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November 9, 2022 Guest Articlesci-fi0

Photo by Lina Kivaka

Science fiction is fantastic, made plausible through the backdrop of science. 

Sci-fi typically deals with themes such as futuristic science, contact with extraterrestrial beings, time travel, alternate universe, etc. Mysteries are usually solved scientifically or with scientific reasons. Familiar characters in a sci-fi novel include aliens, robots, a time traveler, a scientist, and so on.

Murder mysteries have so many moving pieces that have to fit together perfectly. There must be plausible clues, compelling suspects, and a satisfying but unexpected ending. Adding new technologies—like spaceships and time travel—and alien species who may have unusual abilities, science fiction murder mysteries take both genres to a new level.

Many readers like a mystery because life is mysterious, and story-telling exists to help us figure out how to live. Secrets help us figure out how to deal with the unending avalanche of unknowns in our lives (probably not directly, unless you deal with dead bodies a lot).

Some people say that mysteries are famous because people like puzzles. Well, I want a certain kind of mystery, but I’ve never been a puzzle person.

In science fiction especially, the “who has done it” can quickly become a “what has done it.”

Here is the list of the six science fiction murder mysteries everywhere, from the moon and cyberspace to outer space.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells. Murderbot wants to do is watch its favorite shows, keep its humans from killing themselves, and avoid uncomfortable social situations while surveying an unfamiliar planet. That last goal proves tricky because somebody else is out to destroy the survey team, and it’s up to the contracted robotic security guard, Murderbot, to stop them. 

Philip Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? This 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep pins on Rick Deckard. He is a bounty hunter tasked with killing a bunch of androids who have escaped to Earth. Despite the mission’s dangerousness, Deckard needs the bounty money to purchase a real-life animal, the status symbol, and replace his crappy electric sheep.

Leviathans Wake by James S.A. Corey. Humanity has colonized the solar system—the Moon, Mars, the Asteroid Belt, and beyond—however, the stars are still out of reach. Jim Holden is an officer on an ice miner. When he and his crew stumble upon The Scopuli, they find themselves possessing a secret they never wanted.

Kate Mascarenhas’ The Psychology of Time Travel. The world would know three of their names. Four women scientists made the first time travel machine, but when one of them has a nervous breakdown, she’s thrown off the team. Her contributions are lost, and history moves on. Ruby knows her grandmother, Barbara (or Granny Bee), was part of the team, but when Granny Bee receives a newspaper clipping about a murdered woman from the future, Ruby fears it’s her grandmother. She decides to figure out what will happen and how to stop it. The story is told from shifting perspectives, exploring how the possibility of meeting your old and future selves might impact your state of mind.

Richard Morgan’s Altered Carbon. It is hard to solve a murder mystery when humans can switch bodies. Like in a video game, some people can “reset” after being killed. Plot-wise, the book is different from the Netflix series based on it—despite its multi-episode length, the latter has less time for world-building.

 Moon Luck by Wayne Scott Harral. Over the years, more active stations will be located permanently on the moon. Will humans be prepared when the time comes? Harral’s Sci-Fi and mystery book, Moon Luck, is a great read! It is the story of thirty astronauts living on the moon for extended periods. The author generated an engaging story through thoughtful character development, in-depth research, and a creative storyline. Something truly unique to this book is because of its details in advanced technologies and makes some exciting leaps into the future. This is a genre that people would hesitate to read at first glance because of nowhere to be found: settings of the moon, cyberspace to outer space; however, as they read further, it would tickle their interest as it is combined with mysteries that touch on solving a puzzle or a crime. 

 


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October 19, 2022 Guest Article0

The link between a writer and traveling is essential. Going on a trip or exploring the world can do wonders for the person writing the words and their craft.  

 

 

There are many advantages to being a writer. First off, writers take control of their time. Their hours are theirs; they can write away at any time of the day and with how many hours they want. They can work in the comfort of their homes, hide away in a library, or spend hours and hours in a coffee shop. The day, time, and place are theirs to control. 

 

That’s why some writers would take time and effort to escape the city life’s hustle and bustle and find escape and haven out in the country, the mountains, or the sea. This freedom from the writing life provides that luxury of traveling and exploring. 

 

Then again, there are writers whose writing jobs are more demanding, such as news reporters or technical writers. They’re forced to confine strictly to a schedule or a deadline because they’re tied to their clientele’s requirements. 

 

But this type of pressure doesn’t prevent them from seeking a chance to escape into the world of traveling. This constraint only increases their urge to pack their bags and temporarily leave behind stress. 

 

Payoffs of Traveling to a Writer

 

People say the so-called “writer’s block” motivates writers to seek a different place to write or relax. Besides good vocabulary skills, writers are often required to have a good imagination and a wide range of exposure or experience. 

 

To these writers, traveling is one way to develop these character traits that would help them become better at their craft. Read on to find out other benefits writers seek when traveling. 

