…terrific point of discussion Guest Post from Copywriter, Blogger and Scientist pal, Ilka Emig, today…
How Much Made-Up Science Can You Use In Your Books?
Don’t we all love Jurassic Park, Spider Man and stories about time traveling?
Don’t we all accept that blood of a dinosaur can be kept liquid and intact inside an insect while this insect is preserved inside amber for 66 million years?
And don’t we accept that the bite of a spider can lead to this spider’s DNA mixing with a teenager’s DNA; turning this teenager into a human with spider abilities?
And please be honest! Don’t you dream sometimes of being beamed up by Scotty?
I surely am!
But I also wonder if there is a limit to science and ideas authors can make up? Is there a point when the reader is in disbelief and not willing to go down the road the author offers in his/her fiction writing?
Not all made-up science is believable
We just read a book in our book club where one of the main figures died in the middle of the book and went to a weird made-up after death place. She started to interact with her family from there and talked to us readers from there as well. Everyone hated it. It was too confusing and too strange!
And to give an example of a famous ‘not-believable’ movie, ‘signs’ would be the one. I felt fooled when Aliens, who have the ability, technology and knowledge to travel through space to earth to destroy it, died of water drops at the end. They honestly did not check the composition of the earth? They did not see that earth is 70% water? Water, the element that is deadly to them? They just jumped out of their space ship with no protection to be destroyed by water? Unbelievable!
Interestingly, there are not as many examples of bad use of made-up science as there are examples of books and movies that get away with it. The reason could be that bad books are just not remembered. Just like the book we read in our book cub that will be forgotten soon – hopefully.
Everyone is allowed to decide
Dan Brown on the other hand is an example of a master of mixing facts with fiction. Starting a Dan Brown book you as the reader should know that the journey will take you through fact and total fiction alike. But as a reader you can also decide to just accept everything that is presented or to actually do some research if you want to be sure what is fact and what is not.
Most people decide to accept fiction and made-up science!
Most people love fiction that is close to possible and opens fascinating doors.
Most people love seeing the dinosaurs we usually see only as skeletons, being alive, interacting with each other – and us!
Most people love to learn about a different time as a time traveler. One who thinks like them and presents the funny moments of modern thinking and behavior clashing with the thinking and behavior of that time.
So what is the conclusion now?
As long as a story is well written and believable presented the reader is ready to be transformed into the story.
This leaves the responsibility with the author to create a story that draws the reader in.
And to write this story in a way that respects the reader’s wish to be part of the story.
The reader is not stupid.
The reader is just willingly accepting good made-up science together with all the other fiction of the story.
Ilka Emig is a crazy but lovable scientist who’s on a mission to make science simple and fun for everyone. Join her quirky fun blog at http://simplyilka.com/welcome/ and follow her antics on Twitter @simplyilka.
…thanks for getting my wee grey cells jumping again, m’Lady, Ilka… well, let us know… whaddya think, quill-scrapers?… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!…
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