putting the science in science fiction

Writing Science Fiction: Tips for Beginners

We’ve seen a lot of science fiction stories over the past year or so. It’s not like they sci-fi ever went out of style, but it seems to be gaining popularity recently.

For some, writing science fiction might seem like a daunting genre to break into. Do you need to know complex mathematical equations? Do you need to know exactly how space travel works? Did you need to major in astrophysics?

Sure, those things don’t hurt, but they’re absolutely not necessary. You can write a great sci-fi novel without years of research. And you can tell a really interesting story, even if you’re not a science pro.

Here are a few tips to get started:

Consider ‘What-if’ Scenarios

This isn’t just a great rule for sci-fi novels, but I think the best ones use this approach. Start off with a simple what-if scenario. For example: what if we lived on a world made of ice? What if in this particular world only consisted of women? Obviously, you’ll need to expand on those scenarios and spend time really developing what those caveats would mean, but you get the idea.

Start with a small what-if scenario and brainstorm!

Figure Out Your Rules

I don’t think writing great sci-fi depends on being 100% scientifically accurate ALL THE TIME, but I do think you need to stick to your own rules. Whatever is a hard rule for your own universe, it’s important to keep it that way. Does your world have ships that can travel quickly from planet to planet? Sure, that’s great! Figure out your own rules for space travel and develop your world. How do the inhabitants on one planet act/grow/eat/interact compared to the inhabitants of another? Spend time developing these ideas!

No Info Dumps!

Sometimes when people write science fiction, they tend to explain their universe all in one big info-dump. Don’t. This is boring and it does nothing to serve your story. Slowly reveal information. Every plot point in your story should serve a purpose. Develop your characters through the action and show off your worlds through them. Get creative.

Keep it Vague

If you’re unsure about the science of something, write to your strengths. Don’t understand how space travel works? Maybe your MC is put to sleep during a long trip. This is just one example, but try to figure out a way to make it work for you. Maybe avoid space travel altogether if it doesn’t serve your story.

Listen, this isn’t a substitute for research, but I also don’t want you to avoid writing science fiction if you just don’t get a lot of the concepts involved. If you’ve got a great idea for a story, work it out to fit your style. Science fiction is a great platform for unique and compelling character studies, so don’t get scared off! You don’t have to write hard science fiction in order to write a good novel.

-Kris Noel

anonymous asked:

I often have ideas for a scene or a character but there is no plot. How can I expand these ideas into stories? I just don't know what to do with my ideas to get a story out of them. Most plotting tips require that I know at least the beginning and the end of my story. But I don't even have that.

Hi Anonymous,

I’ve heard of other writers having this same problem, so you are not alone! Here are some ideas that come to mind when I think about this.

Coming up with a Plot (from scratch)

First off, you have ideas for characters or scenes, and that’s a starting point, and you probably (I’m assuming, because it wasn’t that long ago) saw my post, What to Outline When Starting a Story, which can give some guidance on what to consider. However, if you have no idea where to even come up with a concept for your plot that post can only be so much help.

Conflict out of Story Elements

Since you have some ideas about character and scene, I’d try building off that. In some cases, you might need to flesh those out a bit more to continue (I don’t know, since I don’t know how much you have those figured out).New York Times best-selling author David Farland points out in his book Million Dollar Outlines that characters grow out of their setting. We are all influenced by our setting–where we live, where we spend our time, what century we’re part of, etc.

Setting –> Character

Farland goes on to say that out of character (and setting) comes conflict:

Setting + Character –> Conflict

Plot obviously comes from some sort of conflict, the character reacting to and trying to solve that conflict or conflicts. But let’s finish out the diagram/equation.

Setting –> Character –> Conflict –> Theme

How conflicts are dealt with in the story create the theme.

It should be noted though that this diagram may not be helpful to everyone, and it’s also possible to work backwards from it. For example, I personally don’t like the idea of starting with the setting–although, realistically, pretty much all stories start there, if only to the most basic degrees (time period, real world vs. fantasy world, Earth vs. space, etc.). I often like to start with character. But as you work on your character, at some point, you are going to be looking back at what kind of life he grew out of and where he came from, and where he is now. Other people may like to start with conflict, and work back into character and setting. So, it doesn’t have to be linear.

