Five Lessons From Classic Science Fiction Writers

M Pax, author of Precipice, is our guest today sharing about writing Science Fiction…

Here are lessons I keep in mind when creating a new story:

  1. The universe will end in a whisper not a bang. Twist what’s expected on its head. Lesson by Arthur C. Clarke.
  2. Don’t panic. Fun and drama go well together says Douglas Adams
  3. The strange abounds on this planet and inspiration is waiting everywhere. Frank Herbert was inspired by sand dunes in Florence, Oregon. I find Oregon has a lot of inspiration.
  4. Science matters no matter how far-fetched the story. Robert Heinlein always had an interesting mix of bizarre and science in his stories.
  5. Ground the fantastic in the here and now and what’s happening around us. Kurt Vonnegut was great at weaving the fantastic and mundane together.

Ray Bradbury’s pearls of wisdom are everywhere. He was an extremely prolific writer who advised the writer to write a lot. It’s sound advice.

What I learned from all of these gifted writers is, at the heart of science fiction is the exploration of humanity. The stories and examinations are done through elaborate sets and far-out encounters, but at the foundation lays the drama of society and humans.

By facing the unknown, we learn who we truly are and who we aspire to be. Every one of these writers inspired me to imagine and to think, to ponder huge questions and to enjoy the pondering. Their stories still make me think, and I try to stuff some of the wonder they gave me into the stories I write.

Enter the contest below and follow the tour for excerpts from the book

About the Book Precipice by M Pax

In the far future, humanity settles the stars, bioengineering its descendants to survive in a harsh universe. This is the sixth book in the science fiction series, The Backworlds. A space opera adventure.


The Backworlds hang by a Quantum string, a thread about to snap. Annihilation is coming if Craze can’t stop it.

The genocidal alien he had trapped breaks free, destroying a ship belonging to the Backworlds’ oldest enemy, the Fo’wo’s. The murderous alien wants to overtake the galaxy. The Fo’wo’s want another war.

The Backworlds’ best chance to survive is to overcome a century of hate and forge an alliance with the Fo’wo’s. Because of his history with the alien, Craze is recruited to represent his people. Now he’s the most hated man in the galaxy.

The looming war will be a holocaust unless he can stop it, knowing salvation comes at a price.

Boing Boing gives The Backworlds 5 stars! “This is a fun, fast paced novel that reminded me a bit of early Heinlein”.

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About the Author

Author Photo M Pax

M. Pax is author of the space adventure series The Backworlds and the contemporary science fiction series The Rifters, plus other novels and short stories. Fantasy, science fiction, and the weird beckons to her, and she blames Oregon, a source of endless inspiration. She docents at Pine Mountain Observatory in the summers as a star guide, has a cat with a crush on Mr. Spock, and is slightly obsessed with Jane Austen.

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34 Comments

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34 Responses to Five Lessons From Classic Science Fiction Writers

  1. Mai T.

    Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

  2. I didn’t know Frank Herbert was inspired by the Florence sand dunes. They are massive. Or at least they were when I visited in the early 80’s. I’d heard the surrounding grass had claimed quite a few of them.

  3. Excellent lessons to remember. The greats have taught us much! 🙂 Have a terrific weekend!

  4. They taught us a lot.

  5. Thank you so much for hosting me today!

  6. Betty W

    An engrossing premise! I can’t wait to read it! Thank you for sharing and for the contest!

  7. Rita Wray

    Thank you for sharing the lessons.

  8. Maria D.

    Good guest post – I have to admit that I am a huge fan of Frank Herbert’s Dune series but I didn’t know it was inspired by sand dunes…makes sense though. If your book were to be adapted into film – who do dream of playing the part of Craze? Thanks for the giveaway

  9. Darlene

    Thanks, Mary, for some insight on who inspired you. It’s a wonderful talent to be able to pull lessons out of books you read. I get so engrossed in the story I don’t know if I could do that. You are a terrific writer. You learned your lessons well.

  10. Thank you, Darlene. Great work is always inspiring to me, even if not set in the stars.

  11. 99.9 percent of the authors I know grew up loving to read. So thinking about what is “behind the curtain” so to speak- that makes it work & enjoyable is a good way to learn best habits and methods. Thanks for sharing with us Mary Pax. BTW, love your book covers too.

  12. Love these bits of wisdom from the classics!

  13. Trix

    Very cool advice!

  14. Eva Millien

    I enjoyed the posts, thanks for sharing, sounds like a really good book.

  15. Vania

    Thanks for the excerpt, and the little sharing of wisdom. This definitely sounds like a good book

  16. Tempestt

    Thanks for sharing these lessons.

  17. Pingback: Commanding the Enemy & 5 Lessons From Classic Science Fiction Writers | M. Pax

  18. REE DEE

    Thank you for the very informative post!

  19. B Duane Smith

    Having been a fan of all the authors you mentioned it was great seeing that synopsis. Being a fan of Craze, Talos, Lepsi, Meelo, Pauder, Dactyl, Rainly, and the rest of the gang and the inspirational adventures you’ve written has added you to that list! Even more than that though is your friendliness and generosity! I’d never written any of those others but will always appreciate the time you took with THIS fledgling writer! With great respect, thanks for sharing even more.

  20. Nikolina

    Enjoyed reading the post, thank you!

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