Putting The Science In Fiction – A Book Review

Weekly Roundup is an update on what’s going on in my world. Welcome!

 

Putting the Science In Fiction

This compilation of articles from various authors/experts has the lofty goal of helping authors create more realistic stories. It includes advice and information on medicine, the human body, wildlife, computers, planet earth, rocket science, and space travel.

This volume would serve most authors well as a reference tool and even as an idea generator. Writing a whodunit? Check out chapter seven on toxins and poisoning (my favorite). How about an apocalyptic story? There’re a couple chapters on pathogens and plagues on how to wipe out the population. Need an alien with tentacles, a hologram, or faster than light travel? This book covers it!

While “Putting The Science In Fiction” fulfills its purpose and is worth purchasing, I have two main criticisms:

  1. Since the chapters are coming from various experts, their writing styles range from boring to delightful, creating an unpleasant mental whiplash. I’m not sure how much editing Koboldt actually did with the book contents, but it would have been helpful to have more consistency
  2. Despite the title of the book, some of the contributing authors were too vocal in their disdain for fiction. “You can probably get away with a lot of stuff, but you want your novel to be authentic, don’t you?” Along with the hardliners were some who simply chided authors to be more accurate, while a few encouraged creativity and suggested story possibilities.

The reason this book initially got my attention was its possible ties to the SciFi genre. I wanted to see where it stood in the hard science fiction vs. soft science fiction debate. The answer? It was a mixed bag of playful “do what you want” and “get it right or don’t bother”. As far as I’m concerned, if I’m writing fictional stories about space, space travel, or aliens, I can do whatever I want. Our current scientific knowledge and ability are far too limited to make interesting fiction, and most readers would throw back their heads and howl if authors restricted themselves to it.

####

My second fantasy story, Dragon Valley, is now in the hands of my beta readers. What’s up next? I am trying to decide of I should move ahead in the current timeline or do a prequel to Dragon Child, providing back story for the dragons. On the other hand, perhaps I am wasting my time entirely! I don’t have the funds to publish the work in any format right now, and the target audience is “iffy”. Should I re-work the entire idea to include more action and drama? It’s also possible to allow the main character to grow up, which would then shift the appeal to older readers. Decisions, decisions…

I think I’m going to put the angst on hold for little longer and simply enjoy writing. That’s not such a bad idea, is it?

Weekly Roundup 11-14-18 Book Review – LEVITY

Weekly Roundup is an update on what’s going on in my world. Welcome!

If you are a fan of fairy tale re-tellings, get a copy of LEVITY by Leta Blake and Keira Andrews. This gay fairy tale contains many of the classic ideas: a prince, a witch’s curse, a love story, a happy ending. All similarity ends there, however, as the authors spin an enjoyable tale with an incredible twist.

The prince is cursed from youth with a lack of gravity, both physical and emotional, requiring constant care to keep him from floating away! Though taught about normal emotions by the royal staff, the young prince spends his life laughing through most circumstances, never shedding a tear or showing remorse or sadness.

A birthday outing results in the prince floating away into the sky, only to be rescued later by a handsome woodsman. The lonely man also suffers from a curse of his own, yet the two of them manage to quickly develop a relationship before the prince’s keepers arrive to take him home. When the witch who cursed them both gets involved once again, the lovers face a crisis which seems to have no solution. How can they ever free and remain together?

I enjoyed both the classic format and the unique elements which made the story deliciously different. This is an example of imagination at its best! I can’t say I would ever have thought to curse someone with a lack of gravity, but the authors make it work. I found the use of flashbacks to explain the curses a bit clumsy, as it broke up the flow of the book and felt artificial. Otherwise, it was a wonderful read and one I highly recommend. You’ll like the cover too!

###

Though my writing time this week remained severely limited, I did mange to get a good start on chapter eleven. Word count now stands at 88,000+. It felt good returning to the story!

I had hoped to publish Traitor’s Moon before the end of the year, but it looks doubtful. My new work schedule leaves me with even less writing time than I had before, and I am often so tired I have to use my free time to catch up on sleep. Believe me, I’m just as disappointed as my readers, but my health and ability to pay the bills has to come before my books. I will keep trying, and who knows – it may still happen. I’ll keep you posted!