But let’s look at the conflict part. You need some form of conflict to have plot. As I mentioned a few weeks ago in my post Are Your Conflicts Significant? the conflict should either be broad (far-reaching) or personal to the character. If it’s not either, it’s probably not that significant. However, it should be noted that you can make almost any conflict broad, or personal.

But how do you even get to that point? If you like Farland’s diagram, what I would suggest would be looking at those characters and setting. Brainstorm conflicts by asking yourself questions.

  • What conflict can come out of this setting?

For example, in some stories, major conflicts come straight out of the setting. Most if not all dystopians, like The Hunger Games fall into this category. You can even look at movies like Interstellar, which deals largely with space travel. The major conflict came out of a setting (Earth will soon be inhabitable). In a fantasy story, conflicts can come out of the world and worldbuilding (setting), whether it’s the magic system or the world itself. In Lord of the Rings, the major conflicts often come from the setting (Frodo has to make it to Mount Doom) and magic (the One Ring is a magical object that must be destroyed). In historical fiction, it can come out of setting–what are some of the conflicts the world was dealing with during WWII?

But what about something more small-scale than Panem, outer space, and Middle-earth? Setting can play a role there too. What kind of conflicts can come out of attending high school in 2017? What conflicts might be present there? What conflicts might come out of trying to start a career as a woman centuries ago? The story doesn’t have to be epic for this sort of brainstorming to work.

Les Miserableis a good example of how setting can play into conflicts, whether it’s being a struggling young mother, a convict, or participating in politics.

  • What conflict can come out of this character?

Once you have your character, you can try brainstorming conflicts for her. Now, there are sort of two ways to approach this.

One, you look at your character–her personality, strengths, weaknesses–and ask yourself, what would this character want? Figuring out what your character wants is often vital to a good story. In some stories, it can be more simple, basic, or straightforward. Maybe your character just wants money. In other cases, it might be bigger. Maybe your character wants to defeat an evil ruler. It can be somewhat philosophical. Maybe your character dreams of ridding the universe of a false god, like in His Dark Materials.

When you know what your character wants, you can start brainstorming conflicts by considering what could stop her from getting what she wants. In Lord of the Rings, Frodo volunteers to destroy the Ring, but there are literal obstacles in his way. Space, for one thing. He has to travel for miles and miles and miles. Then there are other people and creatures: orcs, Shelob, Sauron, even his own companions–these people are in conflict with him. He has to deal with getting hurt, wounded, and fatigued. All these things are keeping Frodo from his goal. And of course, his ultimate want is to return to the Shire, but he has to destroy the Ring first.

If your character wants to be in a relationship with someone, there are obstacles too. Maybe the love interest doesn’t know he exists. Maybe there is a family feud, like in Romeo and Juliet. Maybe there is a love triangle. Whatever your character wants, you start brainstorming what could keep him from getting it.

A second approach to brainstorming conflicts with character is to look at your character and consider what kind of situations would be difficult for them, what would make them grow. In some cases, they might be the reluctant hero. Love him or hate him, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, Edward Cullen is a good example of this sort of thing. He’s a “vegetarian” vampire living his life, and then out of nowhere, a girl shows up that is basically his personal brand of cocaine. How is he supposed to deal with this? Worse. He has feelings for her. Immediately, Edward is in conflict.

Now, you can combine both methods. And in reality, both those examples have both. Sure, Frodo volunteered to take the Ring, but he was basically the only person who could. But look at him. He’s just a humble hobbit. He doesn’t do magic, he doesn’t know warfare, and he knows very little about the world. But he’s thrown into a situation where those characteristics will be tested. Similarly, Edward is thrown into a situation, but he ends up having wants too. He wants to be in a relationship with Bella. But the fact he is a vampire and she has potent blood is a conflict that impedes that.

So you can brainstorm conflicts from setting and character.

Plot out of Conflict Types

Let’s look at this another way.

There are five types of conflict.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

I'm sorry to bother you, but I'm in the middle of reading Above Your Head and I'm in love. I was wondering if you knew of any other astronaut/space related fics??

Hello :)

Sadly there’s not much completed fics :/ (fair warning, I haven’t read them all!)

