Editorial – September 2022: With free speech should come great responsibility.

September 4, 2022 | By | Reply More

Hello everyone,

You do have to wonder what is taught at educational facilities when so many crackpot solutions come up for the likes global warming to…well anything environmental really. Most of them are impractical and mostly ignorant of real science. Writing Science Fiction means an understanding of practical science before we introduce even a slight fudge to ensure it might work. Even so, SF writers are careful about addressing mankind’s current problems with the likes of global warming and even covid simply because it would be unlikely it would apply in real life. Yes, SF has the reputation for doing post-apocalypse stories but not too closely to the problems that caused it, let alone the attempts to stop it.

I doubt should that ever happen, other than the likelihood of mankind going back to an agricultural state or squabbling over few resources that any of SF’s examples would really copy than fictional counter-part, simply because there are too many variables involved. There’s always the hope that mankind or at least the scientists will dig (sic) us out of the hole we’ve put ourselves in. The problem is we’ve seen this catastrophe building for decades so we should expect an equally long time to resolve it.

In many respects, we are really at the start of global warming. The worse effects haven’t completed yet. The melting of the polar regions will raise sea levels across the world so if you live in coastal regions you do face flooding. The current situation in Pakistan from heavy rain should give a taste of what could happen world-wide from global flooding. It won’t happen all at once but get some warning to move out. When global warming gets that bad, it’ll take decades to reduce carbon dioxide in the hope we can reverse things. Too late then to have a semblance of normal life again. It also won’t matter if we’re first or third world. Global warming does not choose the countries it will affect.

If the high temperature doesn’t fry everyone, then avoiding the floods or hurricanes certainly will. The human race will be all about surviving and regretting not doing enough earlier. Hardly the fodder for fiction in any of its forms. Reality will be scary enough.

If anything, it will be the lack of or not using technology that might reduce the carbon footprint. Mankind moving back into a less technology-based society is hardly going to work, based purely on our dependence on it today and we might well need all those surveillance satellites to do much of the monitoring. Purely from a medical situation, such as my own insulin-independence, means a lot of fatalities and survivors not knowing enough basic science to survive for long.

This is largely why when you read crackpot ideas, you do have to wonder what kind of people we would leave behind. My reviewer Pauline Morgan told me about one she read and criticised in her native city about people moving to the Antarctica after the ice melted. Forgetting just how much land would be above water, there is clearly a lack of top soil there which would make agriculture and the ability to feed people impractical. This is largely why such things are described as ‘crackpot’, simply because ideas are simply not thought through far enough. With Science Fiction, when we tweak reality and look at the consequences, we have to consider good and bad points and how they should be resolved on a global scale.

Of course, there is still a bit of cheating involved. Moving a story into a future where current problems have been resolved being the most used. Even so, hard Science Fiction, dependent on the science rules we all know means such problems have to be tackled but rarely does when it comes to our current problems, mostly because the most sensible advice scientists currently are offering is being ignored or delayed by world leaders. Do you think the nature is prepared to wait for actions to save it will take effect? What we have seen this year is really only the start an likely to get worse not better.

Take the Amazon rain forests. Its understandable that Brazilians sees it real estate to be turned into farming when its real need is to stabilise the world climate and its water basin. It would make more sense for the rest of the world to pay the Brazilians to maintain and return it to its former state than let them take it apart as quickly as they are doing. It’s a practical solution that makes more sense and addresses their needs. In other parts of the world, the preservation of wild animals than hunting them has done better even if it has made them a tourist attraction. Mankind really has to work together to solve these problems than countries going their own way. I mean, what can be worse than a world-wide disaster? Unlike corvid, it’s going to take decades to sort out as there is no quick cure.

This doesn’t mean Science Fiction can’t address such problems but it needs an essence of truth of how people react and remembering its harder to find realistic solutions. The last thing we need is for SF to show itself full of crackpot ideas.

Thank you, take care, good night and stay healthy.

Geoff Willmetts

editor: www.SFCrowsnest.info

A Zen thought: Life is.

What Qualities Does A Geek Have: Never being described as crackpot.

The Reveal: For those who have wondered what happened to the SFC daily newsletter, Google has withdrawn that service. The weekly one still exists so if you haven’t enrolled yet on that one, that’s the one to go for.

The Reveal: With the rapid rise in the price of electricity in October 2022 in the UK, no one has given any thought as to the fate or cost of electric cars.

Observation: In ‘Thunderbirds’, we never see Scott Tracy’s portable mobile control equipment compressed for transportation.

Observation: FTL. Considering we’ve had two powerful space telescopes and neither have spotted anything travelling really fast tells its own story. If something was using a FTL drive coming towards us all you would see is a spot of light coming towards us and a recordable red light shift. The same would also apply if the FTL was moving away from us, only the red shift would be deeper. The amount of energy being used would be enormous. You couldn’t help but notice it even without the telescopes. Webb isn’t using standard light and would definitely spot it.

Observation: You can tell the world is going crazy when it can outdo BBC TV comedy series ‘Mock The Week’ enough for them to give up.

Observation: There is a problem with the stilsuit from Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’ books and assorted films and TV series. It must be like walking around in a sauna suit. It might gather all the moisture but it also doesn’t get rid of the heat although the pipe distribution has been said to cool down the person inside but I doubt by much.

Feeling Stressed: So is everyone. Showing you can cope at least a little to others might give some reassurance.


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.


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/


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/


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



Category: Culture

About the Author ()

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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