I think as writers we’re missing a trick by not including any.
As I spend more time than is good for me watching the sport on TV this summer (like most summers), it occurs to me that in science fiction almost no-one plays any sport, why? Or at least I don’t think they do? I’m racking my brains trying to find examples. The obvious one of course is ‘Roller Ball’. Other than that though I’m struggling. I think in the Kim Stanley Robinson Mars trilogy they went in for long distance running. Also I have a vague memory that in an Ian M Banks book aliens were playing something like a particularly brutal from of ‘British Bulldog’, or am I imagining that? Anyway those are the only examples that come to mind, unless you can think of others?
In my books the characters keep fit. It seems to me that in prolonged periods of space flight that has to be essential. In the soon to be published ‘Ancestral dreams’ routines are, with great delight, presided over by a ship’s AI. However, there is no actual sport. Perhaps as most science fiction is based around conflict we don’t think it’s appropriate somehow? Or it doesn’t fit in with keeping the story moving? But I think we’re missing a trick. In reality soldiers, and most other communities of people, have always resorted to competitive sports as a way of keeping fit and letting off steam. In fact competitive sport seems to be prevalent in most cultures. I can’t see why that would be different in the future?
If I get enough replies I’ll let everyone know the favourites. In Noah (also soon to be published) I mention the benefits and dangers of low gravity basketball. Also, think how far you could hit a golf ball.
Or perhaps we can invent new sports? Again I’ll blog back the most inventive / most fun.