- above your head  : [Space AU. Louis is an astronaut. Harry works for Mission Control. They don’t get along.] (57k)

- Worlds Away: astronaut au fic where Louis is staying on the international space station and Harry is on earth working ground control and he and Louis have really quiet late night chats after most of the workers are gone and get to know each other in the biggest long distance relationship u could ever have…then eventually Louis comes back to earth and they have a beautiful meeting  (7k)

- Alone in a Sea of Stars  : Based on the prompt: Louis is an astronaut who is sent to Neptune and really he expected to find a few old rocks but instead he found some kid who claims to be ten thousand years-old (21k)

- What Goes Up  : Harry has always had a deep fear of anything space related. His boyfriend has always dreamed of becoming an astronaut. The six month program at the space station means a very long distance relationship and a very nervous Harry back on earth. (5k)

- the heart of a faraway star  : Harry’s an Astronaut. Louis’ a Time Lord on his last regeneration. Liam and Zayn have a lot of sex apparently, and Niall just knows a lot about history.  (40k)

- our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood; forever in the stars  : (astronaut!au, inspired by the president’s speech had the apollo eleven mission failed, also includes themes from the apollo thirteen mission) (2.3k)

Critical Content Developing Ursula K. Le Guin’s ‘Left Hand of Darkness’ as Limited Series (EXCLUSIVE)
Tom Forman’s Critical Content banner is developing Ursula K. Le Guin’s renowned science fiction novel “The Left Hand of Darkness” as a limited series. Critical Content has o…
By Cynthia Littleton

anonymous asked:

Why is it you think Carson Of Venus isnt as Popular as John Carter of mars?

The short version is this: timing.

Popularity isn’t just a question of quality, but of timing, of being the right work at the right time. A bookshelf has a funny way of smushing time together; a Carson of Venus novel written in 1939 and a John Carter of Mars novel written 25 years before seem like the same kind of story when put side by side, but they were written decades apart, in totally different worlds.

John Carter of Mars was written in the early 1910s, when science fiction stories were often just reskinned westerns and swashbucklers. Carson of Venus was written over 25+ years later, in 1939, when tastes changed and science fiction moved on to tell different kinds of stories. Carson of Venus was almost a nostalgia piece, a deliberate throwback; it sounds strange to think of nostalgia being a thing at all in the late 30s/early 1940s, but there you go.

To understand why the reaction was different, you have to understand why the Carson of Venus novels were written at all. The reason that the Carson of Venus novels and later Barsoom books exist is due to Amazing Stories editor and Edgar Rice Burroughs superfan Raymond Palmer, who once he got actual power as an editor, was such a fanboy that he used his authority as a publisher to ask Edgar Rice Burroughs to write more Barsoom stories and create a new series for Amazing Stories. Now, the amazing thing is that this wasn’t some power move for new readers, since John Carter style planetary romances were starting to fall out of fashion in the late 1930s (more on that later). The reason they got ERB back to write more John Carter and create a new series is that Barsoom Superfan Raymond Palmer wanted to see more Edgar Rice Burroughs planet romance stories.

In the early part of this century, scifi was all about adventure stories that were reskinned Westerns and swashbucklers. John Carter of Mars fit right in, and emblemized the entire trend. Come the 1930s, however, the most influential writer was Stanley G. Weinbaum, who wrote a Martian Odyssey, with non-anthropomorphized and inhuman to the point of incomprehensible Martians, deliberately as a reaction to Burroughs’ hot babe girl martians. Even in the Burroughs-style Sword & Planet romance yarn, tastes had moved to writers like Leigh Brackett, who’s take on Mars was as an eerie nightmare landscape of bat-winged hordes assembling for battle, crumbling, labyrinthine cities, and hard, pragmatic miners and desperados. The straight good vs. evil yarn was out of style.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that Carson of Venus was a low seller. Far from it – ERB was the best selling novelist of the entire 1920s and had tons of name value a decade later. Amazing Stories was the top selling science fiction pulp of its era, easily outselling Astounding Science Fiction, and the ERB stories were the top selling issues (at least until the Shaver Mystery in the mid-1940s that preceded the later mass hysteria over UFOs…but that’s a topic too bizarre to go into here). Saying that Amazing outsold Astounding won’t help you understand significant developments though. It’s a little like saying that Marvel Comics, until the 1970s, were outsold by DC Comics (DC books were viewed as quaint and old fashioned even in the 1960s). Yeah…but look what they were doing! Look who ended up being more influential.

