Tuesday, May 12, 2015

What About Gravity?

Now, I've cried foul in the past over the current trend of using realism in fantasy. I stand by these rants even still. However, I've had reason lately to adjust the height of my soapbox. In short, I've come to realize that some realism is necessary, and in some genres, even required.

Let's consider science fiction for this particular musing. I could easily have chosen mystery or historical fiction, but I can't write mysteries and historical fiction bores me (rather like watching golf on TV). I'm passing fair with science fiction, but I'll never be great at it. This is largely do to the fact that I have the attention span of a goldfish (Squirrel!). You see, sci-fi authors have to have to have such a great attention to detail to make it work. The science must be factual enough (by the standard of the time) that every motion of your space ship or nuance of your universe is plausible. I am unable to commit my mind to such a contract of intricacy and as such, my sci-fi stories tend to wander into the fantastical and implausible.

The thing that brought me to this subject was my recent viewing of the re-boot of the Star Trek franchise. Now, I love this series. I have watched it faithfully from the re-runs of TOS all the way through the sadly written Enterprise. The re-boot is terrible, of course, but the plot holes (most the size of Jupiter) and hackneyed writing were not the biggest problems. It was the tech. Or rather, it was the science behind the tech that was lacking. I won't go into detail (see what I did there?), but it did rather seem as if they had forgotten to do any research and/or revision on the science behind the original series. Mr. Roddenberry was know to have consulted NASA and leading scientists of the day to generate his vision of the universe. This version seems to have simply favored neon and chrome over plausibility. By the end of the movie, I was left with one over arching thought. What about gravity? How do they manage it on such a ship? Funny, but I never thought to ask that before.

So that brings us back to our own work. How much realism will it take to make your world plausible?It really doesn't matter what genre you're creating in or around. It comes down to whether or not your reader finds your story line believable.

If they do, then they will follow you down your storied path as if you were the proverbial Pied Piper.

If they do not, they will be left asking thorny questions like, "What about gravity?"

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1 comment:

  1. Gravitons. The jury is still out as to whether they exist or not. Regardless, your point is still confirmed. The new Star Trek (and other rebooted efforts) does not explore science like how the original series and The Next Generation did. Is it an assumption that we already know Star Trek science? Or is it laziness? I think neither... It's business catering to the Millennial Look! Squirrels! generation. Today's Hollywood is all about the CGI, the superpowers (stupid-powers), and the tights.