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R. Gary Raham - Published Articles Listing Back | Home
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Find Kindred Spirits
The writing obsession only taps a handful of people, but any given community supports more writers than you might think.  It’s important to seek out other people striving to reach similar g....
Temporal infinities and the Drake Equation
When it would take over 1.5 million years to reach the nearest solar system to our own traveling at the speed of the space shuttle, it’s easy to see why the sheer size of the physical universe s....
Writing short fiction to hone your skills
Although the roots of science fiction extend back to novels like Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764) and especially to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus (1818)....
Science Fiction versus Fantasy: What is for you?
Science fiction and fantasy are often lumped together, but they are distinct genres—although with a certain amount of overlap. What’s the difference between the two, and what should you wr....
What drives your stories?
One of the “raps” against science fiction is that many stories are driven by clever, science-inspired ideas rather than the interrelationships of interesting characters. This certainly hel....
Notes on Character, Part I: The Character Resume
During school visits students often ask me where I get the idea for a particular character, like Neesha in The Deep Time Diaries (Fulcrum, 2000).  I tell them that when I began to hear Neesha&rsq....
Notes on Character, Part II: The Character Debriefing
Let’s say you’ve created a resume for your character (as I discussed in “Notes on Character, Part 1”)—let’s call him Marvin—and Marvin is still giving you a h....
First Born: Classic hard science fiction from Clarke and Baxter
In article 5, “What drives your stories,” I talked about “hard” vs. “soft” science fiction. I recently read “First Born” the concluding book in a Time O....
Women authors of science fiction
Men typically dominated much of early science fiction (although Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus is a notable exception). Many women entered the SF arena beginning in the 196....
SFWA: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
After you successfully sell three short stories, one novel, or one screen play, you will want to join SFWA—a group of professional fantasy and SF writers (and illustrators) founded in 1965. Many....
The Synergy of Science Fact and Exciting Fiction
Fiction writers have to engage fascinating characters in page-turning stories. Science fiction writers must go one or two steps further: weave the latest in technological advances into their tales and....
Science fiction in the classroom
I loved my 11th grade English teacher, Mrs. Limpus, but she had a blind spot when it came to science fiction. She cheerfully resigned most of it to the trashcan and would only tolerate tales with clea....
Science fiction: confrontations with infinity
We tell stories to sooth our minds and explain what we can’t comprehend. If we believe in deities, then the stories become our mythology. Science fiction arose, at least in part, as a form of li....
Story Inspiration
Where do story ideas come from? Under cabbage leaves, like babies? Not quite, but the process is almost that simple. The trick is to keep a small idea notebook on your person at all times for jotting ....
World Building I: Creating a (believable) alien world from scratch
If aliens inhabit your science fiction stories, readers want to believe in them. To do that, a writer must understand enough biology and astrophysics to make her aliens seem plausible. Thus many SF wr....
World Building II: Picking a stable star system
Carbon-based life forms feed on solar energy, using it to (temporarily) counteract the overall entropy of a cooling universe. But life is also a Goldilocks phenomenon that requires steady, dependable ....
World Building III: What makes Earth a special planet?
Planets seem like reasonable places to harbor life forms. Earth treats us well, after all. But planets, even in our own solar system, come in a variety of sizes, compositions, and other attributes. Ju....
World Building IV: Other Worlds and Other Life Forms
While we can agree that Earth provides dandy conditions for primates like ourselves and a host of other creatures large and small, lets stretch our imaginations a bit and take a critical look at other....
 
 
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