Personally, I like the Carson of Venus books very very much, not just because they are so romantic, adventurous and wildly creative, with worlds of immortality, swordfights, pirates, and evil fishmen, but also because you can tell at that point in his life, Burroughs was getting tired of the formula he himself created and so he decided to have fun with it all. Burroughs’s most underrated attribute was his wonderful sense of humor. Compared to John Carter, Carson of Venus seems like a big goof; he screws up and ignores obvious things, like when he built a rocket and missed the Moon. For a guy who likes genteel gentlemen-athlete heroes, the overbred Amtorian aristocrats laugh at Carson, saying that his ancestry is unimpressive and that his bloodstream germs make him a menace to all life on Venus.

I think this is why people today don’t respond to the Amtor/Carson stories; people read ERB stories to feel awesome and powerful, and Carson of Napier doesn’t deliver on that well. It’s no coincidence ERB’s life story until he started writing was as a guy who was often unemployed and had trouble taking care of his family (he wrote John Carter of Mars and Tarzan on the back of letterhead from failed businesses). His stories are Walter Mitty hallucinations where Walter Mitty doesn’t wake up. They’re based on the appeal of pure, concentrated daydreams.

ok last post on realistic space movies bc its filling up too much of my feed

star-wars-esque movies are completely fine alone, but branding them as scifi only works culturally but not definitionally. its a fantasy movie in space, and if you want to call it a “science fiction” movie (fiction rooted in science) then please detail to me the science of it

the movie i was describing that i want to see isnt anti-star-wars or anything, but rather pro-science-fiction. The space warfare we see today is fantasy, not scifi, because its rooted in suspension of reality rather than real science.

I made the mistake of viewing Star Wars
in the same genre as Interstellar, because its not accurate in the slightest. There’s SCIENCE fiction, and then there is scifi-fantasy. My apologies for not articulating that.

I don’t hate star wars, so we can all put the pitchforks and torches down

Final Fantasy XV Headcanons Part 11: [The Starscourge: A Real-Life Analysis]

Originally posted by ethernalium

We don’t really talk about it… we kind of just accept it… but I like science… kind of… so… here’s something that I wrote that nobody really asked for.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

I want to write a story with majority of science fiction elements, but I just realized that I have some fantasy-like elements, like demons and angels, could you give me some advice about how to put those things together? or if I souldn do that at all


About mixing scifi and fantasy:


Science doesn’t know everything about the world. New things are constantly being learned, and old theories are being disproved. Things that may have seemed like a fantasy hundreds of year ago are now reality. So yes, I think you can put the 2 together.

To mix scifi with fantasy, you have to give the fantasy a believable scientific base. It doesn’t have to be 100% accurate or anything, but it needs to make sense to common folk like me.

And if you’re breaking the rules of known science, you have to be consistent. You can’t say that the Earth is flat because it’s appicable in that scene and then proceed to use
science that exists because the Earth is round 200 pages later.

You do kind of complicate things by having religious elements- not just fantasy but religious. Then again, that might be easier. We live in a religious world that is technologically advanced. Figure out how religion and science relate in the universe. Do the scientists dismiss religion? Do they think demon and angel sightings are flasehoods? Are they trying to find a way to prove/disprove it? Do religious people believe scientists are playiny God or that God is allowing the scientists to expand their knowledge? Do they think that God gave them science as a gift? Do people think that religion is just undiscovered science? Answer questions like these, and you’re off to a good start.

Here’s an article about science and religion: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/religion-science/


Welcome to the most “80s” song in all of Old School Science Fiction. This Stan Bush rock anthem is so upbeat it makes Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” look like “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails.

(For best results, put on jeans jacket and mirrored sunglasses before clicking link)

Warcross by Marie Lu

       Warcross is a young adult science fiction story that takes place in a futuristic world, where virtual reality has become the norm. You can experience all you desire when inside the neurolink, a device produced by Hideo Tanaka. A story of fast paced action, with imaginative worlds. It takes place during a world wide video game tournament, featuring players from all over the world.

      I couldn’t put this book down. I absolutely adored it. It was everything I wanted in a science fiction book. The author is one of my favourites and I’ve been following her since her first book, Legend. I have always loved everything about her writing but this absolutely tops it. The characters are vibrant with personalities that stand out and make them only seem more realistic. You fall in love with characters that don’t always do the right thing but always do what’s right for them.  The world is intense and incredibly developed.

