As a reader of Sci-Fi, I want to know the author has some working knowledge of the subject and technology they are writing about. Typically, readers of Sci-Fi are former technologists, biologists, mathematicians, chemists, etc. and have held Life Sciences positions in their career. As a writer, trust me, your readers will get distracted from the story if the subject matter and technology is wrong and they are saying to themselves,
‘This is such BS and lame–it would never happen like that.’
What you want your readers to be thinking are thoughts like,
‘Yeah, that’s farfetched, but plausible…’ or ‘Wow! It could happen like that…’ or ‘Very clever, I hadn’t thought of it that way.’ or the ultimate complement, ‘Man this author knows their stuff and must have been a rocket scientist in their previous life.’
Case in point. I am currently working on a Sci-Fi novel called, Silversides and in the opening draft, I referenced a starship that had been traveling through space for fifty-six years, undetected: The easy way out is this:
“If visible, the object would appear rectangular and windowless. If scanned, it would not appear to have mass; light simply passed around it, like a razorblade moving silently through the vacuum of interstellar space.”
I came across a great post on OffWorlders.com, by Kyle Pollard, on invisibility, cloaking and the rules for bending light to serve authors of Sci-Fi, a referencing starting point. A more appropriate use of my above example, having watched the video clip from Kyle’s post, by the University of Rochester, could be something more attuned to this:
“The ship known as KC-B-581 was cocooned in a holographic lens; bending light around it like a razorblade moving silently through the vacuum of interstellar space.”
So write about what you know and if you do not know it, know where to look. OffWorlders will be a great reference for me.
To read more and follow other great posts on OffWorlders.com, click here.