Most of the science in Tomorrow News Network is based on factual science.  Time dilation in “The Orion War”: based on fact.  The planet Cancriph in “The Medusa Effect”: based on a real planet named 55 Cancri f.  The hyper intelligent dinosaurs in “Dinosaurs vs. Astronauts”: that’s loosely based on fact (emphasis on loosely).  But I have a confession to make.  Some of the science in Tomorrow News Network is totally made up.

Take a look at the most recent story, “Who Invented Time Travel?”  There’s some serious technobabble in there, but very little of it is real.  Here are some examples.

  • Fermionic condenser: as far as I know, there is no such thing.  If there were, though, we’d probably use it to make fermionic condensate, which is a real thing.
  • Iota particles: Again, as far as I know this is not a real thing.  Since the word iota means something very small, I’d guess iota particles are very small even for subatomic particles.
  • Sigma oscillation experiment: I have no clue what this is.  It just sounds cool.

So I made stuff up.  Some people would say that means Tomorrow News Network isn’t science fiction and I’m not a science fiction writer.  They’d demand more real science in their fiction, complete with detailed equations and Feynman diagrams.  To those people, I’m sorry.  I’m not a scientist.  I’m a science enthusiast and occasional science journalist.  I know a little more about science than the general public, but I’m no expert.

So how much science do you expect to find in your science fiction?  Does it bother you when science fiction writers make stuff up?

4 thoughts on “Confession

  1. Technobabble words that don’t make sense, or extraneous, drawn-out descriptions of the instruments (those Feynman diagrams to which you refer) are what bothers me. At least all the examples you “made up” have a sense of science and logic to them (Spock would approve). Coining the word from the root of an actual reference word is an excellent way to do it.

    As far as “real” science fiction? I believe anything imagined is “real” science fiction. 600 years ago we hadn’t even designed a wooden ship that could cross the ocean. If someone would have written a book about man’s journey to the moon, a ship that could fly, men wearing suits and breathing pumped oxygen, do you think their contemporaries would call that “real” science fiction. Probably not. Off with his head for witchery!

  2. I believe writing science fiction allows a large degree of “literary license” as it relates to creating new worlds. That said, some of the terms used in a fictional future world can border on juvenile. I agree it’s harder to invent new terms, but I think a few authors try too hard, and end up sounding like a bad rewrite of Flash Gordon. A good story doesn’t need a lot of technobabble. Keeping it simple often enhances a scene. My theory, if it makes a quirky kind of sense to the average reader, go for it. If you think even a grader-schooler would roll the eyes, leave it out. Your readers will thank you.

    • That’s one of the important reasons we have beta readers. If the technobabble doesn’t bother them, it’s probably fine. I like the idea of invoking “literary license” to respond to those Sci-Fi fans who get a little too picky about what is or is not real science.

      Thanks for visiting and thanks for the comment!

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