      It brings up questions of what is right and wrong and who may decide what others do. how all morality isn’t just black or white and there are good and bad consequences to every action. People aren’t always what they seem and that is true in the case of Warcross where chracters take on online personas to battle it out in the game Warcross.

I adored this book, thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with an ARC.


Fantasy and Science Fiction Book Recommendations (Updated)

[ This list has been updated as of 2/14/2017. Enjoy! ]

Fantasy and science fictions books have always been favorite genres, and I decided to put together my own list of recommendations for you guys. If you guys have any questions, feel free to ask! These books range a lot from high fantasy to low fantasy, so if you need some direction I’m more than happy to help. So here they are, in no particular order:


Assassin’s Apprentice/ The Realm of the Elderlings series by Robin Hobb 

The Lord of the Rings  by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Hawke’s Harbor by S.E. Hinton

Vicious by V.E. Schwab 

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss 

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe

Beauty by Robin Mckinley

The Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Science Fiction

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (way better than the movie)

Dune by Frank Herbert

1984 by George Orwell

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

The Door Into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler

YA (mostly YA books I read back in the day)

Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones

The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan 

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Peter and the Starcatchers by David Barry

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo


Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Y: The Last Man by Brian K Vaughan

Rat Queens by Kurtis J Wiebe and Tamra Bonvillain

Sandman by Neil Gaiman

Monstress by Majorie Liu

Tokyo Ghost by Rick Remender

We categorize too much on the basis of unreliable assumption. A literary novel written by Brian Aldiss must be science fiction, because he is a known science fiction writer; a science fiction novel by Margaret Atwood is literature because she is a literary novelist. Recent Discworld books have spun on such concerns as the nature of belief, politics and even of journalistic freedom, but put in one lousy dragon and they call you a fantasy writer.
This is not, on the whole, a complaint. But as I have said, it seems to me that dragons are not really the pure quill of fantasy, when properly done. Real fantasy is that a man with a printing press might defy an entire government because of some half-formed belief that there may be such a thing as the truth.
—  Terry Pratchett’s 2001 Carnegie Medal award speech.
Drift Science and Compatibility

In (somewhat belated) honor of K-Day, I submit unto the fandom a canon-supported theory of drift compatibility and testing, based on PPDC officer UIDs.

ex. 1 (graphic)

ex. 2 (additional canon examples)

Raleigh Becket   R-RBEC_122.21-B
Mako Mori   R-MMAK_204.19-V

Stacker Pentecost   M-SPEN_970.89-Q
Hercules Hansen   R-HHAN_832.84-G
Chuck Hansen   R-CHAN_512.66-D

Newton Geiszler   S-NGEI_100.11-Y
Hermann Gottlieb   S-HGOT_471.120-V


Harlowe-Sheehan-Parker Compatibility Index: Ranging from 100 to 999, the HSP index indicates range of compatibility with other drift-capable individuals. The lower the number, the smaller the range of potential drift partners for the individual in question. A person with a lower HSP score is less flexible in dealing with dramatically different brainstyles, and requires a drift partner with either significant shared life experience, a high mutual degree of trust, or a close CORO pattern. Someone with a higher HSP score is significantly more adaptable to drift partners of disparate backgrounds, experience, and CORO profiles. Observe above how Stacker Pentecost and Herc Hansen have extraordinarily broad indices and thus may drift with nearly anyone.

CORO pattern: CORO patterns are shorthand for cognitive architecture, how a person thinks, processes input, makes decisions, etc. The range for CORO patterns is 1 to 99. If two people have the same CORO, they can establish a stable drift connection. Whether or not they can sustain a drift is a different matter, but generally being within twenty points of each other is enough to have a solid drift whether they get along or not. Mako and Raleigh are two points apart: they are Jaeger soulmates. Note that Stacker and Herc are five points apart: they are also Jaeger soulmates. Observe that Hermann’s CORO number is 120. The zero stands for a medical exemption, recommending against drifting due to his illness. Otherwise, he and Newt are a point apart.

