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Editorial – April 2024 : Ruling The Universe.

Hello everyone

I like rule structures, mostly because its what governs science and the universe would fall apart without it. You do certain actions, whether in physics or chemistry, and you know you’ll get the repeatedly the same results. If you know only some of the variables involved, then you can calculate the other ones pretty accurately, too. It gives an understanding of the universe and, although you’re not playing god, it does give a feeling of control of events and consistency. The universe runs by rules. Unlike alchemy, proof beat imaginative invention and don’t forget a lot of the early scientists were also alchemists, trying to turn lead into gold for their paymasters and probably knew it wouldn’t work. The only odd thing is 15 constants or fudges that make reality work and no one has any idea why they do that. Speculatively, it also means although we can formulate the answers we don’t know all about the universe which puts mankind in its place.

As far as we know, the science that rules our lives is the same throughout the universe. There are some anomalies around singularities but we know about them. The universe might have some elements of chaos but its rules give some semblance of order. Something that is always worth repeating. As it falls apart, it tries to do it orderly.

It’s also the basis of Science Fiction. Even if all its readers don’t have a background in science, they will appreciate any of its use within a story. It also means you do appreciate having the rule structure. The oddest thing is how easy we accept faster-than-light travel and even time travel, despite the fact we don’t have any evidence of them existing! Just goes to show the division between real and belief is very marginal which is fine for SF.

One could surmise that is wishful thinking but it’s a belief many, short of those who only like hard Science Fiction, can probably describe better than the actual science laws that already exist. Now that is an unusual quandary, although they are simply explained. Even the most basic law, nothing can be created or destroyed only its form changed, can rarely be quoted, let alone the three laws of gravity, yet all four laws are regularly used in our lives. The fact that many people don’t realise it is even more remarkable, even amongst SF fans.

Of course, a lot of is down to education. Physics uses a lot of maths and a lot of kids don’t initially like maths. Oddly, SF rarely rises above o’level or the equivalent in whichever country you’re reading to a high school grade and even then rarely explains in detail within the story because it can be shown by example. That’s probably why ftl and time travel tends to stick in people’s minds because its shown working. You don’t have to understand why, just enough to know it works for transporting. The biggest problem for ftl is everything happens in the same time frame when, allowing for nominal acceleration and deceleration, generations would have passed from take-off to landing.

Science Fiction is actually slightly misnamed as it is really Applied Science Fiction because it doesn’t spout theory but shows science in practice although I doubt if Technology Fiction or Tech Fiction labels would be taken on now. Who wants to read fiction about theory when seeing it in action is better? Look at how many people know what a computer, black hole, robot, android and cyborg are. Even the term ‘bionic’ is common knowledge now, largely because of ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ and ‘The Bionic Woman’ TV series although it existed before then meaning ‘like life’, even if it is not quite accurate when addressed to artificial limbs. Mind you, the way nerve connections are now being made that might not be far off. Science Fiction certainly made many people more adaptable to our current reality, even though it might be more from film or TV than the written word. Image and moving image shows how visuals leave a stronger image in our heads. An acceptance of SF does give an advantage of adapting to our current reality than those who don’t and us hardcore fans will certainly look harder at the consequences and make better decisions. From the looks of things, my misgivings over the dangers of social media wasn’t totally unfounded. Always allow for business companies for messing it up for money.

Such things need to be reinforced as we move towards the future, Despite all the problems on Earth, Man still has an eye on the cosmos, looking again to put colonies on the Moon and Mars. Better than thinking the world would be over-run by zombies. Even so, Science Fiction needs better reinforcement in the population with ideas for the future.

I suppose we should up the interest in SF even when there aren’t as any books out there pre-covid. Short of an alien first contact, we’re getting closer to the apex of being an SF reality and we need to show we can still go a long way beyond what we have today. Extrapolating from our current reality compared to how much is already out there should be child’s play in our hands.

Thank you, take care, good night and what do they do with the hour taken changing to summer time?

Geoff Willmetts

editor: www.SFCrowsnest.info

A Zen thought: A journey with no destination has no end.

What Qualities Does A Geek Have: Evaluation and survival.

