I just finished up a book about cryptids, a word I never knew existed before.
In this particular non-fiction exploration’s case, the cryptids in question were lake monsters allegedly found throughout North America. But, as I now know, cryptids can be any theoretical organism that the standard scientific community doesn’t recognize.
If that sounds like a stupid topic to bring up for a science-fiction-specific examination, it’s really not. Science-fiction is an amazingly open genre with a universe-sized playground. That’s why its writers are more than welcome to:
Science-fiction writers have a lot of room to run. They can invent whole new races, whole new species, whole new universes, whole new technologies and whole new visions for the future just as long as they can make a solid scientific case for whichever topic or topics they choose.
The sky’s the limit for other genres, but not for science-fiction writers. So if you are one or want to be one, give your imagination a much longer leash and see how far it can take you, your manuscript and your future readers.
Going back to that cryptids book on lake monsters, there are plenty of Native American tribes who had intense concerns about the lakes they lived around. And there are credible modern-day witnesses who have seen extreme oddities in those same waters since – though no documented proof.
So a science-fiction writer is more than welcome to write about cryptids just as long as there’s a suitably scientific spin on the story. Are they the result of a chemical leak that caused a monster mutation? A reclusive species that scientists never took seriously enough to investigate? A small dinosaur population that didn’t go extinct after all?
Just as long as you don’t throw magic into the story, you can pretty much go crazy, as today’s Writing Challenge dares you to do.
How about if you’re writing about something more standard to the science-fiction realm? Like alien life? Earth’s established rules don’t have to apply in that case. If you want to, throw in bird-like creatures that use their beaks to crack open people’s skulls and swallow their brains whole.
(Nope. I didn’t just make that up. That’s the premise of Dreams of the Raven, a pretty solid Star Trek novel.)
Want to work with time travel? I do! That’s why I’m going to be writing about various teenagers who sail into the Bermuda Triangle. There, they’ll find themselves transported back through history to significant ancestral moments.
Got a story idea about sharks living inside the underwater crater of an active volcano? Well, you really will have to go crazy in order to make that science-fiction instead of just regular old fiction, since scientists did in fact find such a congregation back in 2015.
According to the U.K.’s Daily Mail newspaper:
Buried deep within the crater of a remote underwater volcano, scientists have made a surprising discovery.
At least two species of shark, a sixgill stingray and snapper fish have been filmed living in the region despite the supposed hot, acidic conditions.
The footage was taken at a depth of 147 feet (45 metres), and scientists have been left astounded at how the creatures can seemingly thrive so well in such harsh environments.
But isn’t that the beauty – and the terror – of science-fiction? What science-fiction writers come up with today could in fact be proven plausible tomorrow.
We like to think we’re so very smart and so scientifically advanced right now. But our world is crazy complex with so many scientific possibilities.
The fact that they recognize this truth probably makes science-fiction writers the smartest ones around.