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Science fiction has a "hardness" scale to it, with "hard" sci-fi being based on trends and projections of the real world, and "soft" sci-fi featuring speculative aliens and telepathy and teleportation, going all the way to "science fantasy" such as Star Wars, where we no longer have a connection to the real world whatsoever.

(It always astounds me how some people can interpret the opening text "A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away" to literally mean what it says, as though we could nail down exactly how long ago and in which galaxy. That sentence is formatted like the beginning of a fairy tale for a reason.)

Personally, I can enjoy stories from anywhere on that spectrum, as long as it's obvious where on the spectrum we are and we don't move too far along it in the course of the story. Long, ongoing sci-fi stories - particularly those with multiple writers - can tend to creep over time, almost always from hard to soft, and almost always due to narrative laziness.

0525-------------------------------------
(Wednesday afternoon, INT: Overdrive Computers)

LH (coming out of back room): Hey. What're you two knuckleheads doing, harassing my employee?
MH: We were just asking Gina how her date with a certain board-game-designing chef turned out.
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LH: Seriously? You're dating Ellen's weirdo not-a-rapist roommate now?
GU: I wouldn't say we're "dating", exactly. Also, I'd like to officially voice my concern that your misandry has evidently reached the point where not being a rapist makes him a weirdo.
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LH: So since you've got time to stand around gossipping about Miss Ulrich's love life, shall I assume you've all got your characters ready for game this Saturday?
NP: I was assuming we were going to keep the same party, just start with a new module.
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LH: Well, it's sci-fi, so no, I don't think that's going to work out.
MH: Eh, I'm keeping Phlora anyway. Space needs more dwarves.