Analysis

Five Illogical Design Choices in Spaceships

Most science fiction authors do not have the credentials to actually design a spaceship. Even authors of hard scifi have to handwave a few things that our current technology has no answer for. Instead of striving pointlessly for exact realism, we usually design our ships … read more »

Five Signs Your Story Is Racist

These days, most of us know not to use racial slurs* or say anything that starts with “some of my best friends are…” We can all go on about how important it is not to judge someone by the color of their skin, which is … read more »

Five Obstacles to a Realistic Interstellar Empire

From Star Wars’ aptly named Galactic Empire to Star Trek’s United Federation of Planets, interstellar civilizations are a pillar of science fiction. Somehow, humanity breaks the light-speed barrier and reaches the stars. Maybe we’ll meet some aliens along the way, maybe not. Either way, our … read more »

Five More Signs Your Story Is Sexist

As Chris handily pointed out a few weeks ago, keeping sexism out of our stories is more complicated than not being a misogynist jerk. Most authors nowadays know enough not to directly insult women,* but sexism still rears its ugly head. This beast is a … read more »

Six Unrealistic Worlds From Popular Stories

The matrix from the outside.

These stories could take place on a volcanic iceberg and still be popular. But having devoted fans doesn’t mean their worlds couldn’t be better. Even when the premise relies on an unrealistic setting, unbelievable aspects can be cured with forethought. Just look at these popular … read more »

Five Superpowers That Will Break Your Story

Costume-clad or not, many speculative fiction characters have a superpower of some kind. Maybe they can levitate, shoot lightning out of their hands, or read long blog posts in a single glance. Whenever you give your character an ability that people in real life don’t … read more »

Five Signs Your Story Is Sexist

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if making a story sexism-free was as easy as not being a misogynist jerk? Unfortunately, living in a patriarchal society means that sexism feels normal to most of us. If you want to prevent sexist tropes from getting into your work, you have to learn about them. Read more »