Inspirations, Influences, and Resources

Project Rho: A great resource for science-fiction writers; a goldmine of story ideas, sanity checks, and history, even for things I know (or thought I knew) well. In a delightful circularity, some of my fiction has even been used as examples. Also, a shoutout to the affiliated group of geeky friends providing innumerable discussions, analyses, and commentary on points of sci-fi interest.

Space Calc: Another of my websites, dedicated to “[d]oing the math, so you don’t have to”. Contains user-friendly JavaScript calculators implementing useful calculations for writing hard sci-fi. Your requests welcomed. Semi-frequent collaborations and discussions with Tough Sci Fi.

SF Flash Fic: A Google+ community for short sci-fi stories. Some of my stories here derive (or were copied from) stories I originally wrote there, and vice-versa.

Eldraeverse: Slightly-longer microfic sci-fi and a few longer-yet works, of an of-course different universe. Young’s singularity-trope fics are unparalleled, and his penchant for inventing new technobabble is simultaneously creative and flavorful.

Accelerando and The Collapsium: Possibly my favorite books, ever. The first is a hard-ish sci-fi singularity cornucopic fireworks show and it’s free, so go read it right now. The second is a hard sci-fi extrapolation of current known laws of physics, enabling a society built out of hyper-dense materials. Phenomenal worldbuilding.

I’ve read and been influenced by far too many authors to remember or list, but Clarke, Asimov, Stross, Heinlein, and Stephenson are probably my most significant influences. I judge my approach to storytelling to be most like Clarke’s, with some analytic elements of Asimov. I want to be as imaginative as Stross and have the worldbuilding of Stephenson. Instead, I wind up imitating the freewheeling engineering of Heinlein, but with more mad science and less optimism.

Science fiction is often either pure optimism—the belief that technology will solve all problems, and our stories will continue largely unchanged in future settings. Or else, more recently, dystopias constructed from fears of our near or distant future. However, I believe that a middle ground is more likely. While technology will improve and transform our lives, there will be growing pains—sometimes outright catastrophes—and human nature, charitable and murderous, inventive and xenophobic, inspired and despicable, will be the last thing to fade. Mine are stories from this premise: the second-order effects of time and innovation are more-important than the first-. The consequences, the implications. Not all bad, not all good, challenges and delights alike lie ahead.