“A must-have for every science-fiction writer. Edward M. Lerner has produced the best-ever guide to putting the science in science fiction, and he's done it with clarity, wit, and panache. A terrific book — I'm recommending it to all my colleagues, and to all those who hope someday to be professional SF writers.”— Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Quantum Night
“I am entertained and enlightened.”—Larry Niven, author of Ringworld
“A great source book for SF writers.”—Bud Sparhawk, author of Distant Seas
“This is a book which covers a huge number of topics well and provides great scientific and science fictional stimulation.”—Dave Truesdale, Tangent Online
"Worth your time, your money, and your consideration, whether you're interested in accessible science, looking to understand trends in science fiction, or—optimally—both." — Trevor Quachri, editor of Analog Science Fiction and Fact (excerpted from his guest foreword to the book)
Men have walked on the Moon. Siri and Alexa manage—at least often enough to be helpful—to make sense of the things we say. Biologists have decoded DNA, and doctors have begun to tailor treatments to suit our individual genetic make-ups. In short: science and tech happen.
But faster-than-light travel? Time travel? Telepathy? A six million dollar—as adjusted, of course, for inflation—man? Starfaring aliens? Super-intelligent computers? Those, surely, are mere fodder for storytelling. Or wild extrapolations. Just so many “sci fi” tropes.
Sometimes, yes. But not necessarily.
In Trope-ing the Light Fantastic, physicist, computer engineer, science popularizer, and award-winning science-fiction author Edward M. Lerner entertainingly examines these and many other SF tropes. The science behind the fiction.
Each chapter, along with its eminently accessible scientific discussion, surveys science-fiction—foundational and modern, in short and long written form, on TV and the big screen—that illustrates a particular trope. The good, the bad, and occasionally the cringe-worthy. All imparted with wit (and ample references to learn more).
So forget what the Wizard of Oz advised. Let’s pull back the curtain…
Trope-ing the Light Fantastic: The Science Behind the Fiction
Edward M. Lerner