And buried in there somewhere is the reason I'm a terrible sci-fi snob. Sorry, but there's a side of me who always pretended to be Spock rather than Kirk when we played Star Trek, and he insists on the proper science thing. Snobs like me make distinctions between sci-fi genres, and the only real, pure form to a geek of my sensitivities is "Hard" sci-fi. Not soft csi-fi, not space opera, not fantasy, and definitely nothing whatsoever involving Dan Brown.
It's all terribly precious and highly strung.
In most definitions of hard sci-fi any semi-magical futuristic events have to have a proper explanation according to the scientific thought at the time, or at least have a good stab at it. That's where Star Trek, in my opinion, falls into the space opera category. If you're going to base a faster than light drive on Einstein's model of spacetime then please have the decency to respect the other 60% of the theory and deal with the time dilation effects. Honestly, it's not only lazy, it's all a bit 1920s isn't it?
Sorry. Like I said, it's an emotional issue.
The point is, the best science always involves an element of really good science fiction, and vice versa. This is my pick of some great science fiction, roughly married to a good book for background reading....