Here are a few science fiction questions I’ve answered over on Quora, the crowd-sourced question and answer site. Click to follow the questions and answers in more detail:
A few science fiction movies that have been particularly memorable to me:
See also a more extensive listing of my favorite science fiction films.
Almost anything by Poul Anderson, especially the Flandry series. Some older authors folks tend to forget: Keith Laumer, H.Beam Piper, and Andre Norton.
The most blatant being George Orwell’s powerful dystopian novel 1984 for its portrayal of Big Brother — and the unforgettable movie Soylent Green, based on Harry Harrison’s book, Make Room, Make Room for its portrayal of overpopulation and ecological collapse. I discuss self-preventing prophecies on my website.
We are exactly what they’d need, to colonize a moist and uncertain environment like a planet.
In my novel Existence, I talk about alien probes that intend to make bio-beings to land on such a world.
There is a very great value in sci fi dystopias. They are our early warning system. Indeed, I go into the value of Orwell, Huxley, + Soylent Green and the lot in my essay,
But for every valid and scary and useful “self-preventing prophecy, there are a hundred drooling stupid sci fi dystopias that cast gloom on the future for one reason and one reason only, that I reveal discuss in my article,
Having said all that, your question is truly whether humans are doomed to the logic of Malthus, to breed till we outrun our food supply or destroy the ecosystem. To the amazement of everyone, this does not seem to happen. Everywhere that women are empowered with safety, education and rights and where their children are expected to live, in those places most women choose to have two, maybe three kids.
It is a bona fide miracle, the greatest on the planet. And not one SF story predicted it.
The “heavy editing” should come in phases during your apprenticeship, while workshopping , ideally with other would-be authors of your same level . If a professional editor is doing heavy changes then either (1) you weren’t ready or (2) the editor is meddling way too much.
Naturally I am pleased you are writing and offer my encouragement. Still, there is good news and bad news in this modern era. The good: there are so many new ways to get heard or read or published that any persistent person can get out there. Talent and good ideas will see the light of day! The bad news… it is so easy to get “published,” bypassing traditional channels, that millions can convince themselves “I am a published author!” without passing through the old grinding mill, in which my generation honed their skills by dint of relentless pain.
Alas, fiction writing is a complex art that involves a lot of tradecraft… as it would if you took up landscape painting or silver smithing. It is insufficient simply having ideas and being skilled at nonfiction-prose, nor does a lifetime of reading stories prepare you to write them.
Story telling is incantatory magic and there are aspects to the incantation process that are mostly invisible to the incantation recipient (reader). Skills at rapid-opening, point-of-view, showing-not-telling, action, evading passive-voice and so on are achieved by studied workshopping — and as in most arts, the whole thing is predicated upon ineffable things like talent. e.g. an ear for dialogue that only a few people have. Indeed, point-of-view is so hard that half of would be writers never “get” it, no matter how many years they put in.
What I can do is point you to an “advice article” that I’ve posted online — A Long, Lonely Road — containing a distillation of wisdom and answers to questions I’ve been sent across 20 years. (Note, most authors never answer at all.)
Then there is my advice video,
Well it helps to tell a cracking good yarn! Of course, science fictional exploration and storytelling should be central. Alas, yes, there are now very active in-groups, some of them motivated by personal likes/dislikes and some by strong political fetishisms. I don’t disagree with all of them! Indeed, a tilt toward increasing the presence of all kinds of backgrounds in SF has enriched and broadened a field that should be diverse and broad.
This is the oldest cliché in science fiction. From Twilight Zone to The Outer Limits and One Step Beyond, they all did takes on the story of Adam and Eve — always ending with a male and female astronaut stranded on a planet. As have a number of science fiction novels and stories. And yet every single thing we know in science and history proves it wrong. Author Brian Aldiss has a name for it: Shaggy God Stories — tales which invoke science fictional tropes to try to explain biblical stories.
The biblical story of Noah though… Around 10,000 BCE the strait of Bosporus opened, flooding the Black Sea Basin. Could that event have echoed down 8000 years in legend? Hmmmmm
The apparent steep decline in IQ of the American and other electorates would appear to indicate that intelligence has already moved to artificial matrices.
Check out Quora for more questions and answers…