Once upon a time zap guns were the latest thing. They were as easy to create as they were to imagine. Nobody cared much how they worked. More important was that they could destroy the alien bug-eyed monsters, or BEMs, who seemed insistent on kidnapping Earthlings, particularly females, for their own nefarious purposes.
Nowadays we expect more. Neutronium bombs and plasma cannons may abound, but science fiction writers are expected to know a bit more about their inner workings. Likewise, nanotechnology, astrobiology, and a plethora of other sciences–real or imagined–are required to give up at least a few of their secrets to satisfy eager readers’ curiosities.
With new scientific discoveries occurring daily, how does one write good science fiction when yesterday’s guesses and extrapolations become today’s new scientific fact, and the actualities of the breakthrough don’t match the imagined realities?
It ain’t easy. I believe the difficulty has led to a proliferation of fantasy-driven speculative fiction genres that don’t have the same dependencies as classic science fiction.
What do you think?