Hard Sci Fi is Sci Fi which the science is given more prominence than the fiction: lots of lovingly intricate and scientifically sound descriptions of rockets, robots, alien planets, exotic physics and so on, but often rather two-dimensional characters and stilted plots.
Well-known proponents of Hard Sci Fi include:
Hard Sci Fi has a grinning idiot cousin in the shape of Space Opera; Space Opera dispenses entirely with the scientific accuracy, although it retains a good degree of technolust, in favour of more interesting, if scarcely more plausible or deep, plots and characters.
A lot of people don't understand the difference between Hard SF and Hard Sci Fi, including some authors.
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