Home Forums General Writing Discussions Beginners' Tips For Writing Science Fiction

This topic contains 66 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  Josiah DeGraaf 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #34055

    Emily D
    @emily-d
    • Rank: Loyal Sidekick
    • Total Posts: 106

    @leumeister Yeah that’s really cool! And yes I would LOVE more tips! I’m learning so much!!!!

    #34108

    Mallory O’Bier
    @overcomer
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
    • Total Posts: 508

    Some Christian sci-fi books I can personally recommend are The Robot Wars series by Sigmund Brouwer, and Cloak of the Light by Chuck Black.

    I don’t really have any tips that I can think of, @emily-d

    #34127

    Mark Kamibaya
    @mark-kamibaya
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
    • Total Posts: 312

    Sci-Fi Research Part 1

    So the first thing I did was research what science fiction actually is. I looked for a whole bunch of definitions. Many went something like “science fiction is a genre that deals with futuristic science and technology” or “it’s merely a setting.” Personally, I found the “dealing with technology” definition to be quite bland, and to delineate science fiction to the status of setting seems a little insulting (to me at least).

    However, one definition really caught my eye. It said that science fiction is “the literature of the human species encountering change.” I was really attracted to that definition, because it made the whole genre of science fiction thematically valuable. I researched a little more and found a quote by Isaac Asmiov, a legendary author of science fiction.

    “The science fiction story does not deal with the restoration of order, but with change and, ideally, with continuing change . . . we leave our society and never return to it.”

    An Asimov endorsement is always a plus. He really clarifies how science fiction should work. It’s a genre in which society transforms (or has transformed or will transform) when it encounters change.

    However, no offense to Asimov, this definition is only partially correct. Science fiction doesn’t always deal with the broad thematic themes of society. Sometimes it works on a smaller scale. It doesn’t speak of society, in general, but about the individuals within society.

    After reading the Asimov quote I thought my work was done, but I took a little more time to see what critics had to say. I didn’t find a good critic quote, but I did find what I believe to be the best definition of science fiction. I found the definition in an article from the University of Kansas. And once I read it, I realized what science fiction was (emphasis mine).

    “Science fiction is a discussion about what it means to be human in a changing world, and everyone is invited. Welcome to the conversation.” –Christopher McKitterick

    I’m gonna tag @emily-d and @dragon-snapper, because this is really for them. I’ll also see what @brandon-miller, master of science fiction, thinks. @holly-nelson-gray, @jayniecatgirl08, and @leumeister all had something to say. @rolena-hatfield and @daeus gave tips too. And . . . wait, I just tagged everyone who interacted with this thread. Oh, well. I’ll tag @kate-flournoy and @emma-flournoy because they always have something to say 😛 And some people off the top of my head . . . @winter-rose @hope @sierra-r @ethryndal.

    That’s all I can think of right now. I’ll be posting throughout the month of June, so stay tuned. Tag anyone who would be interested in this topic, because (I have to repeat this. It’s just soo good!) “science fiction is a discussion about what it means to be human in a changing world, and everyone is invited. Welcome to the conversation.”

    #34129

    Emily D
    @emily-d
    • Rank: Loyal Sidekick
    • Total Posts: 106

    @mallory-o’bier

    Thanks! You won’t believe this, but Sigmund Brouwer is like one of my FAVOURITE authors and Cloak of the Light is one of my all-time FAVOURITE books!!! Great minds think alike…;) I haven’t read Robot Wars, but have you read the Winds of Light Series by him? It’s like my favourite series-that and Wars of the Realm (So far, I have not read much past Book 1, but it’amazing!). Have you read any of the other books in W.O.T.R.? If so, what did you think?

    #34130

    Emily D
    @emily-d
    • Rank: Loyal Sidekick
    • Total Posts: 106

    @overcomer only just found out how to tag you!

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by  Emily D.
    • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by  Emily D.
    • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by  Emily D.
    • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by  Emily D.
    #34135

    Emily D
    @emily-d
    • Rank: Loyal Sidekick
    • Total Posts: 106

    @mark-kamibaya Wow! Woohoo! This conversation has started. That was awesome, can’t wait to learn more!!! 😛

    #34144

    Dragon Snapper
    @dragon-snapper
    • Rank: Chosen One
    • Total Posts: 2598

    @mark-kamibaya Thanks for putting this together!
    “The literature of the human species encountering change.” I see why this caught your eye. I never considered Sci-Fi that way. Really, I always thought it was a fiction of technology and extraordinary things. Star wars kind of thing, if you know what I mean. 😛
    But certainly, just writing science fiction in itself could be very thematically helpful. A change, an arc, for an entire species…
    What it means to be human in a changing world: certainly, this is another good quote. I mean, in a changing world, governments could be messed up (anarchy, at times), there are often times rebellions in Sci-fi – which could lead to another cliche discussion – 😛 , and all the while, the characters are having to decide how they are going to live. What makes them human? It’s like an arc within an arc.
    Thoughts?

    #34159

    Mark Kamibaya
    @mark-kamibaya
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
    • Total Posts: 312

    @dragon-snapper Yeah, I really think writing science fiction with these definitions in mind will improve your story at least in the areas of character and theme.

