Hello. My name is Brian, and I write hard science fiction.
Audience: Hi, Brian.
I fell off the wagon again…
But I’ve been hard SF free since 7:30 this morning.
Audience: *Mumble, mumble*
My mind is clear, and I’m proud to say that I think I can make it through the rest of the meeting without firing up my laptop and pounding out a few passages of my trilogy.
It hasn’t been easy these past few months. With my debut novel on submission, it’s been difficult to concentrate on anything but my craft. Will I be able to demonstrate to publishers that I can improve? Will I have what it takes to make the edits they require? What if an editor asks me to insert MAGIC into my story?
Audience: *Double Gasp!*
I know. I shouldn’t dwell on such things. But, truth be told, not many successful hard science fiction writers were optimists, now were they?
Audience: *Cold stare*
Not that I, you know, have any interest in going down that road. Not at all. There lies madness, or so we say.
But things work the way they do for a reason, don’t they? Why can’t we use the comprehensibility of the universe to aid our readers in their suspension of disbelief? The stories we tell are so speculative, grounding them in current scientific understanding helps the reader to relate, to own the story, does it not?
Audience: *Double mumble*
Wait, hear me out. It all started when I was in third grade, and my teacher explained that pulsars flash because they spin. I asked if that was because they were light on one side and dark on the other. She thought about it, said that didn’t make sense since they’re basically stars, then told me to stop asking ridiculous questions.
It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I realized I had a science teacher who actually had a disdain for science, a disdain for knowing how things actually worked.
Audience: *Nods in unison*
But what if there are readers out there who like that sort of thing?
Audience: *Triple gasp!*
No, seriously. What if there are readers out there who prefer the speculative stories they read to be, you know, plausible?
Audience: *Lights torches and gathers pitchforks*
Why should those readers be left behind? Why should they have to settle for stories about leprechaun ghost clowns when they would prefer something that can happen in a universe that’s realistically extrapolated from our own? Should we not be serving those readers? Should we not strive to create stories in tenable settings that serve to deepen the significance of the narrative impact on the reader?
Audience: *Charges podium*
I brought cookies.
Audience: *Eats cookies*
Anyway, thanks for helping me with my addiction. And thanks for disabusing me of the specious notion that reasonable attempts at plausibility aren’t for the best writers among us.
Has anyone seen my laptop?