Reviews for Writing Speculative Fiction: A Nerd's Guide
Fanfic Alone in the blight chapter 2 . 9/17/2013
Excellent learning material right here. I am writing a fantasy novel in which two main alliances struggle for existence. one being the incarnation of the seven sins and the other is its counter part... soo any help?
Dagonmaster chapter 13 . 3/20/2013
Quite an interesting chapter. It's been a while since I've been on this site, but this article has been very helpful to an extent on what I wish to do. Specifically, I am writing a story, where energy-based weapons are used, but more in a fantasy setting.

What I have so far is that these weapons are mana-powered. Specifically, they utilize a crystal core which is supercharged with mana(kind of like a battery) to which fuels these weapons. However, as for specifics as to how they kill, that is where I am stuck. A part of me wishes make it where the shots, depending on the intensity, they superheat and incinerate whatever part they hit, like the heart or muscles in the calf.
TorgoTheWhite chapter 48 . 8/19/2012
One of the best pieces on early firearms I've seen in a while... Where did you find the sources?
Anon chapter 19 . 6/19/2011
The desktop computer you wrote this on did not have the power of a human brain. It didn't have the processing power of the average insect, in fact. Before you write about computers, you should probably learn a little about them yourself.
Moldavite Owlet chapter 1 . 6/1/2011
... Yes.
Garuda01 chapter 34 . 4/11/2011
PM me at above name. My account's acting up.

In Chapter 34, Mechanical Jams. I was wondering about satellite weapons. For example. What if the Nuke warhead is not removed. It will be launched at such high speed to penetrate about 5-6 km into the ground. The nuke itself is located in the middle of the projectile for protection against the impact with the ground. After 5 minutes or so, the warhead explodes, creating an earthquake and decimating bunkers underground.
Alooooooo chapter 47 . 10/8/2010
Hello. I have read quite a bit of your guide and it has honestly, helped me a lot. I know in some places you have talked about "Techno-Babble" as a way for writers to explain their "Faster than light drives" and "Laza Guns" and things along those lines. I just thought, if a writer manages to create an entirely new universe, almost identical to our but changes a few things (Ability to travel speed of light, ability to make laza guns etc.) is it still considered techno-babble, and even then, what if they are using this universe and their non-human species has managed to find a way to bend the laws of physics so they are not COMPLETELY constrained by them (for example say somehow a race find a way to bend the rules and create something that let's they're ships travel at the speed of light, but it gives bad side effects like maybe 1. It could severely weaken the pilot or craft when they live "hyperpsace" or "slipspace" or whatever their chosen term is 2. It could be a one shot type things, like one of those cell phones you only use once 3. You could only use it for a limited amount of time before being "lost" or "destroyed" in hyperspace/slipspace or whatever 4. finally if they want to get somewhere quick they would have to travel there first via "normal space" to set up a teleporter or a reciever of some kind.) other than those issues I find with this guide I really liked it, if you are still updating this (I didn't read first or last chapter) do you think you could look into "Energy Shields" and "Cryo sleep". Anyway this was really comprehensive and all in all I would give it a 9/10
dreamshell chapter 47 . 5/21/2010
“…the difference is often semitic…”

What do Jews have to do with the differences in the -punk derivatives? Jave, for the love of God, edit before you post. XD

Pretty good essay otherwise, though, and thanks for the forum plug.
Dagonmaster chapter 10 . 3/21/2010
First off, I really want to thank you for posting this online. Your guide is really informative for it essentially lists all the things most writers do on this site.

This is great in my view for there were even certain cliches and overused plots that you mention, that I hadn't even considered.

For that I must say thanks because that really opened my eyes. In terms of the impact, I'll be definitely looking over my first work once more to look at discrepancies.

This is a side note, but I do agree with you on the whole evil factions being feudalistic or being totally good or evil.

Heck, that was the reason why in one of my stories, I made one the warring factions a democracy, as well as both sides committing some pretty villainous deeds.

Also in terms of my villain, I'm definitely not taking the cliche route for I wish to make him different. Overall, I apologize for making this so long, and I wish to thank you once more for the guide.

P.S: I know this is kind of mean, but your comment on vampires and its connection with goth girls was hilarious, and is so true.
Brenda Agaro chapter 44 . 7/3/2009
I love this. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this amazing guide. Really helpful. :D
infundibuliform chapter 11 . 4/19/2009
I'm kind of a newb to science fiction, but have you ever read Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman? How he introduced the villains was really disturbing and made you hate them quickly. I think you'll like it.
Talon88.1 chapter 33 . 10/22/2008
First off, I have to say that this read is so helpful to someone such as myself who has little knowledge of engineering. I have incorporated several of your ideas into my work, and I was simply stopping by to pose a question to you.

The EM shield idea struck me once I was working on my own story, and the thought that it would only affect metallic objects.

The enemies I created use plasma weapons sheathed in an EM 'bubble' as it were, and your EM shield hit me suddenly.

If a ball of plasma bubble is held together by an EM and is said bubble is dispersed by the shield, that would mean that the bubble would lose choerancy and eventually spread out by outside infulances correct?

Now, say that the bubble was on target and would impact, but the bubble was still broken. The plasma would spread out, thereby affecting a wider area, but would not go as deep. The thing that is grinding at me is this: Plasma is the foruth state of matter, and thereby holds a slightly different affects on other elements.

Would plasma, once freed from its protective and re-heating EM bubble, freeze instantly once exposed to -270 degrees? If thats true, then the aformentioned hit would result in nothing more then a chunk of ice hitting the side of the ship, right?

If you dont want to reply, thats ok, I was just hoping to get an answer without having to wade through my textbooks yet again.
C Shot chapter 43 . 10/2/2008
As a Marine in Iraq, I can tell you that your brief outline on squad tatics was very minimal at the very least, but if you do decide to cover that in a future column feel free to email me. I can give insight in modern Military Operation in Urban Terrain squad level tatics.

On that note though, I read through most of the columns today and I am highly impressed by them. Well written, I only found one typo (I wasn't looking that hard though) and nothing that made my eyes bleed.

Can't really argue too many points either. Then again, I am mostly a Fantasy reader that has read a little into sci-fi to new a few of the books you mentioned. However, it's not like there is a library around for me to check the others out.

Ghost in the Machine chapter 43 . 9/1/2008
A fairly comprehensive, yet brief, look at modern firearms. Will you be writing a companion piece on more 'futuristic' firearms, such as gauss weapons, tasers, microwave beam weapons, etc?
Ghost in the Machine chapter 33 . 9/1/2008
Sez you: How, pray tell, would you make projectiles (or worse, lasers) stop in mid-flight using some gravity or electromagnetic generator? There are some simpler alternatives below.

Sez me: Any gravity field will deflect projectiles away from a straight line course. A powerful artificial gravity field will deflect them enough so that they miss your ship entirely, or stop them dead. A sufficiently focused and accurate gravity field could even send them back at the vessel that launched the projectile.

A sufficiently strong gravity field will effect light. (Black holes ring any bells?) As will heat (mirages), and as you mention yourself, water and atmosphere.
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