Questions tagged [science-fiction]

Stories about space, technology, the future, and other things that could be real but aren't.

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18
votes
3answers
1k views

When do I explain my created world scenario in a prologue vs. letting it unfold in the story?

Let's say I'm creating a unique world for my book. New planet, maybe new species, complex society with complex rules, history, government, and so on. Some of these details are absolutely necessary to ...
12
votes
1answer
795 views

How to show that something is different than in real life?

I'm writing fiction set in the near future (~15-20 years). The world is still mostly the same and thus familiar to the reader, but an important part of the story is that a few things are radically ...
10
votes
7answers
802 views

How should I introduce new and complex technologies or tools?

I'm writing a Science Fiction book. While this book doesn't push reality very far, there are some new technologies and tools that I have added. One tool is used more frequently than all the others, ...
8
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6answers
7k views

How to introduce a world that's alien to the reader

I'm writing sort of a space-opera and I was wondering what would the best way to explain everything about the world to my readers. The story is kind of a political intrigue, and it would be very easy ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

What's “fair use” for borrowing someone else's invented term?

Let's say I'm writing a sci-fi novel. I want to use a word which another writer has coined, which has become well-recognized outside the original book, for the name of an alien species in my story. I ...
6
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5answers
1k views

What are the pros and cons of building the setting before the characters and story

I have a science-fiction setting I have been kicking around for sometime, but I am not sure how to go about fleshing out events or characters that would make for stories within this setting. What are ...
11
votes
6answers
1k views

How can I convey dates (with ordering) for events happening under different dating systems, e.g. a Sci-Fi story spread over the galaxy?

So I want to write a Sci-Fi where humans have spread across the solar system and into the galaxy. There are multiple stories going across at several different times. E.g.: Aliens attack Pluto 3 weeks ...
12
votes
11answers
8k views

Inventing names for Sci-Fi characters

How can I invent names for fictional characters in a future-setting Sci-Fi story so they won't be connected to any existing culture? I considered the following options: Invent some random names. ...
22
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9answers
9k views

What breaks suspension of disbelief?

So much of Sci-Fi and Fantasy requires the viewer (or reader) to suspend their disbelief: The speed of light can be circumvented, magic works, vampires are real (and may or may not sparkle), etc. ...
18
votes
9answers
3k views

Referencing modern pop culture in science fiction

A geek today is quite likely to reference the pop culture of 30 years ago: "Do or do not, there is no try", "Beam me up, Scotty" and "Ground control to Major Tom" are easily and commonly recognisable. ...
8
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14answers
4k views

The role of inexplicable events in hard science fiction

The modern world has few true mysteries, among them the fate of the Roanoke colonists and the crew of the Mary Celeste but do such happenings have a place in futuristic settings? In settings with ...
30
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19answers
15k views

Writing a Super Intelligent AI

Something I have been thinking about recently is how to write a character who is an artificial intelligence and not have him feel human. Specifically an AI who is designed to think faster and better ...
24
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9answers
6k views

Does everything have to be accurate?

Do I have to make everything apply to logic, physics, science, etc? The Harry Potter series has been a major hit, and it is nowhere near to being scientifically possible. But I've noticed that I can'...
25
votes
13answers
7k views

Can I conceal an antihero's insanity - and should I?

I have an idea for an anti-heroic sci-fi character whose character arc runs from spoilt rich girl, to a refugee in the rubble of human civilisation after an alien invasion, to crewmember and then ...
16
votes
19answers
7k views

The role of the supernatural in hard science fiction

The response to this question makes it clear to me that I haven't quite asked the question I had intended, the answers are useful but not quite what I'm looking for. So different but related ...
14
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3answers
1k views

What are key features and pacing in a satisfying ending to a science fiction novel?

My novel has been through multiple drafts and beta reads, and by and large is in good shape. I've learned how to cure a saggy middle, how to stay in point-of-view, how to keep the protagonist driving ...
13
votes
4answers
380 views

How do I avoid tech/social errors in near-future fiction?

Not long ago I read a novel set in the near future (mid-21st century). My suspension of disbelief was totally fine with time travel, an implanted "universal translator" of sorts, major medical ...
13
votes
9answers
2k views

How to expand my vocabulary? [duplicate]

I wanted to write something for a long time. But what I think is, in writing the choice of words plays a very significant role. From where I can learn this thing? I think I don't have enough words in ...
8
votes
6answers
375 views

How can I dig conflict out of an optimistic SF-nal premise?

I frequently have ideas for what could be called "optimistic" science-fiction premises - imaginary technological or social changes which I think would create an unusual and interesting setting, and "...
23
votes
12answers
6k views

When writing science fiction, how important is it to provide scientific details for the (fictitious) things you are presenting in the story?

