Fantasy, the new science?

Science in fantasy novels is more accurate than in science fiction, Annalee Newitz postulates at io9. (See link below.)
dragonImage by Todd Lockwood from the cover of Marie Brennan’s Voyage of the Basilisk

As a fantasy writer, I’m not unbiased, but I think that is absolutely true.

Hard science fiction can fall into one of two traps: either it becomes infatuated with its own tropes and throws in things that LOOK scientific but could not possibly be, or it finds it has to break known science rules because otherwise the story it is trying to tell crumbles.

For example, if a story takes place in more than one star system, it depends on FTL space travel. Without Faster Than Light travel, it is arrant nonsense because of all the relativity issues, and because the speed of light does not permit easy back and forth travel between suns on a time scale that is compatible to human participation.

The genre itself thus falls lower on a scale of science than a really good well researched self-consistent fantasy which postilates a science that may be science of magic, but still a science with its own rules — and it then STICKS to those rules and does not break them. Marie Brennan’s “Natural History of Dragons” is a beautiful example of this.

In the Were Chronicles, my new Young Adult series, I’m going back to my own science roots and working out the genetics of the Were phenomenon – exactly how humans turn into beasts.

It’s been fascinating. I hope the readers are going to agree. Book 1 of the new series, “Random”, will be published this fall. But it’s in book 2 that the real science of my story spreads its wings and flies. It’s worth waiting for…

Scientific fantasy

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40 Coolest Sci-Fi Book Covers

Cool coversThe science fiction book cover is a hard one to get right.

Shortlist has picked some of the very best sci-fi book covers, ones that are “exciting, clever, vivid and unforgettable.” Do you agree with their choices?
After the RainAfter The Rain, Author: John Bowen
Copied a million times over by Hollywood disaster movies, this artwork by an unknown artist for Bowen’s 1958 novel is a classic science fiction image – a stricken Statue of Liberty with arm aloft above violent and energetic waters.

Cool covers

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The Green City
Green LondonThis isn’t a Utopian Vision,” Annalee Newitz says at io9 about my favorite city in the world, “it’s actually what London is like today.”

There’s a common sense idea that cities are the opposite of nature. And yet if you look at this visualization of green space and gardens in London, what you’ll find is that this giant metropolis contains more plants and wildlife than buildings.

London is an incredibly diverse place. 8.3 million humans speaking 300 languages share the city with 13,000 wild species as well as lots of cats and dogs. You may be excused of thinking there was not much space for all these Londoners, but 60% of London is open land and 47% of Greater London is green. As well as the 3,000 parks, 142 local nature reserves, 36 sites of special scientific interest, 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 2 National Nature Reserves within the city’s limits, there are 3.8 million private gardens. For its size, London is one of the very greenest cities in the world.

Green London

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Alma Alexander
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