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How To Craft Believable Settings In Science Fiction?

john mickel
How To Craft Believable Settings In Science Fiction?

Science fiction – a genre that has been captivating our imaginations with its alien worlds, futuristic cities, and the vast expanse of the cosmos. It has the ability to create realistic settings and transport us into these fantastic landscapes.

But have you ever wondered how authors such as Brad Nelsen create settings that are so believable and provide an immersive experience?

Let’s find out!

Creating a Universe

First and foremost, in your journey as a science fiction writer, you need to understand the universe you're creating. Ask yourself:

How does it operate?

What are its physical laws?

If it's different from our world, why and how?

You can learn from, say, Frank Herbert’s Dune, where the desert planet Arrakis has its own unique ecosystem, complete with giant sandworms. Through this ecosystem, everything is impacted – the culture and lifestyle of its inhabitants, which further makes the setting feel real and lived-in.

In Brad Nelsen’s “Injustice: A Crater Novel,” we are welcomed to a dystopian universe where Crater is a notorious and high-security prison. The descriptions of how it operates, its laws, and its uniqueness all make it a great example to learn from.

Building Culture and Society

All civilizations develop their own cultures, norms, and societal structures. Your universe needs to reflect these elements as they shape your characters’ behavior and the world around them.

Ursula K. Le Guin's “The Left Hand of Darkness" takes us to planet Gethen, which has an androgynous population. This significantly affects Gethen’s social interactions and societal structure.

Brad Nelsen’s “Injustice: A Crater Novel,” Crater is the most feared prison in all the Civilized Worlds. Housing millions of the most notorious criminals, it segregates inmates based on their crimes, from master thieves to monstrous offenders. The prison Utilizes advanced technology and boasts impenetrable security, with no record of successful escapes. These characteristics deeply impact Crater’s social interactions and societal structure as well.

Consistent Sensory Details

You have to engage your reader's senses. Go into depth with the details. Describe the smell of the alien flora, the sound of the spaceship hum, and the feel of the foreign soil underfoot. Sensory details are what help you make your world feel tangible and real.

Now that you have added depth to your plots, you have to remember that consistency is key. Even if your world operates on different laws, these laws must be consistent to maintain believability.

For instance, if you establish that teleportation requires massive energy in one chapter, you have to remain consistent with that detail. You can’t go back on them, having characters teleporting haphazardly in the next chapter without any explanation.

All in All

Creating believable settings in science fiction is a craft that requires a balance of imagination and logical consistency. Authors such as Brad Nelsen succeed in constructing worlds that are alien yet somehow familiar, fantastic yet believable.

If you are interested in learning more about how Believable Settings in Science Fiction are created, “Injustice: A Crater Novel,” by Brad Nelsen, is a must-read for you.

Grab your copy today!

john mickel
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