    I really like that definition of sci-fi for obvious thematic reasons. Also, sci-fi can’t just be about technology and the extraordinary because that would disregard certain genres of science fiction (more on that later this month when I get into sci-fi sub-genres).

    However, I don’t think of it as an arc for an entire species. I like to think of it as a compare/contrast essay. The creator never states it, but the audience is subconsciously comparing and contrasting a species with their own. But, again, that would only work for some sub-genres of science fiction. And the changing world doesn’t even have to be Earth, you know?

    Anyways, could you explain what you mean an arc within an arc? I don’t fully understand what you mean, but it sounds cool.

    #34160

    SleepwalkingMK
    @sleepwalkingmk
    • Rank: Wise Jester
    • Total Posts: 71

    “Science fiction is a discussion about what it means to be human in a changing world…” –Christopher McKitterick
    @mark-kamibaya Thanks so much for this definition! I’ve been struggling with what science fiction actually is as I wrote a sci-fi short story, but this is exactly what my story deals with–and I didn’t even realize it until now.

    #34161

    Anonymous
    • Rank: Wise Jester
    • Total Posts: 53

    @trinity-gray Sci-Fi discussion

    #34172

    Emma Flournoy
    @emma-flournoy
    • Rank: Eccentric Mentor
    • Total Posts: 1184

    @mark-kamibaya I feel honored. 😛

    That’s pretty cool stuff, but I am so busy right now I’ve hardly even had time to get on KP. Oh well. So, y’all have a good discussion. *bobs off*

    #34192

    Dragon Snapper
    @dragon-snapper
    • Rank: Chosen One
    • Total Posts: 2598

    Interesting, subconsciously comparing and contrasting–I think that its a neat way of thinking of it.

    Compare and contrast is certainly helpful, especially with sci-fi, because the world- like you said, it doesn’t have to be Earth -doesn’t directly compare to ours. And a self-made connection is always much more revealing.

    Arc within an arc. It’s like, you have a character, and this character has an arc, right? Then, put him in a changing world. The changing world is a huge scale arc, and the character lives in the world. Arc within an arc? 😛

    @mark-kamibaya

    #34209

    Mark Kamibaya
    @mark-kamibaya
    • Rank: Knight in Shining Armor
    • Total Posts: 312

    @emma-flournoy No biggie

    @sleepwalkingmk Great that I could help ya!

    @dragon-snapper Yes! Self-made connections are always more revealing. That’s why I believe stories can sometimes teach more than lectures. Because they make people draw a conclusions for themselves.

    Okay, I get what you mean about the arcs. It makes sense. And you’re right. However, that would work for like alien invasion stories, but not a space opera. Cuz the world itself doesn’t have to be changing in the story. It could’ve changed in the past, right?

    That’s one of the cool things about sci-fi, because it’s general enough for you to create freely. 😀

    #34213

    JaynieCatgirl08
    @jayniecatgirl08
    • Rank: Charismatic Rebel
    • Total Posts: 38

    @dragonsnapper yeah, i thought the same. just star wars XD

    #34257

    Brandon Miller
    @brandon-miller
    • Rank: Charismatic Rebel
    • Total Posts: 40

    I have been tagged.
    Again.
    Which is fantastic, because even though I don’t find a lot of time to spend here, this is the topic I want to spend it in. Also, I think that my lack of actually showing up for this discussion has made me into something of a legend. (@Mark-Kamibaya “master of science fiction” Thanks, that’s really sweet of you but lolno. I am master of… nothing, at this point. But Maybe I’m getting there… but I’m not there yet.)

    That being said, I did read something that helped me move forward toward that quest: Mark’s reply a couple of posts up from mine. It brought to the forefront something that I have been aware of (but not consciously): Sci-Fi, for all of it’s crazy, alien, fantastic elements, is completely, one-hundred percent, no-getting-around-it about human beings. A good sci fi story always explores what it means to be human in the present, by exploring alternative realities, past or present, and highlighting humanities strengths and weaknesses in those settings.

    Also… much belated but @emily-d
    Here are some of my favorite Christian Sci-Fi books:
    <i>The Lamb Among the Stars</i> by Chris Walley is fantastic! A bit imposing just because of it’s length, but SO worth the read.
    <i>Out of Time</i> series by Nadine Brandes is quickly becoming a favorite. (I’m in the middle of the last book.)
    Jill Williamson’s <i>The Safelands</i> Trilogy is absolutely fantastic, but not completely clean. (Topics of sex, drugs, and (if I remember correctly) suicide are handled, though in what I believe to be a Christian manner.)
    Also, if you haven’t read it yet, please read <i>Frankenstein</i>. It is, technically, a horror book that meant something totally different back then than it does now. The book is intellectually engaging and /not/ physically repulsive or terrifying. Definitely worth a read. (So is <i>The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde</i>, actually.)

    Okay, that’s all I have for now, but if you want more I can go back to my shelf and pull a few up from my memory. Let me know if you read/have read any of these and want to discuss them!

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