This Science-Fiction Ride Is Well-Worth Taking


Today’s science-fiction Writing Rule further explores yesterday’s Writing Challenge and Tuesday’s Definition. And it’s a must for anyone who wants to be taken seriously in this genre.

Rather like with historical fiction, science-fiction readers expect to either learn something or have already-acquired data supported. According to the most important science-fiction writing rule you can possibly accept, as an author in this literary category, you need to know what you’re talking about.

Science Fiction Writers Take Their Craft Seriously

Tuesday’s Definition said that science-fiction writers can tell humorous stories. Which is true.

And Thursday’s Writing Challenge said that science-fiction writers can “go crazy” and lengthen their creative leashes significantly. Which is true as well.

It’s just that it’s also true that science-fiction writers are expected to provide scientific rationales for their final results. So a strong understanding of science is a must.

Naturally, this requires a lot of studying – specifically of non-fiction. While the word “study” doesn’t always have delightful connotations, remember that long leash you’ve got. It means that science-fiction authors and authors-in-the-making aren’t confined to sterile classrooms and boring textbooks.

There are so many amazing options out there to properly obey this science-fiction writing rule.

  • Books. This one should be obvious for any authors or authors-in-the-making. There are plenty of great science non-fiction writers out there who, like their historical non-fiction colleagues, present their findings in engaging, conversational styles sure to suck you right in.

  • Podcasts. It’s amazing how many people podcast these days. Go onto iTunes or whatever other podcast platform you use and explore the possibilities that are readily available. I haven’t vetted the three below, so do your own due diligence. But these are just a few of the results that came up during my own very brief look-see:

  • Radiolab – which bills itself as “a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.”

  • The Science Hour – hosted by the BBC, it features episodes like “The Ebola Story: Claudia Hammond looks back at the Ebola epidemic to see how it spiraled out of control” and “Brainwaves: Series 5, an Adventure in Skin.” Say what? Now that sounds interesting...

  • Nature Podcast – It’s described on iTunes as bringing you “the best stories from the world of science each week… everything from astronomy to neuroscience.”

  • General internet searches. Since the next series I plan to start in on – just as soon as I finish up my fantasy and historical fiction sets this year – is going to be about time travel, I already started exploring the world wide web on the subject and came up with some interesting-looking results. Clearly though, this resource is bound to be a bit more sketchy than the other ones listed above since anyone can post anything on the internet without a single shred of proof. So use caution.

With that said, taking your craft seriously doesn’t mean sucking all the fun out of it. At the risk of sounding like a complete and total nerd, learning can be one of the best forms of instant gratification around. When you find the right format, presentation or platform to learn on, you’ll find yourself transported right into whole new universes of possibility that can take your creative brain on epic adventures and pre-adventures.

What’s not to love about a science-fiction writing rule like that?

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