This episode of writing excuses looked at writing science fiction. We write science fiction to explore "what if" and especially new things, with science fiction focusing on the conceivably possible while fantasy takes us into the largely impossible. One thing that science fiction demands is a knowledge of the sciences or at least a respect for accuracy, and the need to know what has been done before so that you can actually write about new things.
Why write science fiction?
- Philip K. Dick says science fiction is about writing new thing, experiencing new things. Science fiction looks at what is conceivably possible, while fantasy looks at what is conceivably impossible.
- We write science fiction from two positions. Either optimistic about what science can do, or cautionary tales.
- Is it a didactic genre? Originally, although now settings tend to be more expected
- it is still a genre of "what if"
- Gernsbach scientifiction
- "what if" genre -- used to be called romances
- It's still a reflective genre
- ideas drive science fiction, setting drives fantasy
- Philip K. Dick says that the short story reveals character through action, while the novel leads up to action through character. So the short story focuses on action, while the novel focuses on character.
- Need to understand the current sciences
- can of worms: subgenres
- need to know what has come before, need to have read broadly in the field
- genre of ideas, exploration and discovery: you need something new
- however there are always people who are new to the genre
My own favorite notion was that when we take a voyage of exploration and discovery, we really need to go somewhere new.