Why do some writers turn to pseudoscience in their stories?

  • Thread starter Janus
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In summary, the author writes a book full of crackpot ideas and the writer does not like the author's recent work.
  • #1
Janus
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I had to serve jury duty today, which meant sitting in a jury assembly room all day waiting to be called to a court room. (Luckily. they decided that they wouldn't need any jurors and sent us all home early.)

I had come prepared for a long siege as I had bought a new paperback novel to read. The author was one whose previous books I had enjoyed. He is James P. Hogan, and he had written some fairly decent hard SF (One of my favorites is The Code of the Lifemaker).

A hadn't read any of his work for while, and I was kind of interested to see what he'd come up with.

Boy, what a shock! Its just brimming with crackpottery! Velikovskyism, Plasma universe/electric sun, "spinning ring" model of sub-atomic particles,...

Now I understand that a Science Fiction writer has to bend the rules from time to time to tell his story and sometimes has to incorporate some controversial concepts, but he is out and out preaching for these ideas. He even incorporates the time-worn complaint of crackpots everywhere that scientists are too interested to protecting the "status quo" to accept new ideas.

What could make a writer go off the deep end like this? And have you ever had it happen to you? Has a writer you liked ever start producing junk?
 
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  • #2
William Gibson's recent books have been Douglas Coupland style lifestyle articles than sf.
Larry Niven and the new Ringworld books ?
 
  • #3
Didn't L. Ron Hubbard go a little nutty towards the end?
 
  • #4
I don't know if Hubbard was ever playing with a completely full deck.
His first article on Dianetics came out in 1949, when he was only 38.
 
  • #5
I'm not sure if he qualifies as a "good writer" either.
 
  • #6
That's why I like Sci Fi that is fairly vague. They got a teleporter to work. Good for them. I don't care how.
 
  • #7
Poop-Loops said:
That's why I like Sci Fi that is fairly vague. They got a teleporter to work. Good for them. I don't care how.
That means it is not science fiction. It is some other genre, but set in the future.
 
  • #8
Yup, I guess Star Wars, Star Trek, and Dune aren't Science Fiction. It's a good thing you're here to tell me these things.
 
  • #9
Janus said:
I had to serve jury duty today, which meant sitting in a jury assembly room all day waiting to be called to a court room. (Luckily. they decided that they wouldn't need any jurors and sent us all home early.)

I had come prepared for a long siege as I had bought a new paperback novel to read. The author was one whose previous books I had enjoyed. He is James P. Hogan, and he had written some fairly decent hard SF (One of my favorites is The Code of the Lifemaker).

A hadn't read any of his work for while, and I was kind of interested to see what he'd come up with.

Boy, what a shock! Its just brimming with crackpottery! Velikovskyism, Plasma universe/electric sun, "spinning ring" model of sub-atomic particles,...

Now I understand that a Science Fiction writer has to bend the rules from time to time to tell his story and sometimes has to incorporate some controversial concepts, but he is out and out preaching for these ideas. He even incorporates the time-worn complaint of crackpots everywhere that scientists are too interested to protecting the "status quo" to accept new ideas.

What could make a writer go off the deep end like this? And have you ever had it happen to you? Has a writer you liked ever start producing junk?

Well, up until this post of yours..... :wink: :-p
 
  • #10
Poop-Loops said:
Yup, I guess Star Wars, Star Trek, and Dune aren't Science Fiction. It's a good thing you're here to tell me these things.
Star Wars is not Science Fiction; it is Space Fantasy. The reason it's Space Fantasy is precisely because the "science" is irrelevant to the story. The ships and gadgets could be powered by bunnies hopped up on Red Bull and it wouldn't change the story one bit. We don't know or care how the hyperdrive, light sabres, force fields or any other such technology works, we just take it as a given that it does.

Star Trek is science fiction because it does care about the technology - the science - (well, at least, it tries to). It is important that the core aspects of story are consistent and explainable. (Let's not quibble on details - of course there's a range, and not all of it is science).


Here's a quick way to spot the difference: you don't ever hear anyone pointing at Star Wars and saying "Hey, that could never happen!"

As for Dune, I'll abstain.

In the larger scheme of things, anything that is remotely futuristic is lumped under science fiction, but to those care care to be accurate (many writers in the field), it's an important distinction.
 
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Related to Why do some writers turn to pseudoscience in their stories?

1. Why do good writers sometimes produce bad writing?

There are a variety of reasons why good writers may produce bad writing. One common reason is writer's block, which can affect even the most skilled writers. Other factors may include lack of motivation, distractions, or simply a bad day.

2. Can a good writer improve their writing skills?

Yes, just like any other skill, writing can be improved with practice and effort. Good writers can continue to refine their skills by seeking feedback, reading and studying other writers, and continuously practicing their craft.

3. Is it possible for a good writer to become a bad writer?

Yes, it is possible for a good writer to become a bad writer. This could happen due to a variety of reasons such as lack of practice, loss of passion for writing, or encountering personal challenges that may affect their writing abilities.

4. How can I prevent myself from becoming a bad writer?

To prevent yourself from becoming a bad writer, it is important to maintain consistent practice and seek feedback from others. Additionally, reading and studying different writing styles can help to improve and diversify your own writing skills.

5. Are there any common mistakes that good writers make?

Yes, even good writers can make common mistakes such as using too many adverbs, relying too heavily on clichés, or using overly complicated language. It is important for writers to be aware of these common pitfalls and strive to avoid them in their writing.

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