How to Create Fictional Science

Planetary system development (artist’s impression)

So you want to add an imag­i­nary sci­en­tif­ic dis­ci­pline or two into your sci­ence fic­tion or fan­ta­sy sto­ry. It might be nec­es­sary for you as an author, and not all of the mate­r­i­al will be incor­po­rat­ed into the sto­ry. Or, you actu­al­ly need that set for any par­tic­u­lar char­ac­ter you are devel­op­ing. Any­way, it’s a part of world­build­ing.

You can out­line the dis­ci­pline in brief or give it a more deep and detailed sketch—whatever the sto­ry needs, and go have some brainy fun.

What your notes on imag­i­nary sci­ences (as well as the pro­fes­sions, voca­tions and intel­lec­tu­al pursuits—don’t for­get that sci­ence is done by people/other intel­li­gent enti­ties*) should include? 

Here’s a list of the ele­ments you’ll need to put some thought into:

1. A method­olog­i­cal intro­duc­tion — a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of desir­abil­i­ty of a par­tic­u­lar sci­ence dis­ci­pline, its sub­ject and method; of pos­si­bil­i­ties for its prac­ti­cal appli­ca­tion and use.

2. Define a place of this sci­en­tif­ic dis­ci­pline among a num­ber of oth­er dis­ci­plines — exist­ing and/or imag­i­nary.

3. Devel­op­ment of a cat­e­gor­i­cal appa­ra­tus of sci­ence, the intro­duc­tion of rel­e­vant terms and their rela­tion­ships.

4. As rig­or­ous as pos­si­ble def­i­n­i­tions of these terms, includ­ing dif­fer­ent inter­pre­ta­tions of those by any of the pos­si­ble sci­en­tif­ic schools.

5. A brief illus­tra­tion — excerpts from the alleged writ­ings on a par­tic­u­lar sub­ject. Quot­ed text(s) may be imag­i­nary (as is your new sci­en­tif­ic dis­ci­pline) — but they must be appro­pri­ate to the nature and objec­tives of the dis­ci­pline in ques­tion and demon­strate its cat­e­gor­i­cal appa­ra­tus in action.

6. A brief (or not) char­ac­ter­is­tics of gen­er­al posi­tion in sci­ence, its main achieve­ments, con­tra­dic­tions, unre­solved prob­lems, cre­ative per­spec­tives, as well as the main char­ac­ter­is­tics of schools, trends and direc­tions of the sci­ence – in their strug­gle, con­tro­ver­sy, etc.

7. Rec­om­menda­to­ry bib­li­og­ra­phy — with a brief descrip­tion and eval­u­a­tion of the most note­wor­thy and fun­da­men­tal research, that some­how pre­pares (prepared—yes, his­to­ry!) the cre­ation of this sci­ence.

* Here’s fur­ther food for thought on this one: Know Your Char­ac­ters’ Skill Sets

Jeno Marz
JENO MARZ is a science fiction writer from Latvia, Northern Europe, with background in electronics engineering and computer science. She is the author of two serial novels, Falaha’s Journey: A Spacegirl’s Account in Three Movements and Falaha’s Journey into Pleasure. Marz is current at work on a new SF trilogy. All her fiction is aimed at an adult audience.

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