Monday, December 4, 2006

Book: How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card (2/5 stars)

I read this during the November Nanowrimo month while trying to write my own novel. I didn't incorporate a single bit of this book into my novel.

This is quite an exciting title for would be writers of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Card is one of the greats with what I consider two real masterpieces of science fiction ("Ender's Game" and "Speaker for the Dead") and three masterpieces of Fantasy (The first three books of the "Alvin Maker" series), I thought that he'd have a lot to say.

Not really. He points us a lot towards another book he's written called "Characters and Viewpoints" as well as other books in that series. In that way, quite a lot of the content of this turns out to be an advertisement for other books about writing. That also means that he's deliberately left out quite a lot that a writer would find useful and are left with quite a small amount of information.

There was this strange thing about how science fiction readers take metaphors literally and that we have to worry about this while writing. There is also a lot about hyper-drive and space travel in general and how it should work in your story (Warp drive is bad since it's Star Trek speak and will get laughs from readers). There is a lot about the price of magic as well, as all magic should have a cost.

The two best parts in the book are 1) the author lists - who are the writers to pay attention to - all worth a read and 2) What to do after you've written something. How to deal with agents and publishers etc... Note - these have nothing to do with the title "How to write...", but actually add to the value of the book.

Quite a poor attempt for such an esteemed author. I would have liked to see better.

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