Atom Wave: Rants on Science Fiction Storytelling

Atom Wave

Friday, April 25, 2008

Rants on Science Fiction Storytelling

I don’t know how many of you out there enjoy science fiction? You aren’t going to like this, but one thing has been really irritating me lately. One of the challenges to writing a novel is the ongoing battle of making the story original. Then there are the cheaters! Yeah, you know who you are. I’m talking about the writers who resort to magic to solve whatever problem falls on their hero, and I don’t just mean supernatural magic.

Consider it for a moment; Data is lost on Planet X and much to his dissatisfaction the nearby sun explodes as a supernova. Before everything is vaporized, the Enterprise crew locates him and beams him out. Given, the transporter is an original idea, but the writer also cheated by never really solving the problem.

I’m not finished yet. Supernatural fantasy writers, you are also guilty. Now I know that fantasy leaves you with many more options, but it also encourages plenty more laziness. Remember Harry Potter? Have you ever seen him or his friends really solve a problem? The best that I recall usually involves some vaguely defined spell/mixture from Hermione.

The best storytelling will always involve genuine problem solving, not just pressing a display or mixing some gross liquids. The before mentioned stories are just the tip of the iceberg, but the most famous.


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