Writing Excuses Notes: Sci-Fi

Here are some notes I took after listening to Writing Excuses.

It is an educational podcast that helps novelists/writers.

The topic is about the Sci-Fi genre.

It comes from Season 1, Episode 8.



Science Fiction. We write it to explore “What If”

  • Philip K. Dick says Science Fiction is about writing and experiencing new things.

Sci-Fi looks at what is conceivably possible. Fantasy looks at what is conceivably impossible.


It comes from two positions:

Optimism or Cautionary Tales, based on current ideas.

  • There is the notion that it is meant to be a didactic genre (meant to instruct).
    • While it may have originated that way, the setting (like a spaceship) seems to define it.

NOTE: Fantasy, Horror & Romance used to be bundled together into the ‘What-If?’ classification.


What made Science Fiction splinter off into it’s own genre?

It’s a reflective genre. Ideas drive science fiction, whereas fantasy is driven by setting.

  • A short story revels character through action. A novel leads to action through character.


What makes for good Science Fiction?

You need an understanding of the current sciences in order to keep things plausible.

  • It is important to know what has come before.
    • You need something new. It is about discovery/exploration.


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