|Reviews for Writing Speculative Fiction: A Nerd's Guide|
| fatbird33 7/9/08 . chapter 1
i loved the "Table with content" hilarious
| Talon88.1 6/5/08 . chapter 21
Very well researched in informative. One note though. I've been training in Ju-jitsu for about fifteen years now, and not in the watered-down or Bazilain style. Its called Don-Zon-Ryu, and its more combat oriented then others. Same basic idea, with motion following motion, but allows for a bit more along the lines of bone breaking with minimal effort if the holds fail.
Not saying that ones better then another, simply that it is out there now. Just thought you might like to know!
| Talon88.1 6/5/08 . chapter 4
Very well done. I plan on reading the whole thing of course, but this line here just needed to be said.
Ehem: 'Given a choice between a gun or girl, take the gun.'
Then using said gun, kill bad guy, take girl.
| ByYourSide 5/25/08 . chapter 1
I'm gonna have to take a closer look at this later.
I have a feeling I'll be needing this guide.
| The Full Metal Bitch 5/25/08 . chapter 33
I'm sorry, but your chapter on "Mechanical Jams" seems to have missed the point spectacularly. You make good, if slightly unfair, points on the "Emo Kid Brigade", but your criticism of gigantic mecha is very misplaced and subjective; mecha are, fundamentally, simply just visual metaphors for their pilots. They're not intended to be realistic war weapons, and criticising them as such is unfair. Eva, Gundam etc. would all be horrible weapons if deployed in real life (well, an Eva maybe not...). Fiction is not real life, nor does it have to be particularly close to it.
| Justin Carlton 5/1/08 . chapter 17
Cheers here as well. The human mind is the best component for horror writing: the psychological stuff is the scariest thing on the planet, and it's the driving force behind everything from abuse to murder to rape to genocide to nuclear war.
Thrilled with your writing as usual.
| Justin Carlton 5/1/08 . chapter 10
In browsing the reviews you got for this chapter, it seems to me that the fantasy genre is a topic highly contested and far from settled.
Everyone and their mother has "original" ideas, after all.
When it comes to writing what we call fantasy, I've come to the conclusion that no one can write fantasy stories without some aspect the cliche elements resurfacing. But that's not always a bad thing, because it's the cliche that instills a sense of commonality and draws readers in. Granted, not everyone is an original reader or author, as evidenced by all the pouplar emo/romance crap filling FP's "Just In" page on a daily basis.
What I'm trying to say is, there are extremes and there are compromises. As for me, I like to take elements of Tolkein and give them entirely new dimensions. Elves are the classic fantasy race, and I have no problem using them in stories, and I personally like to see other authors exploiting them - so long as they're not used like cookie-cutter people ripped from age-old classics. If you go to the extreme of creating entirely new everything, you end up with creatures called "Gloks" and "Uputus" and everything else George Lucas tried in his new Star-crap-Wars flicks by trying to be original.
Using the template set out doesn't make you a cliche author, so long as you use those guidelines well (AKA, manipulate them).
I'd like to personally thank you for discrediting those awful vampire/monster "horror" stories too. This is a whole another dimension to the "recycled character" issue.
"Horror", my butt. Nothing could be less original or frightening. I read Bram Stoker and Richard Matheson, and that was all well and good, and I praise them for their use of the vampire because it was groundbreaking then and still frightening. But no one today can touch what they accomplished.
I'll stop the ranting now, because you've done that already.
I have to be honest with you. Any time I read anything you've posted, I find myself impressed by how well-thought out your biases and opinions are, and I appreciate the blunt delivery. Nothing is worse than a lunkhead babbling without a point of authority to back his/her claims.
Nice work, although you don't need an author of lower standings to tell you that.
| TorgoTheWhite 3/15/08 . chapter 12
While I do appreciate your suggestions for alternatives to Directed Energy Weapons (a major cliche in most Sci-Si works), I still think that accurate portrayals of energy weapons could be relevant to Hard Sci-Fi and in someways, more difficult than circumventing their usage.
The fact that you recognize that lasers travel at the speed of light and are invisible due to their frequency demonstrates your superb understanding of physics. I would also like to add that lasers are invisible in a vacuum due to the fact that there isn't a medium in space to illuminate a beam of light. So it would be impossible for lasers of any frequency to be visible during a space battle.
Despite the high energy consumption associated with weapons utilizing electromagnetic radiation, they still possess one advantage over projectile weapons- they travel at the speed of light. When efficient superconductors and high energy storage devices come around in the future, I believe that laser-based weaponry could potentially allow spacecrafts to engage one another light-seconds apart. Since there isn't any atmospheric blooming in space, this could theoretically be possible.
You neglected to mention particle beam weapons in this chapter. Particle beams operate on a different principle in laser in the sense that damage is done by the kinetic energy transfer of charged particles colliding with the target.
With that said, I completely agree with your point on hand-held energy weapon. There is no advantage for a hand-held laser due to the limited range of close-in engagements.
| TorgoTheWhite 3/12/08 . chapter 1
I've just started on the Basics of Creativity and thought it was pretty informative and your instructions resonated with my philosophy on story writing. Great instructions!
I agree with your idea that Sci-Fi stories should take the laws of physics into account. While the "sufficiently advanced technology" argument has its merits, it is abused way too often and is the recipes for cliched Sci-Fi.
| Written 2/27/08 . chapter 10
where might I find this 'Guide to Writing Fantasy'? I did a search for it on fp and didn't come up with it...
| Written 2/27/08 . chapter 1
wow, you have an awesome guide going! I don't write any scifi just yet, but I'll have to add this to my C2. It's very useful!
| self-evident 12/9/07 . chapter 41
Interesting guide. I'll be using this to help me with my science fiction story!
I have one question, though. Have you encountered Alastair Reynolds's Revelation Space series? If so, what do you think of it? You haven't mentioned it in any of the chapters, so I was wondering if you've read it. It's an excellent hard sci-fi/space opera and is consistent with physics (no FTL technology, though it comes close). I'm in love with the series!
| Edcrab 11/28/07 . chapter 41
Hey, you updated. Glad to see one of us manages to...!
Very interesting read, even though ultimately it can be summarised as another common-sense observation. Still, as blatantly obvious as the advice might be (i.e., making sure that engineering projects are viable in an economocial, functional, and even a believable sense) ... the fact that a lot of us totally fail to consider such aspects when we turn to SF proves that it's advice worth giving.
Hmm. Interesting when you think about what SF readers put up with compared to material outside of the genre...
| Crownbreaker 8/10/07 . chapter 40
So far so good. This does a nice job of helping with the problems of bad sci-fi. It would be cool if the next chapter you did was on a much abused group in military sci-fi, special operations.
| Edcrab 8/5/07 . chapter 40
Nice update! Glad to see you touching on one of the core staples of the fantasy genres (and also one of the core cliches, come to think of it).
As always, great selection of ideas and summaries and a choicy bit of analysis delving into *why* superheroes are such an endearing concept.