WHERE’S THE SCIENCE

HOW TO WRITE SCI-FI

Sci-Fi is sometimes misunderstood. It’s obviously science fiction meaning that it is fiction that uses science as its work-horse. It takes what we know about science and stretches it to its logical end and asks the what-if questions.

Sci-Fi needs two elements to make it work. Let’s list these.

1. Science that the plot revolves around
2. Conflicting ideas about the Science

Sci-Fi is unique from fantasy because there doesn’t have to be the one person who is considered the hero. That person can just be the antagonist. Think about Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The protag is not a hero. He just is the guy that you’re pulling for, but because of his experiment, he ruins the world.

But then there’s Star Wars where Luke is trying to save the galaxy. In this case, not only is he the protag, but he is also the hero. Just know that in sci-fi, the protag doesn’t necessarily have to be the of the hero archetype.

The plot must revolve around the science. Star Wars has the force. The Hunger Games has the Hunger Games which only happens because the Capitol has power over the districts. Inception has the inceptions. It all spins from the science.

Conflicting ideas about the science is important to add some flavor to the novel. In fact, Star Wars would have been awful without the dark side of the force. Something about hearing Darth Sidious say: “The Force is strongggg with youuu!!” just gives me chills, and I didn’t even like episodes 1, 2, & 3 that much.

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9 thoughts on “WHERE’S THE SCIENCE

  1. Katie

    I’ve always considered Star Wars more of a fantasy, although whenever I say that people tell me, “Um, there are SPACESHIPS?”. The force doesn’t seem much like science, and neither do many of the franchise’s attempts at science, such as introducing the midi-chlorians in ep.1. I guess the bacta tanks could count, haha. I’ll call it sci-fi in polite company, but to myself I’ll still think of it as fantasy.

    Reply
    1. William Stadler Post author

      I completely understand that, Katie. And honestly, that is the great debate. That said, I think that Star Wars is one of the few films that has blended Sci-Fi with fantasy. I’d almost call it a Re-Fi (Religious Fiction) because the force is commonly referred to as religious…even within the movies themselves. And yeah..the mideclorians that they introduced in ep. 1 were pointless and dumb – hence the reason I don’t personally like the first three…or one of the many reasons I should say

      Reply
  2. Soma Mukherjee

    Oh I love science fictions..specially when you know the base of that fiction and it then becomes interesting to see how a writer has developed it. it does require a great amount of research and Imagination to pen one
    loved this write up

    Reply
    1. William Stadler Post author

      So true, Soma. Sci-Fi expands the mind to think, wow, it would be crazy if that could happen. Fantasy, on the otherhand, seems to be far removed from the “what-ifs”.

      Reply
  3. rich

    is the hunger games science fiction? what’s the science part? i didn’t see the movie, but my kid has talked to me extensively about the books. it seems dystopian – and you could have a story that is both dystopian and science fiction, but i’m not sure what the “science” part would be in the hunger games.

    as for episodes 1, 2, and 3, the only part i liked was when darth vader was “born.” that scene gave me chills because we already knew what was going to come of that moment. however, he looked a little off. whoever was in vader’s costume in that scene looked too short.

    Reply
    1. William Stadler Post author

      There are so many things that are wrong with eps 1, 2, & 3. And jar-jar is just one them.

      The Hunger Games is Sci-Fi because the idea of dystopian spurs from the idea that industries have taken over. So it’s one of those genres that’s tough to peg, so it’s commonly labeled as Sci-Fi. Also, there are a lot of things in the HGames that shows the advancement of the technology. And that advancement of technology makes the capitol believe that they are superior to the 12 districts.

      Reply
      1. rich

        if there are significant technologies – involved in the plot – that don’t exist now, then okay. either way, it’s all about the story being good.

        Reply
      2. Tanitha Smith

        In the Hunger Games, there are all the genetically engenereered animals like the Tracker Jackers, the Jabberjays and those dog/wolf things. Also, they have hovercrafts and ultra-fast trains and stuff. Apparently, all of these are down to science, so it’s Science Fiction

        Reply
        1. William Stadler Post author

          Very nice. I completely agree. Thanks for that Tanitha. And those are the elements that I forgot to mention.

          Reply

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