I've got to get the Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide one day.
Science: A systematic enterprise of gathering knowledge about nature and organizing and condensing that knowledge into testable laws and theories
Fiction: Any form of narrative which deals, in part or in whole, with events that are not factual, but rather, imaginary and invented by its author.
Compute, it does not
Science Fiction is what happens when you take a variable degree of scientific process and propose new technology for fictitious works.
For example, Jules Verne proposed submarines. Heinlein proposed Waldos, and the Waterbed. Donaldson proposed Silicon-on-Diamond CMOS (which, by the way, should offer 10 times faster CMOS switching and thus allow 30GHz CPUs... someone came up with a working SOD-CMOS process 1 year after Donaldson published his books).
On the other hand, force fields, warp drives, and teleporters aren't normally based in fact. One day we'll have enough physics to propose something.
The disconnect shows up when you have rather brilliant people (they write stories) that aren't scientists. Lots of stuff makes perfect scientific sense; yet the science between here and there is wholly absent. Sometimes, a non-scientist will arrange all the pieces we have in a way that looks almost like something cool; and sometimes, a scientist will connect the dots 20 years later and make something cool for real.
Speaking of stories, how bout Philip K Dick. I really loved Solar Lottery.
I've heard Dick is really good.
Dune was indeed boring at spots. All the politics. I'm not sure why I read as much of it as I did.
If you like what they call "space opera" (as far as I can tell, it's hard sci fi with a big story arc), check out Peter Hamiltion, Stephen Baxter, and Alistair Reynolds. You can see some of their stuff on Amazon.com
Thanks I'll look them up.
I found everything beyond Ender's Game to be boring because of the huge amount of philosophy thinly shrouded as sequences of events. Speaker for the Dead was an age and a half of debating on what to do about an alternate culture we don't understand, what we should be allowed to say about dead people, etc. Politics I'm not entirely certain on; politics can be boring, or exciting. I found the politics in The Gap Cycle to be very exciting, but Dune doesn't strike me so much as that. I'll probably pick it up anyway, since I hear so much of it.
So so far my collection of Sci-Fi is...
And a few more. I've had Isaac Asimov recommended but blah. Also Heinlein is frequently recommended.