We are in the middle of a NYRSF work weekend. During the editing of one piece under consideration, a question arose as to the scientific vintage of the idea of the heat death of the universe. I typed a few key words into Google and came across the page Entropy and Heat Death in the weblog Alamut: Bastion of Peace and Information.
There I found a lovely quote attributed to Charles Darwin in 1876, which seems to me a clear representation of the hard sf attitude:
"[consider] ... the view now held by most physicists, namely that the sun with all the planets will in time grow too cold for life, unless indeed some great body dashes into the sun and thus gives it fresh life--believing as I do that man in the distant future will be a far more perfect creature than he now is, it is an intolerable thought that he and all the other sentient beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long-continued slow progress."
I wish I'd had this in hand when editing either The Ascent of Wonder or The Hard SF Renaissance!
The most recent entry in the Alamut (4/3/03), entitled Cryptozoology, concerns the recent discovery of a colossal squid. Must read more here!