Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: fiction

Using Science in Fiction ~ Tread Carefully . . .


I used the words “Science in Fiction” not “Science Fiction” in the title of this post… 

Cat's Eye Nebula

Image Courtesy of Hubble Space Telescope Image Site

Most fiction that isn’t science fiction doesn’t use much science.

And, much science fiction doesn’t use real science.

There’s a breed of “science fiction” that goes into imaginary worlds that have no support or anchor in true science—many of these stories are fun to read.

There’s also a substantial amount of what folks like to call “hard” sci-fi that stays as close as it can to what is thought to be true science.

But, there’s a problem here

Much of the science (especially astrophysics) that is used to create science fiction is purely imaginary and has little to do with knowledge generated through the scientific method.

I’ve probably lost many of my readers by now; but, if you’re still there, I may have something yet to say that might benefit anyone—even those who don’t care much about science.

Let’s talk about fiction itself.

Should fiction be based on truth?

I have two past posts that approach the issue:

Does Fiction Always Tell The Truth?

How Much Truth Should Be In Fiction Stories?

A few excerpts:

“Truth” can be a slippery topic—it can have “layers”—it can change over time…

Then, there’s the word “fiction”—sometimes used to mean, “an untruth”; sometimes to mean, “an invented statement or narrative”.

And, being “invented” doesn’t automatically make something untrue…

Certainly, any story that resonates with most readers must have a heap of truth in the fiction…

Many fiction writers expend great effort in their research to learn “facts” that will lend some “truth” to the “lies” they tell.

One particular genre (among many) where this can be important is Science Fiction.

What I say next can easily be applied to many other genres…

Imagine a science fiction writer who wants to add science facts to their story.

They conduct research and, usually, adapt whatever they find that is given by “experts”.

One problem with this method:

“Experts” are not necessarily Experts.

That last excerpt is from the post, How Much Truth Should Be in Fiction Stories?, and that post has a fascinating video from a scientist who talks about “unscientific” science

But, the writer of any genre of fiction must still balance the “truth” they want to convey with the “facts” that are true

There’s another past post that I feel any writer could profit from reading (it also has a profound video)—Setting A Few Things Straight About The Universe . . .

Here’s an excerpt from that post:

Ultimately, because psychology shows that the deepest, not-conscious information and motivation have profound effects on conscious action, the closer I can get to the Truth about the Universe and my place in it, the better I should be able to write works that relate well with my readers.

Naturally, there are writers who skim the surface of life, write about it, and sell thousands of books to readers who gobble up the result…

So, I’ve been loudly hinting that much of science is bogus.

But, even though I’ve spent many years doing the research, no one should believe me without checking things out on their own

Perhaps I can help you begin that trek by sharing a few brief excerpts from an article from New ScientistIn science, is honesty really always the best policy?

“…one-third of scientists confessed to ‘questionable research practices’ such as cooking data…”

“…researchers see plagiarism as more heinous than making results up. They are more likely to report a colleague they catch in an act of plagiarism than one fabricating or falsifying data.”

And, if those don’t make you start wondering about the “truth” of “science”, this one should:

“…teaching research ethics made students more likely, not less, to misbehave.”

Also, in case you’ve seen the hoopla about scientists finally detecting gravity waves (from two merging black holes), you might want to perform a reality check by visiting the Thunderbolts Project Forum

The following video, with a real scientist (which was banned by TED), could also help you begin a search for truth in science; and, if you can find a way to judge truth in science, you’re well on your way to finding truth anywhere


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Writers, The Pain of Existence, and Self-Publishing


Two videos today—angst and publishing—the issues of life are barbs to consciousness…

Part One

Part Two

Go here for more Henri videos :-)

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How Much Truth Should Be In Fiction Stories?


“What I say next may or may not be believed but, either way, this story is true—true as fact or true in the way fiction can rise to heights unattainable by mere facts.”

That statement is from one of the characters in my most recent book—Notes from An Alien.

It’s fiction but, to the best of my ability, the story is True

The word history of “True”: Old English trēowe, trȳwe ‘steadfast, loyal’; related to Dutch getrouw, German treu, also to truce.

