20 June 2012, Development - Extrapolated Science in Science Fiction, Accuracy
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I'm using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I'll keep you informed along the way.
I wrote in detail about how to study history and culture to write historical fiction. That moved to how to write about culture in science fiction, and now, I am exploring how to study to write science fiction.
What about the accuracy of your knowledge. Read books (not science fiction). The state of science fiction today, it is highly unlikely you will learn science from modern science fiction. If you read my novels, I can assure you of accurate science. The reason is that I either research or have studied the subjects I write about. You can do the same. I don't allow my students to use Wiki as a source, but Wiki is a great place to start. You can get an idea about the subject and many times find good sources to study--but not Internet sources.
You need to be cautious of sources. The only reasonable sources for scientific information are peer reviewed papers or textbooks that are by known experts or peer reviewed. For basic knowledge an accredited encyclopedia is a better source than Wiki or the general Internet. A known Internet source (for example, NASA for space flight or aeronautical knowledge) is better than a general source or an encyclopedia. A peer reviewed paper, text book, or book is the best source, but you need to be careful about those too. A peer reviewed paper by the flat earth society has little credibility on any subject compared to the Lancet that is an outstanding source for medical knowledge.
You need to also be careful of the papers themselves. I'll get to that tomorrow.
I'll write more about science in science fiction tomorrow.
I'll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples: http://www.ldalford.com/, and the individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com/, http://www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, http://www.thefoxshonor.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.