If all stories were written like science fiction stories

If all stories were written like science fiction stories:

    Roger and Ann needed to meet Sergey in San Francisco.

    ``Should we take a train, or a steamship, or a plane?'' asked Ann.

    ``Trains are too slow, and the trip by steamship around South America would take months,'' replied Roger. ``We'll take a plane.''

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19 Responses:

  1. greatbiggary says:

    LOL! Dammit! It stopped before they got to the recreational exchanging of love fluids! I want my portable dollar token back.

  2. ctd says:

    The photons from my computing machine's liquid crystal display passed into my optic sensors at close to 3x10^8 meters per second. When the patterns held on the display by electrical charge were decoded by my wetware as memes, I exhaled in a series of staccato bursts, with such intensity that I nearly fell out of my seating device.

  3. granting says:

    I can tell it is fiction because it uses the metric system in the U.S.

  4. The only difference between fiction and non-fiction?
    Non-fiction has to make sense.

  5. primroseport says:

    This is hilarious. Thanks! By the way, not sure if you've ever seen this (I lose track of how I found links on the 'net)


    • primroseport says:

      Squid on the Mantelpiece
      Chekhov said that if there are dueling pistols over the mantelpiece in the first act, they should be fired in the third. In other words, a plot element should be deployed in a timely fashion and with proper dramatic emphasis. However, in SF plotting the MacGuffins are often so overwhelming that they cause conventional plot structures to collapse. It's hard to properly dramatize, say, the domestic effects of Dad's bank overdraft when a giant writhing kraken is levelling the city. This mismatch between the conventional dramatic proprieties and SF's extreme, grotesque, or visionary thematics is known as the "squid on the mantelpiece."

      White Room Syndrome
      A clear and common sign of the failure of the author's imagination, most often seen at the beginning of a story, before the setting, background, or characters have gelled. "She awoke in a white room." The 'white room' is a featureless set for which details have yet to be invented -- a failure of invention by the author. The character 'wakes' in order to begin a fresh train of thought -- again, just like the author. This 'white room' opening is generally followed by much earnest pondering of circumstances and useless exposition; all of which can be cut, painlessly.

      • greatbiggary says:

        These could be used to create a comprehensive online database of SF titles wherein each of these trappings is voted upon per work (0=never uses it, 10=can't seem to write without it). Then you could rank what most annoys you, and it would spit back a list ordered by annoyance level. Then you could just avoid anything below a certain tolerance.

        I wonder if this would exclude some good works that manage to shine through obvious flaws, or those that chain certain flaws together to create a unpredicted masterpiece.

  6. lproven says:

    So this person doesn't actually read SF, but once glanced through some pulp stories from the 1930s, right?

    • omnifarious says:

      Or, they glanced through The Right to Read which (though it is an important document worth reading) is written in a similarly clunky style. :-)

    • jwz says:

      I read a lot of SF, and I see a lot of truth in this.

      • thesliver says:

        You mean a lot of bad SF.

        Though there's a tendency in all action fiction to get into long discourses about technology, Spy and Thriller fiction suffers from the same kind of problems unless its of the very best.

        Since I'm trying to write a popular science book of the future I'm also trying to avoid all these constructions.

      • xenogram says:

        Ditto, and this kind of "classic" sci-fi continues in short story form till at least the 60s.

        This plane idea could be an amusing game to play with drunk people in the kitchen at parties. One person gets to name a plot twist for the plane trip, and another classifies it by author. Mile-high club → Heinlein, sort of thing.

  7. stonemonkey says:

    For some reason this reminded me of "Pattern Recognition". Except there was no discussion of clothing...

  8. xenogram says:

    For "visionary" sci-fi, forget the plot before they land in San Francisco and start describing the epiphany Roger has while staring at clouds.

    Alternatively, they can spend the entire flight trying to warn the crew about the loose engine before the plane crashes into a nuclear power plant causing a nuclear winter and the extinction of humanity. Finish by describing mutant rats chipping rocks into hand-axes.

  9. martling says:

    I've occasionally thought there's potential for present-day stories written in an SF style, to highlight to people how far we've already progressed towards/beyond previous visions of the future.

    But that's just really, really bad.

  10. krfsm says:

    Never mind all the rest of the stuff, hasn't the author heard of the Panama Canal? "Steamship around South America" forsooth!