the science fiction writer’s motto

It’s taken me six years of writing science fiction to come up with a short phrase that encapsulates the very essence of writing in the genre, and today I was clobbered in the face with it twice:

Must Use Bigger Elephants

OK, that makes no sense at all, does it?

Let me explain.

Say, for example, you filled up the entire available surface of the Moon with elephants, and you found that even when you did this, the combined mass of the elephants was only 0.00065% of that of the Moon, and that was really a lot smaller than you wanted… Well, the answer to the problem is easy: Must Use Bigger Elephants.

Science Fiction is about finding bigger elephants, or faster space ships, or stronger metals, or better medicine.

Meanwhile, I must do something with that phrase in terms of the title of this blog…

2 comments on “the science fiction writer’s motto

    • the thing is, in Science Fiction it becomes irrelevant whether or not bigger elephants exist. It’s the ‘dare to dream’ thing. I hazard a guess that every decent SF novel (or at least every one that comes within cooee of a Hugo nomination) has at least one unnaturally big elephant, an extrapolation that is based on current knowledge or technology, but totally magnified out of proportion.

      I strongly suspect that to write pro-level SF, you need to find a story’s inner elephant, and colour it fluorescent yellow, and then put your characters on top of it.

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