Juno Keeler Trauma and Stress Tolerance Rating: Ranging from A to Z, from most stable to most easily destabilized, the Keeler rating (also abbreviated KTSTR, pronounced ‘kitster’) measures emotional volatility and resilience, and is also used as a general indicator for how likely someone will go to pieces inside the drift. Less precise than the HSP index and CORO pattern, the Keeler rating is based on in-person psychological evaluation and consideration of any previously lived trauma and/or extant mental illness. Note that a high Keeler rating does not contraindicate drifting, merely offers a warning for potential difficulties. Newt’s high rating is likely due to a mood disorder; Mako’s may be attributed to Tokyo. Observe also how close Raleigh and Chuck are to the beginning of the alphabet. Raleigh arguably had a fairly stable upbringing and, especially given his rating was handed out pre-Knifehead, a mature and level emotional response. Chuck might also have had a stable childhood before Scissure, and his low Keeler rating indicates he is not overly damaged by the experience, he isn’t emotionally-compromised, he’s just an ass.

IF YOU FEEL INCLINED TO USE THIS IN WORKS OF FICTION: I offer this drift science to the fandom for free, no catch, under a creative commons license. Adapt as your fanfictional needs require so long as no profit is involved. I thought the idea was too good not to share. If you do use it, please credit and/or link back to me, and feel free to message me also because I want to see what you do with it.

This is canon-compliant until canon proves otherwise. Go forth, beloveds, AND CREATE!

Ch.2  Two-Faced (G/t JSE fanfic)

Author’s note: Hey! you should probably read Ch.1 for this to make sense.

Prompt: Growing/Shrinking

“I assure you, Mr. Mcloughlin, your assistance is greatly appreciated here at Septic Science Incorporated.” The scientist known as Dr. Iplier spoke, leading Jack into the back rooms of the facility.

“So, what exactly am I doing here, doc?” Jack asked, looking at a giant green eyeball floating in a septic tank. It seemed to stare right at him. Jack shuddered, walking a bit faster.

“We’re currently in the middle of some experiments involving the growth and reduction of cells, and your DNA showed exceptional promise.” Dr. Iplier explained. He pointed to a device on the table. “This is meant to alter the shape and size of carbon-based life forms.”

“Yeah, but what’s that mean?” Jack pressed. He knew his friend Felix, another scientist, had begged him to come in. Jack just still didn’t understand why. The doctor didn’t answer; instead, he began measuring Jack’s every body part to the point where Jack wasn’t sure if this man was a tailor in disguise.

“Now, just a few questions before we get to the main event.” Dr. Iplier looked down at his clipboard. “Have you consumed any radioactive material in the last five years?”

“Uh, no?” Jack thought that would be obvious.

“Is there a history of death by hypothermia in your family?”

“I don’t think so.” Jack tried to think back. “These questions are kinda weird.”

“Have you ever experienced a sexual attraction to rabbits?” The doctor didn’t even hesitate.

“WHAT?!” Jack screeched. “What does that possibly have to do with-!”

“That one was just a little joke, Mr. Mcloughlin.” Dr. Iplier smirked over the brim of his glasses.

“…oh.” Jack turned a slight shade of pink before letting out a laugh. “Sorry, I guess i’m just a lil’ nervous.”

“That’s alright. Last one: did you ever or do you currently experience nausea on long flights?” Dr. Iplier continued.

“Well, sometimes.” Jack shrugged. “I kinda have this fear of heights.”

“Hmm.” The doctor frowned. “Fear of heights? Well that’s not ideal, but everything else checks out, so we’ll let it slide.” Jack raised an eyebrow. What kind of mad science was going on here? The doctor put the clipboard down on the table, picking up the device.

“You should feel a slight tingling, but that is perfectly normal.” Dr. Iplier began to fiddle with the device, which looked similar to a science fiction ray gun. “Please remain calm.”

“Er, okay.” Jack went cross-eyed trying to keep his eyes at the thing when it was pointed in his direction. Why did Jack suddenly feel like he was at the wrong end of a gun barrel?

The tip of the device glowed a bright green, blinding Jack for a moment. He opened his eyes, only to blink in shock as Dr. Iplier was gone. Instead, a giant pair of shoes stood in front of Jack.

“It worked!” A loud, booming voice yelled far above Jack’s head. Jack couldn’t believe his eyes as he looked up…and up…and up. Jack had shrunk!

“AAAAAAAAAAAH!” Jack yelled, panicking. “This shouldn’t be possible!”

“Please remain calm.” Dr. Iplier said, and suddenly Jack was grabbed in a tight fist. Jack groaned, feeling his stomach drop as he rose higher and higher. Oh jeezus, he really loathed heights. “We still have some tests to complete.” Jack was dropped on the table, forced to try and keep his balance on jelly legs. The doctor stood up to collect some supplies, leaving Jack to catch his breath.

