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Researching Sci Fi

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Today’s topic comes from QSFer LV Lloyd: “That might be a good question for the blog -‘how much research do you do for a sci-fi story?'”

Sci fi is unique in that we’re speculating on things yet to come, but based on what we know now. When I write a contemporary story, I can visit the place where it’s set, use a 3d mapping program, to hget a feel for it and how it hangs together, and even see photos from just about anywhere for details.

There are apps and sites for transit schedules, people we know who may have visited our setting or even live there, and tons of other resources to get the details right.

But for sci fi, we’re often flying blind.

So writers, how much research do you do for sci fi stories? What are some of your favorite resources? And readers, can you tell when a sci fi story is poorly researched?

1 thought on “Researching Sci Fi”

  1. When I research a story I do as much as I can. Several years ago I wrote two stories, both fan fiction, but one dealt with an intelligent cockroach the size of a pickup and the other an intelligent snake. The intelligence part didn’t bother me tho I geared it, naturally to come from each being. I concentrated my research on what the beings would actually look like. I learned a lot about cockroaches and snakes. The local librarian thought I was out of my mind. The same time I was looking into cockroaches I also researched mushrooms and to my delight discovered they came in a variety of colors. I think you have to do some research for a story and you have to be as true to science as you can like the sun is ninety-three million miles from Earth or mammals are warm blooded, that kind of thing but beyond that the research gives you a base to go further for the story, to layer it and give it a texture it might not have had.

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