24 June 2012, Development - Extrapolated Science in Science Fiction, and even more 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.
Because most journalists are absolutely ignorant of scientific basics, it should not be a surprise that many groups inject false papers into the news media for the purpose of putting across their scientifically incorrect views. One of the most pervasive methods is to take an actual study where the results are statistically significant, but meaningless. An example of this is the levels of arsenic allowed in drinking water and another is PCBs in farm raised vs. wild salmon. In the case of arsenic in most well water and PCBs in farm raised salmon, the levels of contamination are too low to cause any human effects or disease. So although a study states that the level of PCBs are double (100%) greater in farm raised Salmon, the amount is so low, it is meaningless. Kind of like a drop of milk in a swimming pool. The same is true concerning arsenic levels currently permitted in drinking water.
If you get hold of a paper like this, the first question you must ask is: what is the toxicity and what is the dosage? The toxicity of a compound might be high, but the dosage is critical. In the modern era, we can measure dosage levels much lower than ever before. PBC dosages are meaningless in the xx parts per billion levels. They become meaningful in the xxx parts per million levels. Likewise, arsenic in the xxx parts per million dosage can cause harm--at the XX parts per billion levels they are harmless and may even be necessary for health.
The reason journalists get sucked into false papers or papers that others have determined false conclusions from, is that they lack the scientific knowledge to make an informed decision. If you are like this, please don't try to write science fiction. The next logical fallacy found in many modern papers is false conclusions.
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/.