Just Read: Orson Scott Card’s How to write Science Fiction and Fantasy

Last night I started and finished Orson Scott Card’s How to write Science Fiction and Fantasy. Though the final chapters are a bit dated with the rise of the internet and his use the word typewriter, however the meat of the book is still good advice for anyone considering writing speculative fiction.

I specifically liked the second and third parts: World Building and  Story Construction. These two parts were science fiction/fantasy specific. I felt the rest was much more general writing advice. His examples cross genres. He uses Shakespeare, Octavia Butler, among others as examples.

He wrote about creating a believable world within the context of the story. All worlds have rules to follow: FtL, stasis, among other future technologies (Hey I’m an optimist) have consequences both good and bad. Both obvious and in obvious. So should magic. He discusses the idea that magic should actually have a cost.

I liked how he broke down the types of stories in categories, and also discussed where the story begins and ends. (This specifically has been a problem for me. I never know how much backstory to put in.)

It’s a fairly short read. I started and ended it in a single bath. I recharged the  hot water when I was on section 5 and I figured I might as well finish it. (On a personal note: I think this is why I will never be a Kindle/Nook fanatic, I like to read books where they have a real possibility of getting wet.)

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