Plausible science in science fiction

Some of the questions I find myself asking as I revise my scifi book is how plausible does the science need to be? Is using the classic  ‘hand wave’ technique overplayed and outdated? Given the amount of information the internets contains it isn’t overly difficult for a reader to research the science in a science fiction book. Coupled with the fact that people are generally more knowledgeable about science then people were years ago, I am left wondering what direction I should go. If I make my science really hard then I fear the story will be a thesis dissertation carrying an empty bucket of a story. On the other hand I don’t want to consign myself to using unexplained ‘magical’ science. I want the science to be a net tightening and strengthening the universe and story I have created.

Maybe I am just too green and lack the experience to write and see the ‘suspension of disbelief’ needed to accomplish what I want or maybe this is something that a lot of scifi writers struggle with. I recently read an article talking about this subject. The authors on the panel seemed to have the same line of thought, it is relative to the reader, I particularly enjoyed Peter Watt’s opinion on the subject. This makes sense as everybody is different and everyone has different experiences in life. Knowing how impossible it is to create something that appeases everyone, the question falls back to me and what I would be happy with and hopefully my targeted audience.

For now I think I am going to dial down the science as I do feel it is taking away from the story. This might involve another pass of revision but I won’t be happy until I feel the science is where the story needs it to be. Hopefully soon I will be turning the story over to my beta readers and get some feedback on the matter.

 

You can read the article on How Important is Plausible Science in Science Fiction here.

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One thought on “Plausible science in science fiction

  1. Alaric Rays says:

    I know what you mean about this struggle, I for one love the science of things and trying to figure out how they work, however sometimes I too go off on a tangent and forget about the story that I am reading. There is somewhere the perfect mixture, but finding it is about impossible. At least to please everybody at any rate. The less learned will always feel that anything over the standard magic science is too much and glaze over whilst reading whereas those knowledgeable few will closely scrutinize every word and when they see something they don’t like will scream SHENANIGANS. So what to do what to do? Force feed them of course. Create that suspension of disbelief you mentioned, and do it fantastically. Even those that scrutinize won’t give a damn if the story takes them somewheres that warms the cockles of their hearts. Then again I could just be rambling for attention.

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