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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

Your ideology must be examined before you can be permitted to leave the country, comrade professor.

(via twistedchick)

The administration has demanded that the World Health Organization, which is affiliated with the United Nations, first clear all U.S. government scientists with the Department of Health and Human Services before they can be appointed as delegates to the organization's meetings or serve on its panels. FWIW. It's Capitol Hill Blue, mind you, and can hardly be said to be agendaless, but they do have the advantage of hating everybody over there.

The Union of Concerned Scientists isn't happy either.

In more cheerfully apocalyptic news, gentlemen, start your compasses. (registration required, blah blah) Source of a few doomsday scenarios, but my suspicion is it'll be somewhat more exciting than Y2K and somewhat less than global climate change. If the cosmic (*g*) rays make me swell up and turn orange and rocky, well, you'll be able to say "I told you so."


In actual content, I'm thinking about impostor syndrome. Still got it, nine--or ten, depending on how All the Windwracked Stars and The Stratford Man shake out in terms of chopping things up--completed novels and three sold ones in to my career. The latest incarnation--which was kicking my butt with regard to Worldwired--is the "How can I possibly write a hard science fiction novel when I can't even pass a precalculus course?"

I was gonna be a geologist. Then I discovered you need math for that, too.

Funny thing is, I was perfectly comfortable with the level of science in Hammered and Scardown, confident I understood the neurology and climatology and linguistics and quantum mechanics and so forth laced through the novelses underpinnings (for layman's values of 'understood')... when I was thinking of them as sociological/political/military SF. But now that people I respect have been calling it "hard SF," I found myself completely panicky about the science--especially the xenobiology--backing Worldwired.

I keep finding myself going "but I'm just making it all up! This isn't plausible! It's not even possible!

Oddly enough, I'm not panicky about the computer science, because I know it's utter hogwash. And my international political system bears about the same resemblance to the real UN as a Perry Mason episode bears to a real court proceeding, but enh, the real system is boooring.

And somewhere in the back of my mind, I have to keep reminding myself. Dude. Giant spiders spinning webs between the Earth and moon. Dude. A social science that lets you predict the future. Time travellers coming back with testy unicorns. Psychic, mutated hyperspace navigators. Dude.

Plausibility is not an issue.

Making it cool enough so that people will suspend disbelief, just to get to the story.... now, that's an issue.


All you have to do is provide people with hooks upon which to hang their disbelief so they don't have to suspend it all themselves. =)
Great way of phrasing it!
Wow... That is a great way to express that.

(It's also something I'd do well to remember. Perhaps I shall print it out and put it on my computer. Oh, wait, I'd have to type it into my palm and/or my cell phone since I'm never at home to see my desktop and keeping it taped to my laptop would be problematic.)
That should be on metaquotes.
Thanks for the link to Capitol Hill Blue. I'd never seen that site before and, you're right, they do hate everyone! Much better than the suck-it-up-and-be-happy news sites. I love a bit shot of vitriol with my coffee in the mornings!

My uncle was just talking about Capitol Hill Blue on Saturday, and I didn't know where the site was until now. I'm so glad you linked to it. I used to live in DC and briefly dated a lawyer on the Hill - his stories were hysterical!
I hate to go all fanboyish on you, but gamma rays won't make you orange and rocky; those are cosmic rays. Gamma rays will turn you green and stupid. (Yes, my fanboy leaks out, but it's with reason. I learned how to read from a combination of my mother's medical texts and my Uncle David's issues of The Fantastic Four and Green Lantern, which helps explain my tastes in gonzo science.)
You're absolutely correct, of course, and my only excuses are: my innate ability to remember the names of anything or anyone, and the fact that I was typing that at work. *g*
I was willing to let it slide just because if you turned into the Thing you'd be able to yell "It's Clobberin Time!" when you sat down to write, and I think every writer should be able to do that from time to time. =) And, after all, what is the difference between gamma rays and cosmic rays? Back to pseudo-science... And Stan Lee sure didn't let a little thing like scientific plausibility slow HIM down.
...cosmic rays is funnier, though.

And I think being the Thing would be fun. Even if he is a bit hard on alarm clocks.
I was talking with someone last night who was carping about the rubber science in Spiderman, and about the old bride-leaves-groom-at-altar tired trope, etc.

I pointed out that if you're going to try to frog-march the comic book universe into mapping over ours, then what about things like no police or anyone investigating a gigantic rotting piece of real estate (this is New York after all) in which all kinds of mega-tech has been transported...or lawsuits against all those villains...or for that matter, everyone's acceptance of a guy in a costume swinging around doing good deeds. If you look at the movie from the comic book world perspective, it's wonderful for its moments where it touches the real world--Spidey having to launder his suit. Sharing an elevator while in costume. Getting to the job on time. In short, it works because it's about humans in the comic book world--a nifty take.

Your book is not about that rubber science. It's about the human condition, given this and this and this possible scenario. That's why a lot of people read speculative fiction.

Even more so--I've said before and I'll say again: science fiction isn't an attempt to extrapolate the future, no matter what some people think.

It's written for the present, and it handles that through a form of cultural parody--choosing to drive one or more present trends to ballon-animal proportions.

Well, except for the stories that are either sheer science geekery (Robert Forward) or excuses to, you know, blow stuff up. And I'm cool with all that as well, FWIW.

Re: geology and math

On my more cynical days while at university, I used to think the math requirements were there solely to ensure geology was classified as a science subject.

Re: geology and math

We loooove rocks.

Hmm. SOmebody's got to be able to do wave propogation calculations....

Re: geology and math

In my experience, it takes only a small number of people who fully understand the wave equations, and who can code them up, to make life ever so much simpler for the rest of us. :-)

Re: geology and math

So, one per continent or so?

Re: geology and math

One or two per state. Any more, and they just start quarrelling with one another, and having brawls at conferences.

Still, that can be entertaining, too.

I'm Back!

First, congratulations on yet another finished draft. You go girl!

Second, I know exactly how you feel. But you shouldn't. Near future science fiction is the hardest to get right, and you got it right. So what if you don't have credentials? Most hard scifi writers who write good stories don't. I could't even pass math without sweating so I'm equally sure my future is going to get destroyed by anyone with an SAT score over 1000.

But...if the reader buys it, they buy it. And I bought it, and your agent bought it, and the publisher bought it...and so will all those legions of fans starving for good story and science. In that order.
As a BSc. in geology and an employee in a geology department...the computers do the math for us. //grins// The only people I've ever heard mention any math at all were undergrads doing undergrad thesis projects. Suckers! //grins//

As for science-induced imposter syndrome, I think it's much easier to avoid when one just admits to themself that their science isn't even trying to be hard. //grins// On the other hand, if you're science is starting to seem that way...boy, do I see where the butterflies come from. But hey, if people are telling you it's hard sf, then you're obviously faking it very well!
*g* Well, it's the living up to expectations part that kills me--


Lucky for you most of your readers wouldn't know hard science if somebody hit them over the head with it (and I'm sure you'll get lots and lots of readers). I wouldn't worry.
Making it cool enough so that people will suspend disbelief, just to get to the story.... now, that's an issue.

Just remember, it's not "You can get away with anything, if you're good enough" — it's "You can get away with anything, if you're entertaining enough."

Pardon me while I go put on a pair of tapdance shoes ...