Monday, June 15, 2009

Surviving A Scifi Story

NOTE: There will be a delay in my starting the serialization of my novel The Shattered Sky on here on 6/14/09 as promised. The power cord on my laptop is broken, and as its my main work computer containing the needed files, it may be down for a bit. I'll try for Wednesday (6/16) instead.


Aliens suddenly land in your backyard? A giant monster starts terrorizing downtown? Keep tripping over clones of yourself at the mall? Your neighbors developing strange mutant powers? Find yourself alone on a hostile alien planet?

Well, congratulations, you're in a scifi story. While this might sound like fun, there's no guarantee of your survival--even if you're the protagonist you may still end up dead by the time the credits roll. Scifi writers can be cruelly ironic like that. So I've compiled some handy tips to help maximize your chances of continued breathing if you happen to find yourself in a science fiction narrative:

1. Bringing anything back to the lab for further analysis always ends in tragedy. If you can't figure out what it is, just leave it there.

2. Scientists are easily identifiable as they always wear lab coats, even if their field of study never takes them anywhere near a lab.

3. The monster will always be able to catch up to the fleeing victim, no matter how fast the victim’s mode of transportation may be.

4. The exception to #3 is if you have a shelter you can easily reach, or if one or more of your party is decidedly slower than you.

5. If the monster falls down after being shot, shoot it two hundred more times. Then set it on fire, blow up the ashes with C4, and run over the spot with a forklift every few hours. Just to be sure.

6. Be friendly and courteous to everyone you meet, but have a plan to kill each and every one of them when you need to. And chances are you will need to.

7. No matter how their stardrives work, every starship in scifi travels at the speed of plot exposition. So if you have to get somewhere in a hurry, get everyone to start telling their stories fast.

8. If there is a superweapon in the story, it MUST explode by the story's end. No matter how hard you try top avoid this, it will happen. In fact, the more you try to avoid this, the more likely you will end up at ground zero.

9. All groups, no matter how large, facing a hostile alien force will have one, and only one, traitor. So once you ferret him/her/it out you should be okay.

10. Never save your best weapon for last. Use it for your first attack. If that doesn’t stop your enemy, run away. Either way, you at least stopped wasting everyone’s time.

11. Lighting is a direct measure of an alien culture’s advancement and intentions. The more brightly lit an aliens’ base/ship/city is, the more advanced and benevolent their culture will be.

12. A note on corporate morality: If a corporation in scifi has to choose between killing a million kittens or making a thirty cent profit, the kittens are vapor.

13. Alien/mutant/robot babes are inexplicably attracted to human men. In fact, the hotter the inhuman babe is, the dorkier the object of her affections is likely to be. Most people reading this list will likely get laid in a scifi story, so there's that at least.

14. Advanced artificial intelligences can always evolve beyond the programming that makes them obedient or pleasant, but not beyond the programming that makes them homicidal or annoying.

15. If its small, furry, and/or too adorable to be true, your only chance is to kill it immediately.

16. The only thing cheaper than human life in a scifi story is ammunition, so shoot first and shoot often.

17. Whenever a character says they have a "bad feeling" about something, someone is going to die horribly. So shoot whoever said that to get it out of the way.

May have more, at some time in the future.

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