Science Fiction and Science

How do authors develop the scientific ideas found in science fiction stories? The science in a SF story should be possible. That is, readers are easily convinced that the hardware (for example, a hyperdrive) could exist and that a described technique for its use (warp speed achieved through use of dilithium crystal) is reasonable. The ways authors find an idea for use in a story is the subject of this article.

In my own case, I began with three story problems. The first was how do I explain that when aliens appear, humans tremble and collapse in their presence? This response in the presence of an alien being is well-documented in literature and modern mythology. In the Hebrew Scriptures humans often collapse in the presence of an angel; for example, in Daniel 8:17-18, when the angel Gabriel approaches him, Daniel writes, I was terrified and fell prostrate. Reports of alien abductions often contain similar mention of paralysis or disorientation. I used this human response in my story and explained it scientifically by suggesting that human incapacitation occurs because of the overlayering of the alien universe with our universe when an alien appears in our space-time. In my story aliens bring their nine dimensions with them when they appear, making three-dimensional beings physically sick.

The second story problem was how can beings fight using thought alone? The idea was that in their own nine-dimensional universe, thoughts are physically potent. Beings from a multi-dimensional universe need only think to make things come to pass. But what science could support such a WYTIWYG (what you think is what you get) universe? The physics of our universe support our life, so it is reasonable to suppose that the physics of a universe of nine dimensions would support the lives of spirit beings living there and the actualization of their thoughts.

However, this solution creates another story problem: if a being living where thoughts became real suddenly had a bad thought (like monsters destroying their civilization), such a thought must come true, being supported as it is by the physics of that universe. Therefore, beings living in such a place must be morally pure so they were not subject to any evil designs or dark thoughts that would change their universe from a heaven into a hell. We’ve seen this idea in literature before. In Milton’s Paradise Lost a good angel (Lucifer) goes bad and is cast out of the heavenly (morally pure) universe.

The third story problem that needed a scientific solution was the need to find a means for human beings to fight aliens who possessed these kinds of powers. The science fiction solution to this problem lay (in my mind) in abstract algebra. Scientific literature I had read mentioned that our dimensions of left=right, back-forth, and up-down have been described in the laws of physics by about 20 constants. (Brian Greene explained this idea in the elegant universe which I read and loved.) If we had a machine that could constantly monitor these fundamental constants of nature in some sort of field around us, we could know if the numbers were changing or new numbers were being introduced. If we could project such a field around us (in which these 20 constants were maintained), then a person inside such a field could stand in the presence of an alien who was warping our space-time with values from his own antithetical universe. In the end my story used bosonic field equations as a means of determining the presence of deformations caused by the introduction of additional dimensions into our space-time.

This personal illustration exemplifies what I believe is the means through which science fiction authors develop fictional science. Exposure to current scientific thought in the dumbed-down literature scientists create for non-scientist is one place to look for ideas. By extrapolating from these ideas, we can speculate on where scientific and social issues may take a society.

What will happen with the fusion between man and machine (cyberpunk), how will warfare be changed (military SF), what might an alternate/parallel universe look like, how might science effect intrigues or quests. In my case I’m interested in the idea of magic and the supernatural. My novel The Beginning of This, The End of That involves the idea that the supernatural is really just the natural world of dimensional beings whose reality is supported by a physics we are only beginning to imagine.

If that were so, if the supernatural were really just something natural to another dimension or another universe, what perspective would it provide when looking back over human mythology or forward to a prophetic future?

Interview With Simon Rose, Author of Science Fiction Fantasy For Children

Carma: I thoroughly enjoyed The Heretic’s Tomb and I liked the way you got Annie into the past and out of the walled up room at the abbey. What was your source of inspiration for The Heretic’s Tomb?

Simon:I’m pleased you enjoyed the book. It was inspired by my own love of history and I have always enjoyed time travel stories. Many novels have medieval settings, but to me some historical periods, such as the era of the Black Death or the mystery of the Princes in the Tower depicted in The Sorcerer’s Letter Box, for example, are the most fascinating and the most suitable settings for a good adventure story.

Carma: What are your writing habits? Do you work on an outline before starting the actual story?

Simon: Yes I do. I always work extensively on an outline, determining all the twists and turns of the plot, before beginning the actual novel. This outline is usually at least one paragraph for every chapter and can be up to 5000 words.

Carma: What goes on inside the mind of the fantasy writer?

Simon: All kinds of things – ancient mysteries, the unexplained, the paranormal, science fiction themes, time travel ideas, parallel universes, alternate realities, weird and wonderful characters and a whole lot of ‘what if’ scenarios.

Carma: What advice would you give to aspiring writers who are trying to break into the fantasy genre?

Simon: Try to be as original as possible and not copy something else, even if it has been popular. Write about what interests you in this particular genre rather than jumping on any bandwagon.

Carma: Who is Simon Rose? Describe an ordinary day in your life.

Simon: I’m not sure there is an ordinary day. If I’m not traveling or at a local school or library, I do spend much of the day working on the current book project, as well as on marketing, correspondence and so on, but also have children to take care of, pets to feed, household chores to do and so on.

