Here’s one for the writers among our readers. The excellent Jim Van Pelt* has an article at The Fix Online wherein he lists a number of potential sources for the kernel ideas of hard science fiction stories.
“So, do you need a degree in science or math to write hard science fiction? Nope. Numerous hard science fiction authors write their stories without that background. […] Admittedly, though, the non-science or math authors will have to work a little harder to not write laughable hard science fiction. They need to cheat a bit. They may need help coming up with ideas, and they certainly will need help for the science that is not at their fingertips. Fortunately, the help is no farther away than the nearest bookstore.”
Or your local library, I’d add to that statement (use ’em or lose ’em, folks). [Image from Image*After]
And, of course, the internet has its value for the same sort of process, once you know where to look. Jeremy Tolbert thinks it would be good if that process were easier, though:
“Someone with access to the big primary biological sciences literature should post reviews/summaries in laymen’s terms of each issue. Nature, Science, and more. People could volunteer and write in summaries for any primary literature they want. Group blog the literature. Get it out there in the web, in a format that science-interested people can understand.
Because I think there’s a barrier still between that level of academic knowledge and the web population. I’d like to see a gateway giving me a glimpse at what’s going on. I don’t know where the local university’s science library is, and I can’t afford to subscribe to those magazines (who can?).”
Well, we do a sort of low-calorie version of that here at Futurismic, but we’d be happy to run more beefy material. Any volunteers? 🙂
[ *I’ve linked to Jim Van Pelt’s writing advice numerous times, both here and on my own blog, and I feel sure I will do so again. The web is full of writing advice, much of it sincere and well-meant, but I have yet to discover a regular source of clear and honest advice that’s as reliable and fun to read. Being subscribed to Jim’s LJ feed is like having an avuncular writing tutor all of your own. This is not a paid plug, nor is it ass-kissing – I just think the guy deserves recognition and respect. ]