Science and Science Fiction


As I draft fledgling attempts to write science fiction, I’m finding myself worrying about the believability of my understanding of the science part. I come from a liberal arts background, though I love science and loved my required science classes: I took basic zoology and botany and astronomy, as far as the hard sciences go, and anthropology, as far as the soft sciences go. But, much of my understanding of science comes from studying the history of science in history classes, watching the Science Channel and Mythbusters, and reading mainstream science journalism.

One of my current drafts follows an ordinary guy — a liberal arts type — about 50 years in the future who gets his hands on an invisibility suit. The idea for the suit came from a short article in Science News. What I imagine happening to the guy once he gets hold of the suit . . . well, I’m not sure how plausible the idea is, or why or how it could happen, but somehow I want the suit to allow the wearer to fold space time. Oh, and none of you better steal my idea.

Of course, as I’ve begun to write, I also realize that who the character is and what the character wants is also primary to the story. It’s primary to any story. But for SF the plausibility of the science has to count for something.

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