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Questions tagged [science-fiction]

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

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48
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10answers
13k views

I wrote a novel, now what?

I'm new here, so, please, bear with me. I had a look at previous answers to similar questions, but my case is (possibly) a bit different. I am not a professional writer, so I wrote this (long) novel ...
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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 ...
26
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13answers
4k views

The unknown and unexplained in science fiction

Science fiction has been defined as a genre where the "incredible" elements are "recognizable as not-true, but also as not-unlike-true, not-flatly- (and in the current state of knowledge) impossible" (...
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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 ...
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'...
24
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12answers
5k views

Problems Blending Sci-fi & Traditional Fantasy?

I have been cautioned against blending: Traditional fantasy elements Such as magic systems and exotic, less plausible creatures (on a scientific level - magic tends to explain away these beasts) ...
23
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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 ...
23
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5answers
8k views

Can I use the name Valerian in my sci-fi novel?

I have an Ancient Roman theme with the names of my characters, however someone pointed out to me Valerian is already a scifi character's name. Are the french comics (which spell it with an accent over ...
23
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7answers
4k views

How do I create uniquely male characters?

In How to write strong female characters, Standback says that the best way to write a strong female character is to make her uniquely female, the type of character that can not possibly be male and ...
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. ...
22
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8answers
6k views

How can I make a “meeting in VR” less dumb?

I've written myself into a sci-fi cliche which I have never seen done well: two characters meet in virtual reality. The gist of my scene is one character has been in a pseudocoma, more aware of her ...
21
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5answers
5k views

Is every story set in the future “science fiction”?

Science Fiction is a "big tent" genre, and we all know it when we see it. Even if we argue about the specific tropes – and what might make something lean heavily towards another classification (...
21
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5answers
2k views

How to add depth to writing - turn a story into a book [duplicate]

I've had a few 'great ideas' for books. I'm a big sci-fi fan, especially Michael Crichton. I'm not sure if that's relevant but there it is. I want to write a full length book, not a short story, a ...
20
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12answers
3k views

How to explain the main plot with science based concepts, without the non-sci-fi fans getting bored?

Let me explain: I'm writing a game where the Earth gets a massive biological attack from an alien race in the close future, and only a small part of the planet's life survived (few dozens of humans ...
20
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8answers
3k views

Worth writing, if end is obvious

I am currently sketching a novel about people at the end of time, some months or years before the Big Crunch: There is a space station full of people who can only sit and watch as their final moment ...
20
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7answers
667 views

How to deal with common Earth references in a non-Earth setting?

Until now, I have mostly written in settings similar enough to Earth, mostly with human beings. For the first time, I am writing a short story set on a different planet, where the protagonists are not ...
19
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8answers
7k views

Is it considered lazy writing to have a dry prelude at the start of a book?

I'm thinking of the crawl sequences at the beginning of Star Wars, that just give you the background information straight up, and then start the excitement. I've just been wondering if putting a ...
19
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10answers
6k views

Is it time to start closing up my novel?

I realize this may be a duplicate question. I've seen, for reference [ How long can a first novel be? ] yet I think my situation is a little more specific. I find myself in a similar situation. My ...
18
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7answers
5k views

Fantasy novel with obvious - but never defined - sci-fi elements?

I'm considering writing a fantasy novel. While I'm striving to make the world as original as I can, and not rely on many of the popular fantasy tropes, for the purposes of this question you can assume ...
18
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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. ...
18
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8answers
5k views

Can I bring back Planetary Romance as a genre?

This question is about genre and reader expectations. I'm not trying to change my story to fit a mainstream genre. I have already taken steps to broaden it's appeal, but it's too late to create an ...
18
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5answers
2k views

Can Readers Relate to a Book without Humans?

I've been working on a story idea for a few years now, during which I designed a world (fantasy-based) in which it would take place. The thing is that because this is a different planet, I thought it ...
18
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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 ...
17
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8answers
2k views

How do I know which elements I can use from the work which orginally inspired me?

