Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Why Read Sci-Fi

Why Read Sci-Fi? 

Why would a fan of romance and mystery genres ever read sci-fi? What can we learn from sci-fi authors? After all, their stories are mainly set in the future. They're totally imaginary, made-up, pulled out of the air--a literary conjuring trick. Or are they?

As an editor, I have had to think again. The science fiction authors whose books appear on the Muse It Up Publishing list have totally impressed me through attention to detail in writing and plotting, the accuracy of their knowledge and their determination to be ahead of the game by predicting the lifestyle in their future worlds.

The characters know all about the latest research trends this century. Their authors incorporate a hearty helping of scientific fact into their fictional plots.

Muse It Up Publishing

 World View

When sci-fi authors write that the distance from the earth to the moon is 384000 kilometers or that a new moon dweller is acclimatising to gravity at 1/2 g, they know where to go to have the figures corroborated. Terri Main, author of Dark Side of the Moon, a book that combines sci-fi with the all-time  favourite cozy mystery genre, had me looking up and learning about g-forces on the NASA website.

A book like Dark Side of the Moon appeals to any reader who enjoys painless learning through reading fiction. Its world is a totally credible extension of the world as we know it today. The science is accurate and the mystery as intriguing as an Agatha Christie best seller.

Yes, readers are suspending disbelief to "live" in this imaginary world but it is a world view they cannot fault.

Lessons from sci-fi writers

Lesson One:
All too often, a factual error or an improbable location can stop readers enjoying a story. No use having a big game hunter hero killing elephants in London to save the heroine if the writer hasn’t given a credible basis for the animals’ appearance and stampede through town.

Knowing the size of the beasts in comparison to the Houses of Parliament could add to the realism of the reader experience. I’m not advocating bogging your story down with boring detail. But an odd and unusual fact can work wonders to improve the credibility of your fictional world.

Lesson Two:
Know your readers.

Let’s face it—it is probably not a good idea to have a hero who kills wild animals at all unless he repents and founds a sanctuary for endangered species as a result of the heroine’s persuasive skills.Today’s romance readers are more likely to support conservation causes.

Sci-fi authors have a committed following. They know exactly what their readers like and don’t like to read. They don’t follow convention slavishly but they do keep ahead of the game in their own reading and research to avoid being caught out in inaccuracies.

Keep up-to-date with your reading and make sure to keep your characters in tune with their world.

 Lesson Three:
Be adventurous when it comes to developing your genre. Anyone can be a sleuth in your cozy mystery—even a werewolf. Your heroine can be any age, any shape, any nationality. Your hero can have flaws—please add a little reality to the fiction LOL

Sci-fi authors like Krista D. Ball delight in standing stereotypes on their heads. It’s great fun and worth trying especially when you come to one of those dreaded sticky patches mid-novel.