On a completely unrelated note, gislebertus posted this, which I feel compelled to pass on:
This was a picture of a person protesting China hosting the Olympics. The image has been removed.
They had a sign which said, "Would we have allowed Nazi Germany to host the Olympics?"
I've been on something of an Arthur C. Clarke kick for the past few days, sparked no doubt by his unfortunate recent death. I realized that often what I like about hard sci-fi is the exploration of scientific concepts in a narrative framework. Likewise, I also like reading about the sociological effects that might occur if something drastic changed with the Earth or humanity's view of itself. It occurred to me while reading it that most of the books that I read wouldn't necessarily make good movies. That is to say, you could probably make a good movie out of the stories themselves, but the actual science itself would have to be somewhat sidelined.
I'm not saying that intellectual constructs are impossible to accomplish on film, but on the whole it is not what film does best. We are looking at images and hearing sounds, and so as human beings we tend to respond to what we watch on a more visceral level. Because of the fleeting nature of the experience, movies tend to work best when going for an immediate reaction; any thoughts provoked by the experience of watching it usually require that emotional 'hook' to make the audience care, and as a result, most of what people associate with filmed sci-fi isn't hard by any means.
That isn't to say that there aren't hard sci-fi movies out there. 2001 is probably the most prominent example, but The Andromeda Strain would also qualify, as would Gattaca. In all of those cases, the stories themselves are intrinsic to the science-fiction genre. Most sci-fi, however, consists of other genres, such as fantasy, western, jidaigeki, horror and so on, with science fiction trappings. There is nothing wrong with this - many of these movies are some of my favorite films of all time, after all - but I find it interesting that as a filmmaker I gravitate towards a genre when I read that doesn't really lend itself to the art form I have the most affinity for.