 

Seek Inspiration for New Ideas

When everything becomes all too much, that’s when writers face a block – writer’s block. Writer’s block is a situation in which the writer cannot come up with anything to write about or does not know how to proceed with writing. This is a good enough reason for writers to travel. 

 

Traveling provides opportunities for exposure to new sceneries, languages, and cultures, meeting new people, and even reconnecting with old acquaintances. A quick getaway can refresh the mind, yield inspired ideas, and motivate the writer to grab that pen (or laptop) and start writing again. 

 

Physical and Mental Health Fitness

Another benefit writers gain from traveling is the health aspect it brings them. Because of the nature of their work (and once inspiration sparked), writers are often confined to their desks for endless hours because of that limitless flow of creative juice. Most of them aren’t aware, but if not recognized at the earliest instance, some common health problems they’ll encounter include eye disorders, headaches, musculoskeletal disorders, stress, depression, and so on. 

 

The quickest remedy? Get out and seek new places to spend time. A nature hike into the wilderness would solve those muscle stiffness problems. An hour of sitting by the beach side and staring out into the ocean will refresh and reboot the mind – a good mental health exercise. Spending the whole day in the dewy, green countryside can do wonders for eyes and headaches. 

 

Authenticity in Writing

 Some writers travel for the learning experience, to gain knowledge, or for research purposes. So that their work will be legitimate and authentic, they go to meet people, visit places, or immerse in an experience that is the subject of their work. A plus benefit? They get to learn new languages and have the opportunity to expand their vocabulary. 

 

“Me” Time

Just like any other profession, writers also need that “me” time for themselves. Traveling is a chance for that much-needed time to relax and do anything besides work. It is a time to reboot a person’s system, get in touch with their wants and needs, and enjoy the time away doing the things they love. 

 

Call it a time to unplug and unwind, to relieve the brain from stress. After all, writers are humans too. 

 

Becoming a Travel Writer

 Some people travel to become travel writers or to have a travel blog. This interest may have stemmed from their existing love of visiting places, going on trips, exploring adventures, etc. 

 

Becoming a travel writer means having no boss! You’re in a career that you’re passionate about and doing something you highly love and are motivated. 

 

Author Wayne Scott Harral is a writer that has seen the world. With an extensive traveling experience to more than 40 countries, this writer’s journey proved to be an eye-opener and gave him the inspiration and the creativity to write his book, Moon Luck. 

 

So if you’re a writer and need a mind-refresher and reboot, pack up those bags, go out, travel, and see the world!


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July 23, 2022 Guest Article0

The moon, one of our most appreciated celestial bodies, has been a part of our imagination and longing for more outside our world.

The mystery of the moon, planets, and space provides people with the wonder and excitement that fuels them to learn more about this subject. Generally, people love exploring the immense possibilities regarding their existence and those around them. And to partly satisfy this desire, people create stories and fiction focusing on exploring the boundaries of their imaginations. For instance, the book “Moon Luck” by Wayne Scott Harral, a Story of astronauts living on the Moon, presents the possibility of moon habitation, one of the many fascinating and spellbinding ideas people love to investigate.

Every time people gaze at the depths of the night sky, they imagine something beyond compare. They are fascinated by its illumination, taking as a centerpiece among the stars that shine in deep darkness. But what are the reasons for our fascination with the moon?

The Moon Illuminates a Time of Heightened Emotions and Potent Creativity

The moon’s arrival seems like an avenue for poets and writers to use as a muse for their poems and writings. It influences them to compose poetry, novels, nursery rhymes, and other folklore about it. Fiction writers are also fascinated with this majestic heavenly body. There is a long tradition of this fascination that has turned it into literary art.

The mystery, commanding power, energy, intuition, and presence of the moon have captivated their curiosity about this celestial body. People are fascinated by the moon for this simple reason: they see themselves in its image. Like the moon, they have mysteries in their bodies they don’t know about. The energy they give to other people by befriending or connecting with them is the same as the moon. The moon gives them the same energy by providing light and illuminating people with its poetry and life every night.

The moon is the only sole universal body that can be seen from the earth without needing the assistance of a telescope. It is the closest heavenly body to planet earth.

One of the fascinating things about the moon is its nearness and vividness to earth. With a distance of 238,900 miles from Earth, it’s the closest celestial body to it. Hence, it’s the most noticeable from the enduring crowd of heavenly bodies at night.

Also, the Moons Control Fertility

Many early civilizations believed that the moon determined when women could become pregnant. This could explain why female moon deities from the Chinese goddess Change to Mama Quilla of the Incas are so prominent worldwide in mythologies. According to some theories proposed, full moons cause an uptick in births, flooding maternity wards with mothers-to-be in labor. However, recent studies and most experts think otherwise and state that any lunar effect on procreation is imagined.

There is a Connection to Divine Creation and Wisdom with This Cosmic Sensation

The moon may be virginal and sterile, but it seems its own birth was highly dramatic. Creationism refers to creation myths or an unrelated concept about the soul’s origin. It is also a religious belief that nature and its aspects, such as the universe, earth, life, and humans, originated with supernatural acts of divine creation. In this respect, celestial bodies like the moon have often been linked to creationism.