“What are you doing with that thing?!” Jack began to flip out when he returned with a needle half as big as Jack.

“How many times must I tell you to remain calm?” Dr. Iplier sounded annoyed. “This is merely a euthanization needle, used only with uncooperative patients.”

Jack gulped nervously. “Is…is that a threat?” The doctor raised an eyebrow.

“It’s only a threat if you plan to misbehave.” Dr. Iplier spoke smoothly. “Currently your DNA is infused with my micro elemental serum, which took over 30 years of research and is worth over 12 million dollars. I will do what’s necessary to protect my work, even if it means finding a new test subject.” The doctor gave what must have been an attempt at a smile. “Now then, let’s begin the testing.”

The doctor began with re-taking Jack’s various measurements, writing down the changes on his clipboard.

“Extraordinary.” Dr. Iplier murmured. “All of your limbs seem to have kept their original proportions.”

“Wait, what?” Jack looked down at his tiny hands. “Are you saying there was a chance one of my arms would have turned out bigger than the other?”

“This was all listed in the fine print of the waiver you signed, but yes there was a chance of failure.” The scientist answered. “You’re the first test subject whose vital organs proportionately shrunk, allowing them to continue to function in a regular manner.”

“Could you maybe not speak in scientific jargon?” Jack groaned. The doctor frowned, visibly getting annoyed. Jack bit back a sassy remark, remembering the needle.

“There were some fatalities in the past.” Dr. Iplier explained.

“People died?” Jack shuddered.

“Their DNA refused to bond properly with my serum.” The doctor spoke monotonously, clearly not caring for the people who gave their lives for his crazy schemes. “They signed the waiver just like you, indicating they knew the risks.”

“Why the hell do you want to shrink people, anyways?” Jack asked.

“That information would produce bias in my experiments.” Dr. Iplier answered, indicating the conversation was over. He stood up. “I need to retrieve my tools from the other room. Touch anything while I’m gone, and I will not hesitate to get the information I need from an autopsy on your body.” Then the doctor left.

Jack shuddered. “Well, ain’t that guy just a bucket o’ sunshine.” Jack took his moment of freedom to look around the room. He really didn’t want to be here anymore, but the floor was too far away for escape. Jack looked around the table, trying to see if anything could help him get down and hide. The table was fairly empty, except on the other end there were two black and green bracelets equipped with blue buttons. Curious, Jack went and touched the one closest to him just as he heard the door open.

“NO, DON’T TOUCH-!” Dr. Iplier’s voice was cut off as a loud ringing suddenly sounded in Jack’s ears, followed by a tugging feeling at his stomach. A second later, someone crashed right into him.

“Oof!” The person said, falling to their butt. Jack looked at the person in shock. He looked just like him! Except, his doppleganger seemed to be wearing scrappy looking clothes and wearing a backpack like some strange homeless teen gang member.

“What the heck?” The doppelganger spoke, rubbing at his green hair and looking just as surprised as Jack. Jack could only watch in horror as a giant hand came down, grabbing the doppelganger right off the ground like a little doll.

“Gotcha!” A slightly different voice spoke, dragging the other man out of sight. So, wherever he was, Jack was still small. Feeling a pressure on his wrist, Jack looked down in surprise to see the strange black and green bracelet had shrunk down and attached itself to his arm.

“What…just happened?” Jack asked, staring down at the glowing blue button.

anonymous asked:

OMG I am obsessed with your fic "When I dream It happens in blue" ! I love Lance and langst so much!~ You write such good voltron stuff! You seem to know so much about physics? Do you have any advice for writing more realistic fanfics?

Hi!!! I love this ask!

First of all I just want to thank you for reading when I dream it happens in blue. I’m working really hard on it, and I’ll get you the next chapter soon!

I love science fiction.

Astronomy is a hobby of mine. I’m by no means an expert: I just took a couple classes in uni to fulfill my requirements, and I’ve read some books, and ever since it hooked me. But ever since I could read, I have absolutely loved science fiction. First of all, I want to make sure you understand what I mean when I say that. Science fiction is a subgenre of fantasy. In order for a piece of fiction to be science fiction, it has to be scientifically plausible. It’s a reason why so many people don’t like the genre: there’s a lot of explaining of how things work that can sometimes overwhelm the plot. Anything set in space or that has aliens is not science fiction. Star Wars is not science fiction, it’s fantasy. Thing’s like Strangers in a Strange Land or The Long Earth are works of science fiction.

