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The Science Part of Science Fiction

“Science fiction isn’t here to say, ‘This is true or that will happen,’ it’s here to say, suppose it did, then what?” —Peter Watts.

Science fiction walks a thin line between what can happen, what might happen, and what’s complete speculation …right now. People reading it, want believable science and get in an uproar if the science isn’t right. But there is also the fiction part. The imaginative part that elicits the impossible and improbable. And is fun to contemplate, that makes a good story.

So, here’s the thing…

Today’s science may not be tomorrow’s science and science fiction should push those boundaries. Make our scientists consider the improbable.

My father said that he was told that humans would never leave Earth because of the escape velocity needed.

But scientists went ahead and developed solid rocket fuel anyway, and took off for the moon. Ten years ago black holes were a theory, a myth, and now scientists have proof that they exist and even believe that there is a black hole at the center of most galaxies. Maybe, they are the engines of creation.

The Universe is vast. To get anywhere within a reasonable lifetime, we need faster than light or a trick tunnel or the story is stuck in our solar system.

So I did that in Past the Event Horizon. Had to. And it’s been done before often enough that the public accepts the convention. The movie “Contact” showed a wormhole that enabled travel across deep space. So it must be possible. We have filmed evidence. Carl Sagan said so.

However, I want a lot of my science as accurate as possible in my space stories and thus this week, I read If the Earth Had Two Moons by Neil F. Comins….because you see, my world of Alysia has two.

This non fiction novel is interesting. It contains ten thought provoking speculations on our solar system. Each one starts with a short fiction story and then buckle in for the detailed science follow-up. Other chapters  are: “What if the Earth Were a Moon?”, What if the Earth’s Crust Were Thicker?”, What if the Earth Had Formed Somewhere Else in the Galaxy?”, “What if the Earth had two Suns?”, What If Another galaxy Collided with the Milky Way?” and other equally challenging hypotheses.

Great fodder for science fiction stories.

The writing is reasonably easy to read, but be aware that there are illustration, graphs and numbers involved further on. Science…real science. It’s a book you sip in concentrated sittings, but it’s guaranteed to stir your imagination.

Heads UP!

Orycon is this coming weekend. It’s our big annual Science Fiction Con and I have manuscripts in two workshops. Bill Nolan of Logan’s Run will be one of my professional critiquers again.

I’m stoked.

I’ll let you know how it goes in my next blog. Stay tuned.

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