And, to create a meaning-circle, “Truce”: Middle English trewes, trues (plural), from Old English trēowa, plural of trēow ‘belief, trust’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch trouw and German Treue, also to true.

So, basically, to be “True” means to have steadfastness, loyalty, belief, and trust

Four words that any “self-respecting” fiction story should attempt to live up to.

Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited with this saying: “Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.”

Mark Twain: “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”

Stephen King: “Fiction is the truth inside the lie.”

Albert Camus: “Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.”

So

Many fiction writers expend great effort in their research to learn “facts” that will lend some “truth” to the “lies” they tell.

One particular genre (among many) where this can be important is Science Fiction.

What I say next can easily be applied to many other genres

Imagine a science fiction writer who wants to add science facts to their story.

They conduct research and, usually, adapt whatever they find that is given by “experts”.

One problem with this method:

“Experts” are not necessarily Experts.

Especially if that writer is using MainStream scientists—most of whom have lost the ability to use the Scientific Method and are sprinkling around a bunch of “farie dust”; Fictional Ad hoc Inventions Repeatedly Invoked in Efforts to Defend Untenable Scientific Theories. {credit to Donald Scott}

To avoid passing on false truths in fiction, Dig Deep—Look Far—Add “Controversy” To Your Google Search

To drive home the point about scientists who don’t do Science, I’ll share a two-part video of Rupert Sheldrake, author of The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Memory of Nature, explaining how so many scientists are getting it wrong

I do hope a few authors of other genres (like Crime or Historical) will share their experience in the Comments of looking for the Truth to add Steadfastness, Loyalty, Belief, and Trust to their Fiction

PART ONE

PART TWO


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Just ReBlogging a post from two months before my short novel was published—working on the second book in the series and could well apply these thoughts to the third book—once all three are out, my Work will be nearly done…

Notes from An Alien

I’m engaged in a discussion over in the forums of BestsellerBound about why the theme of my soon-to-be-published book will make it hard to sell.

I knew as I planned and wrote it that it would be, at the very best, a niche-book–of interest to a rather small audience.

While I certainly didn’t even attempt to write it for the “general reader”, I do hope that some small yet significant group of readers will find it valuable.

It is a story, yet the Prologue says: “…this book is a story told in ‘notes’. Even though some readers may think it is a novel or a history, its form is difficult to classify in what are called genres.”

The working blurb I have is even more indicative of Notes from An Alien being a book that won’t appeal to a wide market: Start with a 500-year InterWorld War. Continue through ecological…

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Writers Going Global ~ Expanding The Story


Do you know writers that always keep their stories’ contexts close to home—their neighborhood, their city, their state or province, their country?

Do you know writers who constantly work to expand the context and settings of their works—strive to relate to the wider world?

Some writers seem to be writing in a global environment but every country is shown through the filter of their home territory.

The Internet has been said to be making the world a global community yet many writers are staying home and creating parochial tales, shunning a growth in consciousness that could spawn attempts at a new “genre”—Global Fiction

Certainly, I’m not advocating that All fiction be global or that all writers must expand the territory of their creativity.

Yet, with the world struggling to learn how to be a global community, it would seem valuable to have more writers working to expand the borders of what they consider as themes, contexts, and settings

My previous post, Writing Fiction To Make A Difference In The World, began an approach to this topic and another post, Can Fiction Aid Global Peace?, took the idea a bit further.

Of course, writing in the genre of Global Fiction would mean that the writer was thinking Globally—thinking of distant lands being populated by other members of the same Human Family

I’m putting a video in this post with Homa Sabet Tavangar talking about thinking Globally and, if nothing else, it could give writers any number of Prompts for stories :-)

Homa has written the book, Growing Up Global: Raising Children to be At Home in the World, but the video is definitely for adults considering adult issues.

Her Bio notes that she “has 20 years’ experience working with governments, businesses, international organizations and non-profit agencies in global competitiveness, organizational and business development, and cross-cultural issues. ”

I hope you’ll listen carefully to her as she unfolds, gently, the requisites for Global Consciousness


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