Thursday, January 03, 2008

How to Write Science Fiction by Matthew J Costello

How to Write Science Fiction by Matthew J Costello is too slender to promise much in the way of writing advice and the edition I have is at least15 years old so the marketing and publishing information is also more than a bit dated. Also, the title would be more appropriately “How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy” because Costello spends as much time writing about fantasy as he does pure science fiction. All in all, given the lack of space which ensures a rather limited breadth, Costello does provide enough relevant and useful information to make this an adequate book to read. Although I am not one to write either science fiction or fantasy, I found the sections on world creating and character development to be interesting. After all, an apartment in Manhattan may not need to be described to someone who grew up in New York City but how many people reading a story will have that same contextual experience on which to draw. In other words, even a novel taking place in a contemporary and realistic setting, requires a certain level of attention. I would assume that the more recently published editions won’t include advice that is dated or resources that don’t exist. Even so, I can’t say that this would be a “must have” book even for those who are focused on writing within the ever popular genre of science fiction. Good but not great. Are there better books out there which focus on genre writing? Possibly. Obviously, if I happen to stumble into one, I’ll mention it here eventually.

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