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Friday, September 20, 2013

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 51 Cultural Shaping and Hard/Soft Science Fiction

20 September 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 51 Cultural Shaping and Hard/Soft Science Fiction

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

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website and select "production schedule," you will be sent to

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.

Jack Vance and Andre Norton are great science fiction authors.  Jack Vance is my favorite.  From observing their styles of science fiction writing, I'd conclude that you should never let technology get in the way of a great science fiction theme.  The major problem with much "dated" science fiction is that the theme was based on the technology.  Think of novels about going to the moon or novels about computer surveillance or drone surveillance.  These novels are dead because they are real life today.  Then imagine a novel like 1984.  The date is dated, the novel is not.  We are seeing the technology of 1984 in our world--the question is this, will we then see the culture of 1984 in our world.  Perhaps we are there.  1984 is timeless because the theme of the novel isn't surveillance technology, the theme is the surveillance of humans by whatever means--technology just happened to be a means.  1984 is soft science fiction because it doesn't explain the how of the technology, jut the is of the technology. 

This is how I group science fiction into hard and soft.  Hard science fiction tries to explain how technology works and soft science fiction doesn't.  If you read my books, you will see theme and culture based and shaped science fiction that explains how some of the science works--therefore, hard science fiction.  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, and my individual novel websites:

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