I know there is a difference between 'hard' and 'soft' science fiction. But even then, it can be hard to know what sort of categorization in which to place and treat your story, and it is not really ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Researching Future Technology for a Science Fiction Novel

Because I enjoy reading Science Fiction, I'm thinking of writing a Sci-Fi novel myself. I'm interested in 'hard' (related to the engineering sciences) science fiction with a military bent (think The ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

Rewriting a scifi story to fit with actual science, should I do it as I go?

Rewriting a scifi story to fit with actual science, should I do it as I go, or just write first and make the needed changes while editing? My world exists in my mind, clear and palpable. but I am ...
9
votes
7answers
715 views

Potential confusion: referring to home planet as “Earth”

I'm writing a science fiction story and it's based in another galaxy, colonised by humans originally on a geographically equivalent "Earth". My current usage refers to it as "Earth" and provides a ...
8
votes
6answers
545 views

Is it safe to create a wiki for a book (or something featured in it) before the book is published?

I'm working on a sci-fi novel, and it contains a lot of fictional creatures, which are in some ways separate from the novel because I came up with them a while before I actually got the idea to write ...
8
votes
6answers
844 views

How to use short stories to explore a new setting and potential characters for a novel?

I'm an aspiring fantasy and sci-fi writer and I my goal is to write a novel that is to be the first in a series within the same setting. I'm getting to a point where I can feel "the world coming ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

Superpowers in Writing - Cool for the sake of cool

I originally started planning/writing a short story that was more or less based on a few popular trends in YA/Sci-Fi writing (interstellar travel, superpowers, etc) just as an exercise to force myself ...
8
votes
11answers
6k views

How to distinguish if a novel is science fiction or fantasy?

Through the process of writing my novel, I've found that I really don't know where it fits in the written realm. I believe I should have a clear understanding to identify what genre my book belongs in....
4
votes
3answers
400 views

My story portrays a process, not a conflict - how do I make the process my focus?

My current WiP is a science-fiction piece which is less about characters coping with a particular problem, and more about the process they go through in reaction to the SF-nal catalyst. My story is ...
3
votes
2answers
229 views

Third person into first person as the protagonist becomes the same entity as the narrator

I'm attempting to write a sci-fi novel in a dystopian future baring semblance to that within 1984. I'm using third person to describe what the protagonist sees, what he feels and what he thinks, ...
1
vote
4answers
123 views

Is it a bad idea to use footnotes to describe new technologies in a science-fiction novel?

I am wondering if we can use footnotes to describe technologies used in a science-fiction novel instead of describing it by switching from an omniscient POV, that describes everything in a poetic way, ...
12
votes
7answers
1k views

Spiritual elements in a science-fiction novel

Does using unexplained spiritual elements (soul, "spiritual"/non-physical beings, afterlife, God, etc.) in a story with a futuristic setting make it science fantasy rather than science fiction?
9
votes
2answers
773 views

Querying for a setting-heavy speculative fiction novel

I'm an attentive follower of Janet Reid's Query Shark, and I've learned a lot. But Reid doesn't represent speculative fiction, which seems to present wrinkles of its own. Particularly, Query Shark ...
8
votes
8answers
326 views

Can a person get bogged down by science fiction research?

I discovered my interest in writing a few years ago. I was extremely stressed out from work, and so out of the blue, I sat down to write science fiction every night for a week. Although I have been ...
4
votes
4answers
118 views

Characterizing a sentient robot: sensory data

I have a sentient robot in my novel. Truth to be told, I have many. Sentience is somewhat cheap to achieve, meaning that there are multiple artificial beings that can be considered sentient by our ...
4
votes
1answer
188 views

Is it okay to attempt to write in the style of another person, and how is that done well?

I want to write like Neal Stephenson- I read Snow Crash and absolutely fell in love with the style. I'm trying to write a cyberpunk style book myself, and I have a good plot (I think), but I want to ...
3
votes
3answers
630 views

Does this beginning hook the reader? [closed]

Guide lines Q no. 4: This is supposed to be the opening part, but certainly not the whole of the first chapter or page for that matter... I'm not exactly sure anyone would take 30 seconds to read that,...
1
vote
2answers
887 views

Do these starting paragraphs make you want to keep reading? [closed]

OK, first, I'm not a native. So, what you do by instinct and a bit of research, I do by extensive research, including accents and dialog style. I’m dead. ‘But you have a chance,’ I was told, ‘...
0
votes
3answers
142 views

Finding resources for sci-fi writers on Quantum Mechanics

I don't have the financial resources to hire a scientific consultant to ask him whether my science-fiction plot is realistic, so I was wondering if there were any resource that teach Quantum Mechanic ...