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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 52 Technology and Themes

21 September 2013, Writing Ideas - Writing Science Fiction, part 52 Technology and Themes

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.

The skill of authors like Jack Vance and Andre Norton comes from their ability to culturally place a science fiction theme that is not dependent on the technology.  The theme of their novels is dependent on the future and not the technology.  So, for example, when Jack Vance sets his novel in the future on another planet, the assumption is some type of space travel.  The mechanism isn't important.  In fact, Jack Vance is a genius at giving great names to the technology--the intersplit drive, for example.  Didn't someone once say that if you could give a name to something, you made it real.  The name "intersplit drive" sounds so official and so descriptive.  This is not really hard science fiction, but it has the feel of hard science fiction. 

Andre Norton, the mother of modern science fiction, takes a different tact.  Her novels are focused on the characters and their interaction.  Her themes are likewise dependent on the future and future concepts and ideas, but again, not on the technology.  She doesn't create semantic devices to name and invent technology--in her worlds, the technology is just there.  She and Jack Vance use cultural shaping within the confines of modern known culture.  I'll discuss this 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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