I have been writing science fiction since I was in the sixth grade. One of the problems I have is believing what I write so that readers find what I write believable. I majored in physics and mathematics in college and taught physics, physical science, and mathematics for 37 years before retiring. In my writing, I get bogged down when I attempt to introduce ideas that are not fully founded on current science. Thus, I have some difficulty in writing about FTL travel, even though I want that to be possible in a novel I have been working on for some time. Anyone else have this kind of problem?

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What you have to do is to limit yourself to one assumption, and only one. Then extrapolate from that to its logical conclusion. What are the ramifications of that one assumption? Let that lead you to the inevitable conclusion, and don't violate anything else.

Even though my degree is in the physical sciences (astronomy), I don't let myself worry overmuch. What I try to do is make sure everything in my stories is internally consistent. After all, the heart of science is consistency. If you don't violate internal consistency, your readers will forgive you a great deal.
I for one fully believe that I will soon discover my mutant superpower. Soon.


Seriously, I do agree. I was the kid who couldn't just take my G.I. Joe off the bedroom dresser and out to the kitchen table to play. He has to find something on the dresser he can use to climb down, then be able to safely navigate the shag carpeting and stairs, then find a way to climb up the leg of the kitchen table...

As a would-be writer, I really, really want my stories to have believability. Even those which are based in fantasy.
As a reader I don't mind a little fantasy physics or maths in my fiction.

As long as your telling me a decent story that obeys its own internal logic, I am more then willing to come along for the ride. If you need to come up with a way to do FTL Travel that is 90% speculative. As long as you tell me how it should work (I don't really care why if you have a neat idea throw it in). As long as that is the way it works throughout the rest of the story, I pretty much don't care. I am there for the story, a lot of the hows and whys are not really necessary.

Realistic physics, sciences and maths, thats great too. You can gloss over a lot of things that way as well. Your reader should understand a lot of whats going on already.

Tell me a good story I don't care much about the how or the mechanics of the universe. Just don't turn my robots into dragons half way through please... without a very good reason.
There are at least a 100 mechanisms that have been used by SF writers to overcome the light speed barrier - worm holes, bending space (or as in Dune, folding space with some weird mutant's mind), and just plain old warp speed with no explanation as in Star Trek and Star Wars, traveling in a spacial 4th dimension, Popping in and out of n-space (whatever that is). As long as one is consistant I think pretty much any thing goes.
However, I know how you feel about authenticity I have the same problem - being trained in the sciences can be a barrier to writting SF because we tend to over think the science rather than just using an off the shelf "N-space Transitional Field Generator" which will get us to Rigel 5 by tea time.




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