The Reveal: Yeah, I know. They store the hour for the winter months.

Observation: A xenomorph cannot chew its food.

Observation: With the original ‘Captain Scarlet’ TV series, the Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle’s power unit powers the jet pack, so considering that its also a two-man vehicle, doesn’t this make the other Spectrum officer sort of redundant? I mean, the SPV is powerless and he can’t even join in the flight or fight.

Observation: Daleks really do have pals. They’re called extermin-mates.

Observation: Does a Caesar salad had knives sticking out of its back?

Feeling Stressed: So is everyone.

Submissions:-

                        If you think having free books to review isn’t enough, how about reading them months ahead of everyone? I mean real months. Beats a time machine.

I did think that having a lot of text about submitting material to SFCrowsnest would attract those with a compulsion to read and understand things the geek way. The main problem with the Internet is that it tends to encourage less reading, so time to take a different approach. The original notes will be left on July2009 editorial although the links aren’t likely to work.

With your cover email, tell me something about yourself so I don’t work in a vacuum. The boss in the tower, also called Stephen Hunt, describes me as a ‘Dutch Uncle’ in that I’m good with advice and can explain when I see something that is wrong. Egos should be left at the door as I’m only interested in your talent and how to improve it.

Reviews:-

I always have a clarion call for new reviewers and if you have the yen to learn, you’ll quickly get the ropes if you’re never done it before but you must show me a sample, especially if you can follow my guidelines. We can usually get paper-based books in the UK but if you live abroad, then you might have to stick with ebooks. If you’ve picked a book we haven’t reviewed, then it stands a better chance of being used so use the SFC search engine to see first but I need to see how you would write for us.

The obvious qualification is a desire to read regularly and like to tell others about the book without giving away too many spoilers. The benefit is access to free books for the price of a review.

I want to give you the opportunity to get things right so look up the Review Guidelines link: https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/so-you-want-to-write-reviews-for-sfcrowsnest-what-you-need-to-know-by-geoff-willmetts/

Fiction:-

Although we can’t pay for submissions, what we do make up for is exposure. Only the Sci-Fi Channel gets more hits than us so it’s worthwhile getting us on your writer’s CV. Please avoid samplings from book’s you might be writing or have had in print elsewhere as I do check. New original work is best and whether I accept or reject, you will be told of any problems I see so you look your best and a grammar check that is equal to the pro-world. Even the boss finds me scarily accurate.

Flash or One-Page Fiction:-

Speaks for itself. The shortest fiction possible is also the toughest to write as no word must be wasted.

Link here for details: https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/one-page-stories-or-flash-fiction-submissions-instructions-by-gf-willmetts/

Short Stories:-

The definition of a short story is anything up to 30 pages and then it becomes a novella. Bear in mind you want other people to read it on-line, stay somewhere between 5-20 pages. At least digitally, you don’t have to go double-line as HTML will do that automatically but think about being concise. If you want to send an attachment with these, then ask first and send as a TXT file as it removes most tetchy virus codes.

Look up the Short Stories Link by linking here: https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/so-you-really-want-to-write-an-sf-story-an-update-by-gf-willmetts/

Finally:-

The worse problem I see any samples is poor grammar. Although I don’t want you to think I seek perfection, the less work I have to do, the easier it is to focus on other problems you might have. It will also serve you in good stead if you ever approach paper-based publishers because they will send back any bad grammar samples because it’s not worth their time.

Good grammar is the tool of any writer. Don’t just depend on what you remember doing at school. There are plenty of decent grammar books out there, so remind yourself of the rules. If you think there are far too many to remember, get the major ones right before moving to the next so it becomes second nature.

This link, www.sfcrowsnest.info/the-guide-to-better-grammar-from-the-harrowed-hand-of-gf-willmetts/ will show you the common problems.

To submit, use our email address by joining the spaces as shown here: letters @ SFcrowsnest.info and use the subject matter as to what you’re submitting.

If you have any pastimes that can be used to pass the time in captivity, let me know and we’ll see if it can be turned into an article.

Comments directly to reviews should still work as before.

Good luck

Geoff

 

UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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