主要掌握在自己手里。
It doesn't come blindly rolling out of the heavens;
它不是无缘无故从天而降的;
it is the joint product of the actions of billions of human beings.
而是亿万人共同努力创造的结果。
This is a point that's easily forgotten in the rush of headlines and the hectic badgering of everyday life.
在匆忙浏览报纸大标题时,在忙得焦头烂额的日常生活中,这一点是很容易被遗忘的。
But it's a point that science fiction makes constantly:
但这是科幻小说不断尝试着要说明的一个观点:
the future belongs to us whatever it is.
未来是我们的??不论它是个什么样子。
We make it, our actions shape tomorrow.
我们创造未来,用行动塑造明天。
We have the brains and guts to build paradise (or at least try ).
我们有智慧和勇气建造天堂(至少可以试试)。
Tragedy is when we fail, and the greatest crime of all is when we fail even to try.
失败了,当然是悲剧,但最大的悲哀是我们连试也不试。
Thus science fiction stands as a bridge between science and art,
因此,科幻小说在科学与艺术,
between the engineers of technology and the poets of humanity.
技术工程师与诗人之间架起了一座桥梁。
Never has such a bridge been more desperately needed.
以前从未如此迫切地需要这样一座桥梁。
Writing in the British journal New Scientist,
在英国的新科学家杂志中发表文章说,
the famed poet and historian Robert Graves said in 1972,
著名的诗人兼历史学家罗伯特?格雷夫斯于1972年
"Technology is now warring openly against the crafts,
“当今工业技术与手艺公开进行斗争,
and science covertly against poetry."
科学则与诗歌暗地较量。”
What Graves is expressing is the fear that many people have:
格雷夫斯所言正是许多人心中的恐惧:
technology has already allowed machines to replace human muscle power;
技术已使机器代替了人的体力劳动;
now it seems that machines such as electronic computers might replace human brainpower.
如今像电子计算机之类的机器似乎可能取代人脑。
And he goes even further, criticizing science on the grounds that truly human endeavours such as poetry have a power that scientists can't recognize.
他甚至更为极端,相信真正的人类活动如诗歌之类具有科学家无法认识的威力,从而对科学进行了批评。
Apparently Graves sees scientists as a sober,
显然,格雷夫斯把科学家看成一部部表情严肃、
plodding phalanx of soulless thinking machines,
行动缓慢、毫无灵性的思维机器,
never making a step that hasn't been carefully thought out in advance.
事先未经缜密考虑决不迈进一步。
But as a historian, Graves should be aware that James Clerk Maxwell's brilliant insight about electromagnetism the guess that visible light is only one small slice of the spectrum of electromagnetim energy,
但作为历史学家,格雷夫斯应该清楚,詹姆斯?克拉克?马克斯韦尔关于电磁学的独到见解??也就是他猜想可见光只是电磁能光谱的一小部分。
a guess that torms the basis for electronics technology was an intuitive leap into the unknown.
这一猜想奠定了电子技术的基础,这一猜想使他凭直觉进入电磁学这一未知领域。
Maxwell had precious little evidence to back up his guess.
马克斯韦尔根本就没有依据来证实他的猜想。
The evidence came later.
证据是后来才获得的。
The list of wild jumps of intuition made by these supposedly stolid,
那些被认为麻木、迟钝、
humorless scientists is long indeed.
毫无幽默感的科学家凭着直觉闯进了未知世界的例子真是不少。
Scientists are human beings!
科学家也是人!
They are just as human, intuitive, and emotional as anyone else.
也有人性,有直觉,有感情,和其他任何人一样。
But most people don't realize this.
但大多数人并没有意识到这一点。
They don't know scientists, any more than they know much about science.
他们不了解科学家,也不懂得科学知识。
Today most people still tend to hold scientists in awe.
今天大多数人对科学家仍怀敬畏之情。
After all, scientists have brought us nuclear weapons,
然而科学家毕竟为我们带来了核武器、
modern medicines, space flight, and underarm adeodorants.
现代医学、太空航行以及除臭剂。
Yet at the same time, we see scientists derided as fuzzy-brained eggheads or as coldly ruthless,
但与此同时,我们看到科学家不是被讥讽为糊涂的书呆子,就是被嘲笑是麻木,
emotionless makers of monsters.
无情的怪物制造家。
Scientists are a minority group,
科学家作为群体人数并不多,
and like most minorities they're largely hidden from the public's sight,
如同大多数少数群体,他们通常避开公众视线,
tucked away in ghettos laboratories, campuses,
藏身于特殊的地方??实验室、校园,
field sites out in the desert or on Pacific atolls.
沙漠中或
 

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