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Writing Science Fiction & Fantasy Paperback – February 15, 1993
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- John Mort, Kansas City P.L., Mo.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Some of the more cogent writing on the subject in some time. Highly recommended.” ―Booklist
“I think nearly everyone who is serious about writing should get a copy and keep it on hand.” ―Scavenger's Newsletter
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is not, however, what it clearly *wants* to be: THE book for writers trying to break into the genre. The essays in it were written at different times and for different purposes. They vary wildly in length, depth, and (most critical) in the amount of knowledge they assume on the part of the reader. Trying to read the book straight through can give you a severe case of intellectual whiplash. If you want a unified, coherent book about how to write quality science fiction and fantasy, this is NOT it. (Try Orson Scott Card's _How To Write Science Fiction and Fantasy_ or Barry Longyear's _Notes to a Science Fiction Writer_ instead.)
The real gems of this book include, as other reviewers have noted, Stanley Schmidt on worn-out plot devices and Connie Willis on humor. IF you want to write hard science fiction (stories where the scientific details are firmly in the foreground and integral to the story), then add Hal Clement's on aliens to that list. IF you want to write fantasy, then add Jane Yolen's superb essay on using elements from mythology and legend.Read more ›
If you know Analog which focuses on hard science fiction and Asimov's which focuses on character-driven science fiction, this book is exactly what you would expect. There are some incredible articles on how to create a believable planet and how to extrapolate from the present society to hypothesize what a future society might be. Stanley Schmidt, the current editor for Analog, included some interesting articles on story ideas editors see so often they know the ending after reading the first paragraph, and articles on what as an editor he is trying to do for both the writer and the reader. If you are a fan of Asimov or Heinlein, you may be interested in their articles just to understand how they think. Except for Connie Willis's wonderful essay on comedy and the world-, creature-, and society-building essays, the actual writing advice is good for a beginning writer, but won't have new information for an intermediate/advanced writer.
For the right person, this book is a gem. If you are trying to publish in Analog or Asimov's, I'd say it is a must. If you are interested in hard science fiction, there is a lot this book has to offer. If you are interested solely in fantasy, this book probably will be a bit of a disappointment.
Since man, in reality, cannot travel faster-than-light to reach distant stars in his own lifetime, the writer of such a fantastic tale should be able to explain how such a fantastic journey could have ever taken place. How you explain this fantastic journey between the stars in your story (though now a well-established convention in SF) can mark the difference in fiction between science, fantasy, or just plan unbelievable (...). It is up to you, and if you want to write good believable science fiction, then you should make every effort to learn everything you can about your scientific subject, and then you can create your own workable falsehoods.
The editors of *Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy* have divided the book into three sections, which they hope will inspire would-be-authors into writing credible fiction. Section One deals with *Storytelling* and includes the controversial essay from Robert A. Heinlein *On the Writing of Speculative Fiction*. Controversial because he advises, "you must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order." Section Two deals with *Ideas and Foundations*, which will advise you on how to write better believable science fiction by using real rational science. (The essay on *The Ideas that Wouldn't Die* is mandatory reading.Read more ›
Further, I dispute the previous reviewers assertion that science fiction does not involve real science. If he does not understand why both I, and the authors of this book, are insisting on fact (or at least, a reasonable explanation for deviation from actual fact) then I suggest that his problem is not with us, but with Aristotle. Aristotle was the first to write about rhetorical strategy, and his theories on the necessity for and distinction between probability and possibility are still quite useful.
Oh, and to all aspiring sci-fi authors, I especially recommend the chapter on the ideas that wouldn't die.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a book of essays. Some are much more interesting than others. Overall... a good book.Published 5 months ago by Jessica R. Jones
Not quite as good as the book written by the editors of Asimov that gave examples, but I still found this useful and have carried it to my writer's meetups.Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
It teaches what you - basically - need to know about writing this genre.Published 11 months ago by Gordan
I bought this book mainly because I had an interest in developing a hard sci-fi story. I was looking for the type of practical advice that I wouldn't necessarily find in a generic... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Ken Brosky
I look forward to reading this as I do a little writing and some science fiction stories so it might come in handy.Published 21 months ago by Liza Kimball
Here are the essays -- the <i>old</i> essays -- everyone in the science fiction field references. Read morePublished on November 2, 2013 by Amazon Customer
A different aproach to -How to write... - book, not by explaining how to actually write something but a series of essays where the authors explain how they write and what rules... Read morePublished on February 1, 2013 by Consuelo Leal Garza
I would just take some time and google the subject as oposed to reading this collection of idea with little factual information backing it up.Published on August 3, 2012 by Mister H.