Nothing builds intricate worlds like the attention to detail given to the story’s geography. What makes a setting compelling is the effort that goes into creating elaborate planets that are logical and familiar in terms of geology, history, climate and all that encompasses the geographical nature of the fictional world.
The field of economics probably bores the average lit reader and probably most sci-fi readers as well. Yet the best sci-fi reads are the ones that construct plausible alternative financial constructs and economic environments. Whether we like it or not, our lives are immersed and enslaved to whatever the current economic paradigm is in place. So much so that most people don’t even know that alternatives exist. They don’t comprehend that the economic system that they are bound to be only an invention, and that other (maybe better, possibly worse) systems can exist.
A good science fiction story should be able to predict not the automobile but the traffic jam.
Stories about the ‘mad scientist’ kicked off genre literature, ever since Daedalus fabricated wings from feathers and wax for himself and his son Icarus. Invention is the heart of all sci-fi stories, which in turn becomes the heart of inspiration that turns science fantasy into reality. Geosynchronous communications satellites, computer worms, Segways, wall-mounted home theatres, exoskeletons, smartphones, virtual worlds, and organ harvesting were all described by sci-fi writers long before engineers turned them into reality.
Incorporating diseases and pandemics into a story can inject a sense of fear and dread, making them effective plot devices. Whether the narrative focuses on curing existing diseases or encountering new ones, the presence of pathologies adds layers of complexity and urgency to the plot. Introducing epidemiologists or scientists tasked with unravelling the mysteries of the disease amplifies the tension and drives the narrative forward.
Cliodynamics is a field of research that tries to apply scientific methods and mathematical models to the study of history and its patterns. It aims to explain and predict historical phenomena such as the rise and fall of empires, the cycles of war and peace, the dynamics of social movements, and the effects of cultural evolution. Cliodynamics is based on the idea that history is not random or chaotic, but follows certain laws and regularities that can be discovered and tested with data.
Biology is a fascinating and diverse field of science that explores the living world and its interactions. Science fiction is a genre that uses biological concepts, themes, or elements to create imaginative stories, worlds, and creatures. Some aspects of biology that are commonly found in science fiction include evolution, disease, genetics, physiology, parasitism, and symbiosis.
With Dan Simmon’s Hyperion Cantos and Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series inching closer to television screens, a question resurfaces, a question I’ve been asking ever since first reading these two works of classic science fiction, both of whom have been fighting an eternal battle for the number one spot on my favourites list.