18 September 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 49 and more Cultural Shaping Reduces Extrapolation
Announcement: My novels Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness are about to be published. I write this blog about 2 months prior to its publication. I just heard that the proofs will be here soon--likely before the end of the week. My publisher also wants to put the entire set of novels based on Aegypt on contract--that's 5 more novels for 8 total. They also want to put my other novels on contract. The release schedule should be one novel every 2 months. I'll keep you updated.
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.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:
1. Don't confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
I am writing about the extrapolation of science and technology to be able to write science fiction. I made the point that it is almost meaningless to try to fully extrapolate a universe (world) that is 10,000 years in the future (and maybe 1,000 years in the future) without applying some cultural and technological shaping.
By shaping the cultures of your science fiction universe, you can shape the science and technology that is extrapolated. Here is how I culturally shaped the universe of The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox to make the 10,000 year extrapolation work.
I used all the examples I mentioned yesterday in The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox not just for the purpose of cultural shaping, but because the culture of the novels was required by the theme. In the case of these science fiction novels, the culture required by the theme also helped reduce the required technology through cultural shaping.
Most science fiction authors use cultural shaping to one degree or another to either unintentionally or intentionally reduce the required technological extrapolation. Examples of the use of cultural shaping can be found through most science fiction. Many times the authors don't intentionally shape the cultures of their novels to fit the extrapolation of the technology. In many cases, the authors don't change the culture at all from that of their modern world. They assumed very wrongly that the culture (and to a degree, the technology) would be the same.
The classic science fiction writers of the late and middle twentieth century are authors who generally didn't change their culture and sometime technology to match. These are the novels that have sliderules in space. These novels still have telephones and video phones. The computers fill rooms. To be honest, these writers didn't see the effect of change in the modern world. The world changed at both a much greater and lesser pace than they expected.
Two authors that stand out as very culturally and technologically aware are Jack Vance and John Brunner. Jack Vance really understands culture. John Brunner really understands technology. More tomorrow.
Also remember, I'm trying to show you and give you examples of how to write a science fiction theme statement and turn it into a plot.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: