Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: science

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 two fascinating videos 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 Scientist, “In 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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Is This How You Feel?

I normally have a re-blog on Sundays—a brief beginning of a blog post from someone else, with a link to their site (actually, I do this on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday…)… 

However, I’ve been blessed to receive word of an amazing site that presents an incredible enterprise.

It’s a site from a group of Australian scientists presenting, not their carefully considered rational views on climate change, but Their Feelings about Climate Change

They have a Twitter Campaign of Anyone‘s Feelings about Climate Change

1. Handwrite your feelings on climate change
2. Take a photo of it on your phone
3. Tweet your photo to @ITHYF_Letters

There is even the Is This How You Feel? Blog

And, after all that is a page for Now What?

Global Issues ~ Notes from an Alien

I spend a significant amount of time in a virtual world, Second Life. I’m the Events Manager for a place called Book Island and I’ve been having live readings every Thursday of chapters from my soon-to-be-published book, Notes from An Alien (get a free copy with the link over there in the side-panel).

Well, I finished reading the chapters and will be changing the format of my weekly event next Thursday, the 28th of April.

We’ll be having consultations about the various issues the book raises.

On a recent read-through of the manuscript, to assure myself that I actually had a final manuscript, I made a listing of the major issues.

If this is your first exposure to what my book is about, here’s my elevator-pitch:

Notes from An Alien is a Documentary Novel about an alien civilization’s rise from

greed, corruption, and war to enduring peace.


Here’s a listing (by no means complete) of various issues the novel raises, along with the chapters having significant action related to the issue:

Corporate Greed – 1, 2
Corporate Control of Populace – 1, 2, 4
Religious Wars – 1, 2, 3
Prophetic Predictions – 1, 3, 5
War-Just/Unjust – 1, 10
Constant Expansion As A Solution – 1, 2, 11
Non-Religious Religions – 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 13
Military Control of Populations – 2
Rational Religion – 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 11
Corporate Ecological Damage – 2, 4, 5
Material Realm/Spiritual Realm – 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 19
Science and Faith – 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 15
Spiritual Practice – 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11
Costs of War – 3, 4, 5, 10, 11
Governance – 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14
Oneness of All People – 6, 7, 8, 14, 16, 19
Economic Issues – 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13
Altruism and Sacrifice – 7, 9, 11, 17
True Peace – 11, 12, 17, 18, 19

I’m sure I’ll learn one heck of a lot about how to facilitate discussions and keep them from turning into arguments :-)
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Are You A Fast Study or Slow Learner? ~ It Can Definitely Depend On The Subject And On Your MOOD!

Folks used to call me intelligent. They usually thought I learned things quickly.

Little did they know that I was, pretty much, a learner who could grasp what I read quickly but that I didn’t utter a word of it until I’d, slowly, studied it in at least three other books.

Plus, what I did retain on each reading depended on what I was studying and whether I made the decision or it was a task imposed by others.

Some people still think I’m intelligent but they aren’t inside my head. There is no brain equivalent of a super computer in here. It’s more like some surreal landscape of fleeting forms–some thoughts, some feelings–continually morphing from state to state, living a life I don’t control as well as my mouth might make it seem.

Plus, I’m an Introvert–Big Time! Any displays of seeming smartness I may perform for folks come with large costs in physical and emotional energy.

I seem like an intelligent extrovert. I’m really an analogical introvert.

My parents trained me well for public interaction. They were ministers and I was the preachers’ son, trotted out on display, singing psalms and expounding scripture, feeling like a martyr to my Muse.

O.K., I’m gonna retreat into this quiet corner now and whisper some questions to the audience:

When you feel all is well in the world, do you absorb facts and impressions like a sponge?

Even if you have the I.Q. of an Einstein, are there times your brain seems to have had a power failure?

When you’re all alone, are there voices in your head?

If you answered at least two of those questions with a yes, you’re probably an introvert and learning is almost completely dependent on your physical and emotional environment.

Two or more no answers could mean you’re an extrovert and you could probably learn nuclear physics while it’s raining wizards and demons.

I’ve, sloooowly, learned lots of science and the above survey is nowhere near scientific. But then, I’m a poetic writer so your reaction to the questions is more important than anything called evidence…

If you want to explore what the orientations of introverts and extroverts can mean in learning and living, you should look into what Carl Jung has to say. He invented the terms.

And, speaking of slow learning, it took me about 20 years to get it straight in my head that I could write something and it didn’t have to be perfect the first time–that editing was a creative act that could be enjoyed. Plus, I didn’t even start that 20-year journey until I was 42…

The other day I met a 19-year-old woman who already had the whole routine of writing so internalized she absolutely blew me away when I watched her video. Here’s the link to my post about it.
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Writing And Therapy ~ Are Writers All Crazy?

I’ve studied a lot of psychology. Mostly to help me figure out why I seem to be so different from other folks.

I’m a writer and I’ve been very crazy at various points in my life but, usually, I’m rather sane; it’s just that I’m so damned different.

Might be that I’m an introvert but that proclivity doesn’t account for all of it.

Actually, since I’ve been writing seriously (about 22 years now), I’m even more different than I used to be but I’m also more sane than I’ve ever been.

So, is my decided differentness what made me a writer or was my writerness always there and I just had to grow up enough to realize it was what made me different.

Honestly? It’s some of both.

So, let’s see: Either writing can make you crazy or being crazy can be cured by writing. Or… Maybe both…

E. L. Doctorow said: “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”

Lord Byron said: “If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.”

For something somewhat scientific but easier to understand, try, What is Writing Therapy?, at wiseGeek.

I’m purposely trying to not make a definable point in this post. My experience of being radically different and the effect writing has on my sanity are very hard to explain in a blog post. It would take a long story, mostly fictional, to explore the weird world of therapeutic writing.

Hey! Watch this post for potential comments. They’re bound to be pretty wild :-)
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