Carma: What type of books did you read as a child?

Simon: I became immersed in science fiction as a boy and read a lot of science fiction novels and collections of short stories, as well C S Lewis, Tolkien and other fantasy writers. At high school, I studied a great deal of history and have retained my interest in the subject up to the present day. I also read a tremendous number of comic books as a child. Pure escapism perhaps, but comic books were great for the imagination. On TV, the original Star Trek series springs readily to mind, along with many other influences.

Carma: How do you set about promoting your novel? How many hours a week do you spend on book promotion?

Simon: I do some form of promotion every day, whether for the books or for myself, usually online though the website, blog or via e mail correspondence regarding author visits, summer camps, writing services, festivals and other events.

Carma: How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?

Carma: There are lots on resources on line and elsewhere with regards to publishers, but a good thing to do is to research which houses are publishing the same type of material that you are writing. If you are writing fantasy for ten year olds, see who is doing that and then check their website to see if they are accepting submissions, Similarly, if you are writing teen fiction, see who is doing that and again be sure to check out their submission policies. There are also publishers who only deal with non fiction, prefer to specialize in regional issues, those who only do picture books or who do picture books, but don’t accept stories about animals and so on. It can be a long process, but is well worth it.

Carma: What type of book promotion seems to work the best for you? Any special strategies you’d like to share?

Simon: All authors have to be prepared to do as much as they can to promote their own work. Get a website or blog or both, even before your first book is published, forge a good relationship with your local bookstores in order to secure book signing events, look into ways to talk about your work at festivals, other events and especially at schools and libraries. You may produce the greatest book ever written. However, no one else is going to see it if your book doesn’t become known to potential readers.

Simon is available for presentations, workshops, Author-in-residence programs in Canada and the United States. Simon’s upcoming book due in Spring of 2009 is Doomsday Mask.

Thank you for this interview Simon.

Out of Touch (Science Fiction Story)

Everyone who had witnessed his childhood days will be puzzled by his behavior. There was no one who can explain the behavior that he was furtively doing in distinctive gesture.

He can’t remember when it all started, he just found himself doing it upon after someone touching any part of his body or even a simple body contact when bumping each other. He can’t help but shrug off any energy that he believes will adulterate the composition of the chemical element inside his body. Hand forming a snakehead and blowing his breath on his hand and covers the touched part of the body by tapping on it three times like a vacuum sucking all the trapped energy. He strongly believed that any negative energy will change his complex whole.

I have observed the young boy and studied his behavior; otherwise, my suspicion cannot come true. With science in the background, there was the answer to all my arguments–what if this little boy has been used in a teleportation experiment.

All the while, a guardian stranger had always monitored the little boy and they were always inside a hidden place called ‘networks.’ His guardian stranger called the little boy ‘Zacky.’ I was then a paid helper to the stranger guardian and he will always instruct me to do the cleaning and be fixing their mess inside the ‘networks.’

There was one occasion that I finally vouched on my notion that the stranger was doing an experiment of a quantum teleportation. There were a massive collection of computers and an enclosed metallic glass cubicle where the little boy was put on a stand. And a kind of light emission will engulf the whole body of the little boy just like scanning his whole body down to the subatomic level, seeding a curated atom. Every day the stranger would measure the level of atoms that penetrates the little boy’s body. He was building a colossal energy that will annihilate the physique and cells to be transformed into qubit. All the scanned information will go directly to the computer as a back-up. The captured atom or photon will be transmitted through entanglement between the sending and receiving location. It needed the speed of light as the newly converted molecules were mere qubits of information that can be conveyed between two entangled atoms.

The stranger created a medium that would have a refractive index and had built an optical computer around the networks that would process in the speed of light. He used a laser to send communication over long distance and the encoding and decoding were processed inside special chips via fiber optics.

When all the required mass of atoms were present inside Zacky’s body, the atoms annihilated Zacky’s body and passed through the computer using a rectifier to make a direct flow into an electronic circuit and then passed through into another cubicle attached in the computer to teleport the boy.

The discrete energy of Zacky being proportionally elevated to the radiation will allow atoms to interweave and merge his identity at the other end of the cubicle creating a complete teleportation.

The stranger understood those processes on his own term, but the disturbing fact was that the rest of the system was bogged down by the estranged energy that previously mixed up with Zacky’s body during contact with other humans. The teleportation of Zacky’s body was changed into a quasiparticle version of the Internet. Zacky’s curated atoms were trapped inside the computer and could no longer find a way out of it, a connection to the computer had been Zacky’s only communication into the outside world. Zacky had the ability to interact with the outside world through a voice and for the time being he became a phenomenal voice for those researching information on the internet. Zacky could travel from one place to another by uploading his presence in the computer. Zacky had been living throughout logging on to the computer and being teleported from one computer to another, but never his body. Zacky became the representation and interpretation of information inside a digital world. Zacky is out of physical touch, screen touching is the key to make him come alive again and will be serving you as the intelligent personal assistant.