I'm a fantasy writer and seldom exposing myself to sci-fi albeit both of them can be categorise as the same genre. I have this idea to start a sci-fi short story where the technologies in this world are impossible, a gravity defying technology that can lift an entire city, otherworldly hybrid experiments, atomic manipulation, cells manipulation, etc.

I know that it is "science fiction" that I could just disregard about the laws of science and use my imagination but at the same time I want the things that I write sound at the very least convincing to readers as if it'll actually happens in the near future.

I'm an art student and I rarely got myself into science oriented subjects in school so it's rather difficult for me to understand the laws of science.

My question is, is there some tips and trick to start conducting scientific research that I can use them to support my story? If there's websites that covered everything about science would be nice too.

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    "If there's websites that covered everything about science": Are there "websites that cover everything about art"? Science is an extremely broad term. There aren't even "websites that cover everything about gravity." Either buckle down and study, or make it all "magic" so you can invent whatever explanation you like. Aug 11, 2016 at 10:04
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because "how to do research" is not a question about writing. Research is a generic skill that everyone is supposed to learn in school. Writers do not do it any differently from anyone else.
    – user16226
    Aug 11, 2016 at 11:55
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    @mbakeranalecta, I disagree. In my time I have carried out research in order to pass exams, as part of a civil service job, as an educational writer, in order to make political arguments, and, like Crestial in this post, in order to write science fiction. I did it differently in each case. Why should this question about research to write fictional characters from a different culture be on-topic but a question about research to write fictional science be off-topic? Aug 11, 2016 at 13:03
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    @mbakeranalecta, there is a "research" tag on Writers Stack Exchange that is described as "Questions about how to conduct research, and how to incorporate your research into your writing." I think Crestial's question falls squarely within that definition. In addition, "research" is a fairly popular tag which currently has 71 questions listed under it. So, while we're all entitled to our opinions, I think it is fair to say that the majority usage of Writers SE is against you in this case. Aug 11, 2016 at 15:57
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    Subscribe to something like New Scientist, Scientific American, etc. Read it. Will start getting you thinking about what's going on. Aug 11, 2016 at 21:30

6 Answers 6


If you are straight up inventing technology, then the key is not trying to hammer out some sort of pseudoscientific explanation, but rather to think out the 2nd and third order effects of the technology so that they fit seamlessly into your world.

For example, anti-gravity. Sure, it allows for floating cities and such, but does it also replace stairs (with vertical tubes that shunt folks up and down), allow for bizarre inverted buildings that are larger on top than on the bottom, or things of that nature? You don't really need a deep scientific base for this, just some time thinking about how your technology would affect the world.

What technical reading COULD help you with is naming scientific phenomenon. Coming up with plausible sounding things like "Wesbowski FTL Engine", "Kellerman's Principle of Gravitronic Repulsion", or the like. Some choice scientific/engineering jargon can go a long way towards imbedding your technology into the minds of readers.

Quite frankly, Wikipedia probably goes as indepth as is necessary for most scientific things unless you want to really dive deep into research about a specific topic. But for things that don't actually exist today, I don't think there is much value added in trying to tie in existing technology as some sort of precursor for invented future tech. For example, I think it is highly unlikely that some type of mind reading cranial implant that replaced cell phones is going to be called the iSkull, utilize existing wireless protocol terminology, and be invented by Apple. You are better off creating the vocabulary around this device from scratch.


To get a basic view of science, go to educational websites aimed at school pupils studying science subjects. In fact I have found a good starting point for research into practically any subject is to look at materials written for children. I have often used BBC Bitesize to get an introduction to subjects I know little about.

If you want something a little more advanced, search for books, magazines or websites about popular science.

You might also consider going on an evening course if one is available near you.

The trouble with anti-gravity and so on is that such things are far beyond the level of present day science. I am usually a strong proponent of researching from facts, not from fiction, but in this case fiction and speculation is all you've got! So try reading science fiction novels by well known writers dealing with the pseudo-scientific topics you want to cover, not to copy them, obviously, but to get a sense of what is considered plausible and what jargon to use.

The Wikipedia pages on mainstream scientific topics are usually accurate, but pitched at an intimidatingly high level. In contrast the Wikipedia pages for "far out" topics like anti-gravity are fairly readable and don't have a lot of mathematics.

I am a native English speaker, but often prefer the Simple English Wikipedia to the standard Wikipedia for research.

I would also recommend an old (1983) but still useful book called The Science in Science Fiction edited by Peter Nicholls. The chapters on biology and cloning have been mostly overtaken by scientific progress since then, but the parts dealing with speculative technologies of the far future obviously haven't been. Chapter 4 "The Limits of the Possible" has a section on anti-gravity.

Added later: as you state in your question, your aim here is to get enough of a grounding in science to come up with convincing justifications for futuristic technology. Better understanding of scientific principles will definitely give a more authentic flavour to your science fiction, and will also help you think up new ideas, but remember the writers' proverb that research should be like an iceberg: only 10% of it should be visible on the surface. Remember that to your characters flying cities will be mundane. They will not feel the need to explain them to each other.


I was a science major in college, and I was in a writer's group. I tended to be the go-to guy for science/medical in our group. And there were others who were "consulted" based on what they knew: religion, country living, guns and ammo, etc. You could find some science geek, buy the person coffee, and chat. You might even convince your new friend to review and critique your work.


This link may change your life. In the stack exchange forum provided by the link you can ask questions regarding world building. Many of these questions are about science, but it's in the context of world-building for fiction or role-playing games. Do make sure to search for similar questions and do look at the rules. As long as it's a specific question and not too story-based, it's a marvelous research tool. I would have made this a comment, but there's a long discussion there about the validity of this question on this particular writers stack exchange.

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    If no one else had mentioned SE worldbuilding I would have! What's great about worldbuilding SE is that you can just get feedback on how plausible something sounds, or you can asked for general science based answers (it might not exist but it still follows basic 'laws' of science) or you can get hard science answers! you can even ask how plausible your magic systems are, and what needs improving...you ask, they answer. Aug 16, 2016 at 16:30

“both of them can be categorise as the same genre.”

Although it is sometimes, wrongfuly, done, I can’t agree to this statement.

Anyways, be careful as you could easily go overboard, Hard Science Fiction is all about science and its writing is better suited for scientists types.

You need to be writing in the SF sub-genres of Science Fantasy or Soft Science Fiction. For that you need minimal scientific knowledge, just find a novel about popular science like best science books for the general reader

Also, Look at the Science Fiction Writing Resource, and Google best general science websites


Like some other posts here, it really depends what your focus is, and what you're trying to accomplish with the writing. Is scientific accuracy a "must-have" or a "Nice-to-have"? Figure out the degree to which scientific accuracy is important to you, and how much of the world you want your reader to see. As for research, what I do is watch a lot of scientific YT channels that focus on pop-culture. Some examples: Because Science, Spacedock, Templin Institute, Game/Film Theory, Shadiversity. Some are better than others, but the channels I just listed are ones I really go for some passive research.

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