Hey did you steal that from Star Trek? A science fiction author’s frustration.


A would-be science fiction author who won’t be named asked me “Doesn’t it worry you that you stole an idea from StarTrek?”
Shocked and dismayed, I said: “I didn’t.”
Won’t be named: “But don’t they use tachyons to power their ships?”
Me: “No the Enterprise was powered by a matter/anti-matter reaction which creates a plasma in the dilithium crystals.”
Won’t be named: “I am pretty sure I heard the word ‘tachyon’ on Star Trek.”Me. “Oh, well sure they used tachyons on different episodes, but they didn’t come up with tachyons. The theory has been around since the 60’s at least and the idea is even older.”
Won’t be named was probably bored at this point, but I continued talking. After all, my integrity as an author was at stake!
A tachyon is a hypothetical particle that can go faster than the speed of light. Of course nearly all sci-fi authors look into prevailing theories and then add fiction to make them work… but the tachyons don’t power the Revelation, they create a field in order for it to move out of space time…”
I almost geeked out about why I chose this theory, but the would-be author who won’t be named’s eyes glazed over. “So what you are saying is I need to sound science-y.”

So I’m not sure if I am more frustrated because ….

1) this would-be science fiction author thought the writers of StarTrek came up with tachyons


2) Because they thought the Enterprise was powered by them.


3) Because they had no idea what a Tachyon was and I used it in Other Systems because it sounds so “science-y.”


7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Candace Knoebel on January 3, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    How about you frustrated from all of the above lol. People can be ignorant sometimes.


  2. Posted by Mariann on January 3, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    What a maroon! What kinda of sci-fi author … nevermind i see you’ve already made this same comment.
    Kids today. [Shakes head sadly.]


  3. Funny! And yet not.


  4. “So what you are saying is I need to sound science-y.”

    Why yes, that’s all there is to science fiction. It’s not important to know how stuff actually works in the universe. Face meet palm.

    Plenty of science fiction bends some aspect of reality to make the story work but it still got some basis in reality. Trying to fake that isn’t going to have good results.


    • Denise and Epoch Wolf, Thank you for commenting.

      You have no idea how hard it was to keep a straight face with this person. I even tried to explain how glad I was that I spent the three months doing the research for Other Systems, because it also acted as a spring board to other stories. All of the science in Unintentional Colonists (short story published by Perihelion SF in November) and Love in a World of Make Believe(novella now in editing.) was taken directly from that research.
      But I think some people think being an author is a sure ticket to fame and fortune–and they want the easiest way possible.


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