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A while back I mentioned that anyone interested in writing hard SF should do a bit of research before starting out. This is because the increasing rate of change in technology is one of the things causing the previously discussed “conceptual block.” In the old days, one Renaissance guy like Leonardo da Vinci or Isaac Newton could keep up with most of what science there was in the world. Now there’s no way to do that. Instead, you may think you’re writing science fiction when science and technology have already passed you by.

Vivienne Raper has written a great article on this posted here. She runs down a list of advances you probably thought were still SF (leaving out a few massive advances in medicine that we should be looking at), and then makes the most telling comment: These advances make the standard SF novel obsolete. The hard truth is that a lot of standard, “traditional” SF is based on World War II technology, when the Nazis were working on ray guns, robotic artillery and orbital mirrors to focus sunlight onto the Earth.

So, if you want to be an effective SF writer, then a bit of self-education is in order. This isn’t insurmountable. The Internet is out there.

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