Some Thoughts About Writing Science Fiction

If you’re a science-fiction fan, you may have realized most science-fiction novels are either utopian (a state in which everything is perfect ) or dystopian (a state in which everything is dysfunctional).  These make good settings for stories, but how realistic are they?

Actually in the real world, things seem to be more “topian” than extreme.  Yes, things do go wrong and can get violent.  But for the most part, if the lights go out, do you expect your neighbor to come after you with a shotgun or bring a covered dish?  Maybe we need to make topian a real word instead of just a suffix.

This thought was expressed during a Science Friday podcast about writing science fiction.  In a program from October 13, 2017 entitled “Writing the Fantastic in 2017”, authors Cory Doctorow, N.K. Jemisin, and Annalee Newitz discuss their craft and how fictitious worlds are created.

You can find the podcast at  And the Google definition of “topian” is “A place with specified characteristics. [Greek topos, place.] The key term here is utopia (Greek ou, not), an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect; dystopia (Greek dus-, bad) was later invented as its opposite.

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