Thursday, October 1, 2009

Planning on writing a science-fiction novel?

If you are, please take this simple quiz to determine whether you should proceed.

  1. Does the society in your novel have a single polity, namely, a galactic empire?
  2. Does it pretty much go without saying that the occupant of the throne of that empire is always an emperor and never an empress regnant?
  3. Despite having trillions of subjects, does the emperor find the time to involve himself directly in the nitty-gritty of those subjects' lives?
  4. Even though the galactic empire is, well, galactic, are all of its subjects human?
  5. Do the planets not differ significantly from places that one might find on Earth in terms of climate, atmosphere, and gravity?
  6. As an alternative to the galactic empire, are there multiple worlds, each with a single government, language, and religion?
  7. Is Earth called Terra?
  8. Do the planets have names, while the stars that they orbit are anonymous?
  9. Is the whole point of your novel to express a seventies sentiment about being kind to the environment or about the evils of capitalism or of the Catholic Church?
  10. Do you neither know nor care about this thing called "human nature"?
  11. Has the society in your novel seen less social change over ten millennia than my rather provincial home town has in the past forty years?

How to score: If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, I recommend that you not write your science-fiction novel.

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