I recently read the Blood on the Stars series by Jay Allan and really enjoyed the idea of a post-Golden Age human civilization that has splintered into factions and is now at war with itself. I ...
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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 ...
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3answers
4k views

Is Social Media Science Fiction?

I am writing a science fiction story (actually a screenplay for a film, but I imagine that for the purposes of this question the same rules apply) and I have been told that it isn't really science ...
15
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8answers
3k views

Sci-fi change: Too much or Not enough

I am in the process of editing a short story. It is science fiction of the "if this goes on" kind: I take a social trend I see, and paint its event horizon - a troubling future. 1984 and Fahrenheit ...
14
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9answers
4k views

How to write about aliens without making the work seem Sci-fi?

I am writing scenes of a work where the primary setting and theme is a medieval style world. I believe the genre should be described as Heroic Fantasy. One element of the story is that the creatures ...
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
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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 ...
13
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5answers
2k views

Sense of humor in your sci-fi stories [closed]

What kind of humor do you find appropriate for your sci-fi stories? I realize that the question might seem so broad, but I think the target group for most sci-fi stories has a sense of humor that ...
13
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4answers
383 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 ...
12
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11answers
4k views

In modern Sci-Fi/Fantasy, does real world racism need to be addressed?

I have read through a lot of questions regarding questions of a similar nature, but all of the questions I looked at involved fantasy worlds that were removed from the "real world." In my novel, I ...
12
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9answers
2k views

How do you show, through your narration, a hard and uncaring world?

As I've already mentioned, I'm working on a sci-fi novel. One of the main feelings that I wanted to represent when I started is the sense of a vast, empty, artificial world, mostly cold and uncaring ...
12
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11answers
9k 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. ...
12
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6answers
2k views

I suck at plots. Is there a way to sort of train oneself to think of creative plots, specifically in scifi?

I'm pretty good in the writing department as far as prose, it's just that I'll sit down and have no idea what to write. Perhaps it's a creative problem, I just don't know. I cannot figure out any ...
12
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8answers
2k views

An engineering student wants to write fiction, where to start?

I'm a computer engineering student, programmer, avid book lover and have a very vivid (some would say "screwed up") mind. I recently thought up an idea for a very cool short/medium story. It's like a ...
12
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7answers
546 views

How do you build a story from a world?

I have some material for a "world" (more fantasy than sci-fi at this point). I've noodled around with this world off-and-on for ages but have never had a story to put in the world. I have some brief ...
12
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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 ...
12
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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 ...
12
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2answers
3k views

How far into a speculative novel should one go before introducing the central conflict?

By speculative, I mean mostly science fiction, fantasy or intrigue. For example Neal Stephenson's Anathem, which is a 900-page book, goes well past the 200-page mark before the central conflict ...
12
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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?
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14answers
7k views

How can I get 2 characters to bond while standing alternate watches?

Setting is standard space opera. I am writing a story in which 2 characters are crewing a spaceship. The characters are: (1) the captain, a female in her early 20s, who has grown up on the ship and ...
11
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8answers
2k views

Is a lack of character descriptions a problem?

I have written a novel in which none of the characters are ever described. It started out by accident (3 chapters in when I realized). Question: Is this a good/unique approach or shot myself in ...
11
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10answers
3k views

I'm not enjoying my attempt at a science-fiction novella; should I continue?

I'm only 12, and I've been writing seriously since last year. I tried writing a novel before (I wrote only 5 chapters; I gave up later due to time constraints). I've written a couple of short stories, ...
11
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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 ...
11
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9answers
3k views

Writing from a hive mind POV

The story: Centuries ago, humanity have been incorporated into an alien hive mind, spread by a bacterial-like infection. The "bacteria" infects the blood and brain and allows the infected to join ...
11
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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 ...
11
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8answers
2k views

Why do heroes need to have a physical mark?

It seems that a lot of authors want their heroes to be marked in a special way. It is not enough that these protagonists are going to be heroes, no; they seem to require having a mark that makes them ...
11
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6answers
1k views

English words in a non-english sci-fi novel

In the modern world, english is a well-estabilished technical and scientific language. Some terms have become so commonly used that they are accepted in my native tongue (words like "computer", "PC", "...