And writing science fiction is fun because you get to play God and harass your protagonist even more than you would your little sister.
However, science fiction has a word in it that often leads the writer down weedy trails…and that word is science. Some writers ignore science and just wave their hands, make up words like tachyon and presto, you have a transporter that gets you to the planet without the inconvenience of shuttle craft. Other writers get so much into the science that they become little professors and leave the reader yawning. I think that is why so many physicists become science fiction writers. But that’s another soapbox for another day.
Recently, I mentioned string theory and multi universes when discussing the popular novel, “The City and the City” by Meiville. Now I am writing “Past the Event Horizon: book 4” that includes a space journey involving dwarf stars, vortexes, space travel and all kinds of science stuff. I am trying to get the known science right and still have a story where my protagonist can travel far enough that he finds an interesting world outside his solar system. Okay, so I do some hand waving. Bradbury said that there were canals on Mars and we now know that isn’t true. Yet, his book The Martian Chronicles is a classic, and still sells.
I ran across this blog when twittering and thought I would mention it and give you a link. The reason? Because, if the science isn’t what an editor thinks it should be, you get called on the carpet. The problem is that the carpet is full of holes and even today’s scientists may have a lot of accepted theories wrong. Shock and amazement. Today’s science fact may be tomorrow’s science fiction. There are a lot of “accepted” theories in physics that have yet to be proven by more than fancy math. So if you are interested in the science of space, string theory or the Big Bang, give this link a gander.
Veronica Sicoe’s Blog “Open Your Eyes: science fact or fiction? ow.ly/aquPr
Last week I read “Crystal Variation” by Sharon Lee because I am a Lee junkie. There must be a twelve step program somewhere. It’s maybe 1200 pages and the whole time I felt guilty thinking that I should read something on a list somewhere…like “Among Others” which, honestly I started and put down. Jo Walton’s “Among Others” just garnered the Nebula award and I congratulate her. Except, I don’t have time while reading this really big book and taking all food intravenously. The dust and laundry are both piling up. I told my husband he needed to diet, but he complained he needed some food to eat. Nag, nag, nag.
I am finding it hard to really trust other Indie writers. They are all over the place screaming, “buy my book”, but when I read the plot summary, I run for the hills. Recently one on Amazon got 95 out of 110 five star reviews. That’s amazing. Then the plot read like a crazy story with devils, angels, end of the world, rifts in space…oh wait, that does sound familiar. A few of those things are in my new novel. But the other book doesn’t have a cool spaceship and a dying dwarf star like my story does.
My reaction to recent Indie stories is disturbing because of all people, I shouldn’t be the one running to established favorites, but rather I should be out there uncovering self-published masterpieces. The bottom-line is that, with my cranky maturity (read older) and this fast paced world we live in, I don’t want to waste my time reading what I don’t enjoy and paying for it. I want a story plot that appeals to me, a strongly recommended book, a writer I know, or a novel that’s on a list voted by people who read science fiction and love it.
How do you pick your scifi novels? And what are you loving right now?