Thursday, March 13, 2008

What Kinda Crazy Idea Is That?

This week at Star-Crossed, we're blogging about the science in our stories. Every science fiction or speculative fiction story must, by definition, have some element of the fantastical in it. Even if the fantastical element is not the technology, physics, or science, but the manner in which it is used.

The science that underpins my stories is real science--most of the time, something about my worldbuilding will be triggered by an article I read on, or, or even, gods help me, wikipedia (yes, yes, I know that wikis are notoriously hackable, but for most of the stuff I'm looking at, wikis make really nice encapsulated "layman's summaries" from which I can at least begin to understand the concept I'm researching. Fact-checking happens elsewhere). It's real science...but currently used in not-yet-real ways.

I consider it part of the speculative fiction writer's job to stretch the imagination around technology. Even if my use of a technology or aspect of physics could be kicked over by a stray sneeze by a half-decent scientist, making it work in a fictive setting presents a possibility that can then be either proven or disproven, and perhaps expanded upon or altered until it does work. Not that I'm comparing myself to the greats, but Verne, Asimov, Clarke--can we really say that they were predictive of some of the futuristic speculation they engaged in in their stories? Or did enough minds fasten upon the possibilities that these authors presented and shape discovery towards achieving the goals the authors conceptualized?

Hey, I'm no quantum physicist (although I may or may not play one on TV--until you turn the thing on! :P ), but I like to think that part of the speculative fiction writer's job is to entertain possibility through storytelling that can maybe find traction in more technical minds elsewhere.

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Lynda K. Scott said...

Great post, Xandra! And you made a particularly good point about Verne, Asimov and all. Who knows? Maybe one day some of the 'science' in our books will spur the imagination of someone bright enough to actually create it! How cool would that be? :D

Savanna Kougar said...

Good point, exactly the phrase that came to my mind. Technology, is only truly realized by how we imagine it, how we use imagination on ways to use it, the possibilities. Yay! One reason I like writing OtherWorlds -- the possiblities.