As I continue on with my quest to check out all the workshops I possibly can at this year's Muse Online Writers Conference, no visit would be complete if this Sci-Fi girl didn't spend time with J Richard Jacobs, the Conference's resident authority on world building in Science Fiction and Fantasy. Is that a a long sentence or what? Jacobs is the coolest. (Don't you just love those older men?) There is so much knowledge floating around in his head, us lesser beings are sometimes left going, "huh?" The man is a genius. Really, MENSA and all that. For a romance writer such as me getting the chance to pick Jacobs' brain is pure light speed bliss.
Today's post wouldn't be complete without a sampling from his view on Science Fiction. Jacobs says,
"Science Fiction means what it says. The science employed must be based in real science. You are free to stretch the envelope all you want, even to the point where it rips, but your science had better be defensible. That is, the writers should know what they are talking about and how it works. A sound and working knowledge of science must be in the writers portfolio or he/she should know someone in the sciences being used to keep it as real as the plot will allow. Believe me, there are readers who know their science and any straying from the path of possibility needs to be defensible. This holds for both hard and soft SF. Much of the stuff stocked on the shelves under “Science Fiction” is not science fiction at all.
Science Fantasy, filled with technobabble is there, too. You will also find pure Fantasy there. As soon as anything like magic, and other things associated with fantasy show up, the writer has slipped from SF into the realm of Science Fantasy or just plain Fantasy. So, does one need to be a scientist to write science fiction? The answer to that is, “No.” But I can tell you that it certainly helps..."
Whew! There you have it. See what I mean?
See you soon with more Conference updates