Facts in Fiction
Welcome to another exciting tour with Novel Publicity. Today we have a guest post with the author! In this guest post, our author Ed Kurst lets us know his take on how to build a great novel using facts within fiction.
From Author Ed Kurst: I have an engineering degree so you might think I’m stickler for everything being perfect. I don’t think that is the case, but apparently everyone else does!
Well, maybe not. My copy-editor definitely knows I’m sloppy and imprecise. I think, in the dark of night, while trying to see black print beneath her redlining, she might even whisper the word, ‘stupid’. But I digress.
In fiction writing, the characters have to evoke a strong image or emotion and the dialogue has to be natural. For some genres the plot is more important, in some the description of the surroundings and interactions of the characters.
One thing that underlays all fiction genres in my opinion are good facts. If the facts in fiction are not believable then they cast shade on the other important components. For example, if in a detective novel, the main character pulled out his .38 snub nose revolver and downed a stealth bomber approaching New York City at seventy thousand feet, you’d go, “Hey, what the hell?” and toss that book in the trash no matter how good the rest of it was.
This same principle applies to science fiction, though you’ve got more leeway. But even science fiction “facts” have to have some grounding in reality. They also need to be consistent and understandable.
So, we’re finally at the reason for this little article. I’m an engineer, I like to research subjects and I try really hard to make the non-fiction part of my science fiction accurate. I also try to have some actual scientific basis from which the science fiction is extrapolated. Let me give some examples.
I have a foot thick stack of books and a plethora of reports and articles on quantum physics and accelerators. There are even a few scientists trying to rigorously prove the more science fiction concept of sub-Planck or sub-quantum space. I’m not saying I understand all this stuff, just enough to extrapolate it to a semi-rational endpoint. Admittedly, my “rational” was only good enough for two mainstream quantum physicists to listen, harrumph, and then politely decline to be further involved.
I read book after book on Pliocene climate around the world, Homosapiens migration patterns, and Neanderthals. I would have read this stuff whether I was writing a book or not just because it interested me.
I do shoot handguns myself, interviewed a qualified marksman, and calculated the ballistics for the long range shots in this book.
Movies notoriously depict elevators dropping, well, at the drop of the hat. Given all of today’s safety mechanisms, it is actually really hard to do that, or do it and survive at the same time.
There is a really nifty report written in 1996 by the Los Alamos National Laboratory summarizing the subsurface geological effects of all the underground nuclear testing that has ever been done. Well, it’s a nifty report for an engineer to read, and it came in handy.
I could go on, but, I suspect this may be getting tedious by now. So let me simply summarize.
I think getting the facts correct in fiction are important to support the framework of the fun fiction stuff. And, when it comes to the science fiction, similar groundwork has to be done or both the reader and the author will go astray.
About the Book
John Preston set aside the easy bullet that would end his certain lingering death. He now Knew too much. His mind had just returned from a wild ride tens of thousands of years into the past where he witnessed three primitive humans divining a path to save humankind from a global fiery catastrophe. What John now Knew might cure him but could also require he shred the very fabric of time and space.
John’s quest for answers will thrust him into the lead role to confront the Consortium, a cabal of eight families with the power to Know the future and the past. Guided by John’s latent Know ability and a 70,000 year old prophecy, he sets out on a path for his own salvation. Success will mean life, failure…a cruel doom for all humankind.
Preservation is the first book in the Know Trilogy which wraps a new theory of space-time, humankind’s evolution, millennia old conspiracies, and imminent global destruction around a broken man’s redemption, an evil man’s reckoning and a driven woman’s unique destiny.
About the Author
Ed Kurst’s life as a child was a nostalgic bit of Americana, with two married parents, one sibling, and a pet beagle. They didn’t even lock their cars. The only thing missing was the proverbial white picket fence, but their neighbor did build a split rail one from seasoned logs.
As a kid, Ed frequented a neighborhood library, accessed by a spiral staircase to the second floor of an old brick building. It was a wondrous place to a curious child. Hardback novels were stacked from floor to ceiling and nestled in every nook and cranny of the library’s dusty shelves. Tolkien, Lovecraft, and Asimov were his first and favorite fantasy and science fiction authors. In between reading these classics, he devoured every book about dinosaurs and astrophysics his young mind could comprehend.
These early literary influences eventually led him to study a pre-med, engineering curriculum with a special focus on the psychology and physiology of the human brain. Eager to get out in the real world, and not spend six more years in school, he decided to pursue the engineering side of his interests. He didn’t completely abandon his calling for medicine. But getting an EMT qualification and occasionally riding an ambulance at night seemed to satisfy that urge.
Ed Kurst’s engineering vocation led him to live and work in five European countries and several places in the United States. During the last decade of a varied career, he settled in the US Gulf Coast and specialized in leading diverse technical teams to implement new technology and develop mega engineering projects. Once retired, he turned his attention to other pursuits.
One fateful month, about eight years ago, he was reading all he could about the CERN particle accelerator, the migration of homo sapiens out of Africa, the demise of the Neanderthals, and epigenetics. He also was reacquainting himself with his favorite fantasy and science fiction authors. Voilà, The Know trilogy was born! The first book—The Know: Preservation—is due for publication in 2016. The second—The Know: Evolution—is in draft form and scheduled for 2017. The last in the series—The Know: Salvation—should follow in 2018. And, another novel—The Fae—is in progress as well. It’s packed full of strange and wonderful fantasy creatures that live and love and scheme right under our very noses!
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