95 votes
Accepted

Writing a Super Intelligent AI

I will disagree with others. I am a professor involved in AI, and the easiest way for you to think about a super-AI is to understand what Intelligence IS. Predictive power. Intelligence is the ...
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  • 92k
62 votes

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

I think the key here is in the method of communication. Whilst face-to-face, using the verbal communication, the male character appears curt and uncommunicative. But on reading his logs she finds pure ...
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  • 5,233
53 votes
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Does everything have to be accurate?

Generally, @MichaelKjörling and @HenryTaylor are right. Let me, however, look at the issue from a slightly different perspective. If you explain something, it has to make sense. If you don't explain, ...
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52 votes

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

Why do people seem to think that if a character isn't a straight white male, then the story must address homophobia, racism, and sexism? When was the last time you saw a movie with a black actor that ...
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47 votes

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

You only need to present as much information as is necessary for the plot. Let's use the classic SF technology, Faster Than Light travel. If all it's doing in terms of the plot is moving the ...
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45 votes

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

To be honest, your question has me scratching my head a little. You've described your character as a person with no qualms about manipulating others, all while putting on a sweet face to the outside ...
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40 votes

Problems Blending Sci-fi & Traditional Fantasy?

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. - Arthur C Clarke There's a reason that science fiction and fantasy are frequently shelved together - separating the two is ...
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37 votes
Accepted

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

I don't find anything wrong with your explanation per se. You have a range of options as how to best present it, and what works depends on your aims: Don't explain it at all: This is a legitimate ...
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37 votes

Is it time to start closing up my novel?

Finish the story. Don't worry about the word count. When it comes time to do revision, rewriting, and editing you can look at ways of possibly splitting it into two or more volumes. Stories need ...
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  • 1,115
34 votes

The role of inexplicable events in hard science fiction

A little before Einstein's time, people were saying there's no sense in going into physics, since almost all the questions have already been answered, we understand everything that can be understood, ...
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34 votes

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

That Star Wars crawl is affectatious nonsense. It is there for the same reason Harrison Ford's voice-overs were in the original cut of Blade Runner. They borrowed a stylistic element from Old ...
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  • 24.3k
32 votes

Does everything have to be accurate?

You appear to be a nonfiction or science fiction writer, attempting to create a work of fantasy. In either of the former disciplines, critics will come out of the woodwork to spotlight every ...
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  • 10.7k
31 votes

The role of the supernatural in hard science fiction

To directly answer your question: The role of the supernatural in hard science fiction is that it doesn't exist. Period. There are no shades of grey to the laws of physics. You can't say "this one ...
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  • 24.3k
30 votes
Accepted

Worth writing, if end is obvious

Just because The Crunch happens doesn't mean that your protagonists all lose. Yes, the obvious antagonist is The Crunch. But is that all your heroes are fighting? Is that all they're striving for? ...
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28 votes
Accepted

Is Social Media Science Fiction?

It isn't science fiction, it is just Contemporary fiction, aka Realistic fiction. A Science Fiction story must rely heavily on some non-existing tech or some reasonably plausible guess at a ...
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  • 92k
27 votes

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

I don't think you do need to address it, you can just ignore it. One example I can think of is the superhero-comedy movie Hancock, with Will Smith. He's black, and plays John Hancock, a black ...
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  • 92k
26 votes
Accepted

How do I create uniquely male characters?

I think what's tripping you up is the idea that your male characters need to be characters that could not possibly be female. This probably comes from traditions of valuing what men do and devaluing ...
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26 votes

I have a unique character that I'm having a problem writing. He's a virus!

First, it appears that your character is a parasite, not a virus. Viruses are mostly about replicating and spreading to more and more hosts. Your character seems to simply move from one host to ...
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  • 1,281
26 votes
Accepted

The unknown and unexplained in science fiction

I think you may be thinking a little too hard about things as the writer. Instead look at things from your characters' perspectives. Unless you're writing an engineer or someone actually building X, ...
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  • 1,344
26 votes

Can I bring back Planetary Romance as a genre?

This is literary science-fiction. I identified it by taking the genre it definitely must fit in, and then looking for a commonly used, readily understood modifier that subtracts the "gee whiz" ...
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25 votes

How to expand my vocabulary?

Read, read, read, read. The only way to learn words is to ingest them, to feed on them. The only place where to look is books. Read a lot of different authors, styles, genres, ages. The more words ...
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  • 3,767
25 votes
Accepted

How to add depth to writing - turn a story into a book

You definitely don't pad. If you are starting with plot, it sounds as though you may not be getting into the characters as much as you might need to. Here's an idea: Take your favorite Crichton ...
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  • 23.5k
25 votes

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

I would say, you don't get off on a technicality when it comes to readers, so whether you are explicit in telling them it is scifi, or aliens are spaceships or super-high-tech, is all immaterial. If ...
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  • 92k
24 votes
Accepted

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

You don't need to label your characters for the reader. And you shouldn't. Just describe them as they are, and as they act, and let the readers make their own decisions about them. The main ...
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