Despite my last post on “Grist for the Mill” I know that I don’t feed my muses as much as I ought. I’m pretty busy trying to stay on top of my job, my child, my college career, my publishing career, still talk to friends once in a while–there’s just not a ton of time there for reading and watching movies. I know I should do it, but how to fit it in?
Well, apparently by getting snagged by an awesome book at a really not-good time. Picking up this book at the used bookstore may be the best two minutes and nine dollars (gift card!) I’ve spent in a while.
It’s twenty† years out of date (in science, especially in this century, that’s a lot). It has an annoying habit of going “look! this is interesting, you could write a story about this!” while my brain is going “no, you idiot, over here–THIS is a story!” But.
It’s a great breakdown of the fundamental science an SF writer needs to know in order to not look like an idiot. It’s collected and cited and clearly written, and while I haven’t learned a great deal (I am an incorrigible science geek already) the way it’s presented, all together and in logical order, has really got my brain a-going.
This book is giving me ideas for the Dream’verse, but I’m already well into what they call “imaginary science” for that. Hyperspace, artificial gravity… I had stories I wanted to tell, and it wouldn’t work if my characters couldn’t “planet-hop” almost at will. I made that choice long ago.
So now I want to start another series, one that sticks to actual science from the start. Mass drivers! Spinning space stations! Ships that use acceleration/deceleration for gravity and if they aren’t changing speed everybody floats! Terraforming taking a thousand years or more! One slow step at a time into space…mmm, sounds awesome.
I’m more than halfway through already, and this book is a fascinating read. Cosmic strings are like a black hole, but instead of being a point, they’re a line. How freaking cool is that? It’s also making me want to read more, by mentioning that “Frederick Pohl did this in this story” and “Isaac Asimov did this in this book.” I’ve always called myself a sci-fi fan, but I haven’t read many of the classics. It’s characters I care about, and anyone will tell you (whether it’s true or not, I don’t know) that “classic” sci-fi is about ideas, not people.
Apparently it’s time to expand my horizons a bit. Yay!
†We will completely ignore the fact that I read “1993″ as the copyright date and then thought it was TEN years old for days…