How much tech is too much?

TechnologyThis is a question that I ask myself on a pretty regular basis. As someone who likes to dabble into the world of Science Fiction, tech is normally a topic that comes up during the story. I don’t want to take away from the characters and the plot, but I want some tech to be involved.

I am also an avid lover of tech, so that makes a little harder for me to try not to get too technical during the writing of my story. I understand that not all readers want to read about the tech in my stories universe, so I try not to dive too deep, but I also know that there are people out there that like to see what ideas and uses we can think of for our technology.

I mean a few decades ago, someone could watch Star Trek: The Next Generation and not have the faintest idea that in the future that people would be wearing computers on their wrists and carrying one in their pocket. Heck, even the tablet is stronger then most computers of the age. But some author thought that up as a futuristic device. And now it is common.

I’d like to ask the frequent visitors to this site, how much tech would you like to see in a story? At what point is too much distracting towards the reading? What are your thoughts and opinions?

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The Night Sky

Many people will wonder how the night sky can affect their life in any way possible. Well, it can’t, but it can sure be beautiful. Below is a picture from a NASA Expedition 30 crew member on the International Space Station.

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An International Space Station, who would have thought. Not many people in the past would have seen something like this scientific equipment pushed through in their lifetime, let alone in the early part of this century. I mean 50 years ago we were starting out on our journey into the heavens and now we have people that are stationed around the Earth on a daily basis. How far we’ve come.

I know this doesn’t really play into a literary post, but sometimes you just have to sit back in awe of everything that has been accomplished.

Hard Science in Science Fiction

Science Fiction is fiction, should it follow the science of today’s world or should it not? This is a question that you have to figure out if you are planning any type of science fiction project. There are problems that can arise by using real science when creating a science fiction story. Sometimes the rules as we know them just aren’t enough to make the story happen. You might have to fudge the science a little to get the story to work. A perfect example is the faster-than-light technologies that have been created to make space travel possible.

Do your readers get turned away be the fact that you had to create ideas and science to make your story work? I don’t believe that they do. In most science fiction works there are ideas and theories in place that could not be sustained in the “real” world, but readers tend to look past the actual facts behind the science for the overall story that is being presented. If people were set on the science, they could see the inherit flaws in the X-Wing design from Star Wars and how there is no noise in space. But time and time again these items are overlooked because of the entertainment value of the story.

There are some readers who enjoy the hard science behind a story. I know and follow author and astronomer Mike Brotherton, who has written books based on hard science, and they are popular. I am also a fan of the late Michael Crichton, who worked in some real science with his fiction ideas, and his books were popular. So is it the science that draws the readers or just the story tellers ability to write a great story? I believe it is the great writing skills of these authors that made them popular, not the fact that science was used.

Readers want realism in stories, but the facts can be overlooked as long as they fit into the realm of the story. Any scientific rule can be broken as long as it fits into the fiction world. We all try to keep our stories real, but it is the essence of the story that drives the readers to keep on reading and will keep them coming back, time and time again.

What do you think?