The show Voltron is pure fantasy. It completely disregards things like gravity, air, linguistics, and the basic components of potential space travel. Because my heart is completely captured by all things space, I’m drawn to the show, but completely disillusioned by the lack of care given to the setting. So, that’s what lead me to start writing fanfics (well, that and my absolute love for the Blue Paladin). 

Why write science fiction?

First of all, you don’t have to be an expert in science to write science fiction! I’m certainly not, I’m getting an English degree. So don’t worry about not having a PhD in astrophysics, you don’t need it. I write science fiction is because it’s so immersive. You get sucked in to the daily routines and the details matter. Don’t get me wrong, I still write character-driven fiction (or try to, at least). When you pay careful attention to the setting that you put your characters, they truly have an opportunity to thrive. Fiction that is solely character-based can still be interesting but often lacks the final push to make it great. It’s just good.

When skillfully done–as part of the background and setting and not in the form of a lecture–it imbues a sense of reality that can carry your reader along, that can elicit the willing suspension of disbelief almost subconsciously. 

The biggest lie when it comes to science fiction is this attitude that using a scientific background somehow “stifles creativity.” For one thing, the real universe is far more varied than any author’s imagination! Our minds are barely able to comprehend the complexities of this universe, let alone a fictional one. It is true that using real science or components of real science imposes a framework, but claiming that having a framework imposes creativity is short-sighted at best. 

What I mean by this, is that you are reading this in English. There are rules, a framework to using English. But you can be endlessly creative within the bounds of that framework to create something truly magnificent. 

Where do I start?

I would say just get familiar with the astronomical setting. Realize how big the universe is. An Astronomical Unit is the distance from the earth to the sun (roughly 150,000,000 kilometers or 93,000,000 miles). Traveling at 60mph (~97km/h), it would take a person ~177 years to travel 1 AU. Notice things like the fact that the distances between planets are far greater than the sizes of the planets themselves. Be able to recognize what that, in turn, means (Space has a lot of empty, well, space). Learn about different celestial objects. You don’t have to get super scientific. A planet is a big ball of rock and in the center usually metal. Planets are worlds. They’re not self-luminous, but they can reflect light. Planets have an axis, an “imaginary” (by this I mean dynamically defined) line. The angle of the axis affects the severity of the seasons. The planet spins on it’s axis, causing a sunrise and sunset. Planets all rotate at different speeds. 

You can get as detailed as you want. You can stop learning about axes there, or you can learn more, recognizing that the planetary rotation (days) causes periodic heating and cooling that distorts the circulation of air and ocean currents which has a significantly profound effect on the weather. 

Planets usually orbit a star. There are different types of stars that come in different classifications, depending largely on two things: mass and age. The mass determines the intensity of the stars’ nuclear reactions (the larger they are the hotter they burn). Old stars are running out of fuel and have a very different structure.

Just learn about our solar system first, and the rules that apply to it, and from there you can begin to create your own.

How do I apply that?

However you want! Did you see any math involved? Just understanding these concepts gives you what you need to be a science fiction writer. You don’t have to memorize any equations, and nobody’s going to ask what the exact mass of your planet is so they can calculate how strong it’s gravitational force is so they can fact check you and tell you that you’re wrong and are a horrible writer. You can do that if you want to (I do sometimes, cause I’m a nerd and it’s fun) but it’s not necessary.  Once you understand the rules, or the framework, you can get creative within it! Plus, you get to learn about our universe as you do it! There’s literally no downsides!


I’ll give you some places to start looking! Let me know if you ever want any more detailed references. 





I really loved this ask! I had to cut myself off so I didn’t start writing you an essay about space. I also wanted to make sure you understand something: I love science fiction, but a special interest in astronomy is not necessary to write a good fanfic. My favorite fanfic ever, Boom Crash the Sound of My Ship  by @maychorian has no mention of any of the things in this post, but it’s still incredibly good. I’m not saying that you have to be a science fiction writer to write Voltron fics, I’m just giving you an insight as to how I apply science fiction to Voltron, and if you are interested, encouraging you to try it out for yourself, too!

Hope this helps, 
love Blue