It is a fact that people have always been fascinated by the moon. The deep lunar connections and powers between humans and the moon have existed since the beginning of time. This wondrous, white, pearly object we admire in the night sky impacts the world in more ways than one.

Whatever the fascination, the moon and its effect on humans is still somewhat mastery that needs to be explored, entangled, and solved for future generations to come. So now, all people can do is admire the moon from afar, write about it or make folktales about its origin and meaning for existence.

Why the Moon Means to People

The moon is always related to the human mind. It seems like the moon and man are part of something bigger. Maybe the universe, perhaps? We still don’t know. Man’s understanding of his environment is still limited, and these things need further investigation. How much the moon means to them is not entirely determined, and the compelling part is that there are a lot of endeavors trying to explain it. These efforts are growing every now and then, striving to fulfill the human’s thirst to make sense of his environment and all of what he sees and considers. The vital thing to know is that the fundamental knowledge humans have in the world will stand the test of time, and only time will tell what will happen in human efforts to explain his position in this brief but unforgettable time he has in the universe.


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June 20, 2022 sci-fiTips0

Have you ever noticed how some of the most science fiction novels that make it out to the mainstream are typically those that seem very realistic?

These novels are commonly grounded on reliable scientific concepts that make their audience ponder the “what-ifs.” What if these events become true? Or, what if this is already happening without us knowing. Some of the key factors in a science fiction ground the story in reality, making it believable and understandable.

This is one of the many charms of science fiction. Its possible realism makes people reflect on themselves and their relationship with the world. It helps them make sense of their mistakes and explore and see fault in their behavior concerning the issues experienced by the world. For instance, in movies about eco-catastrophes, people may reflect on how their behavior and habits can affect the world and bring possible consequences. If not for its entertainment value, this is perhaps one of the reasons why realism should be highly considered in novels.

Why do people enjoy watching science fiction, even if they include catastrophic and scary themes?

The concept of realism focuses on creating an illusion of reality in your media. If a novel, for instance, is labeled as realistic, its concepts should have a clear reflection and association with the real world. If this makes sense, people want to experience the excitement or catastrophe science fiction has to offer without actually experiencing it. And realism in the media puts the audience into this world that the author (or director for movies) has created, which makes it so popular.

It’s been solidified that somehow people can be so curious about morbid events. Humans, as curious beings, like placing themselves in other people’s shoes, especially if this involves rather tragic circumstances. This instinct can be associated with people convincing themselves that they would never end up in these situations. If they do, they can protect themselves and survive. This unusual fact can explain why most people remain so invested in horror movies, despite being easily scared and even paranoid afterward.

This inclination has been programmed in them since time immemorial. This can be explained at the anatomical and psychological levels by how their brain functions. Being scared is reflected in the brain the same way as excitement is. This means that if people are faced with scary events, their brains can mistake it for excitement, which is why they mostly continue to anticipate or look for a stimulus that induces this emotion.

This implies that one of the ways to make a science fiction novel catch people’s interest is by making it realistic and with a theme that can stir people’s emotions. And as an aspiring writer, who aims to write great and gripping science fiction novels, you need to find ways to improve your writing skills. Here’s how you can do it.

Utilize existing or highly debated creatures and technology

There is a reason why most dinosaur and alien movies never fail to catch people’s attention. For instance, dinosaurs have been known to exist a long time ago, and how they behaved is something people are generally curious about. On the other hand, aliens are the center of the debate about their existence. Therefore, writing about them can create debate and discussion, which can help boost your book’s publicity.

This is what Harral’s sci-fi and mystery book offer. While Moon Luck doesn’t have aliens or highly dangerous predators in it, this novel tackles the curious case of moon travel. Whether or not humans can survive days on the moon has consistently been something that scientists and citizens alike have pondered the possibility of. This is why movies about this concept can quickly become blockbusters in today’s society. 

Study physics and science

Just because you’re writing science fiction – with capital fiction – it doesn’t mean you can write whatever your heart and mind want. You still need to bank it on some realistic components if you want your events to seem plausible. With this, learning is still required. But this doesn’t mean you need a degree and fluency in the language of science. This only entails that you should have done ample research before you write anything involving science. For your novel to be believable, it needs to have any sense of reliability and validity.

Consider building your world around existing ones

While there’s something very unsettling about the dystopian world, creating your sci-fi world on something closely similar to the current society is even more dramatic. This does for your audience only amplifies the realism, adding even more possibility to your narrative. Perhaps in making this, you’re adding more dread to your story with the heightened plausibility of whatever catastrophe you place your characters into.

When it comes to writing science fiction, the sky’s your limit. The world becomes rather liberating, and you can devise whatever mechanism to help make your world as exciting as you’d like it to be. Realism isn’t necessary, but it does impact your story. What’s great about writing science fiction is that anyone can be a master of it with a bit of planning and wit.


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April 13, 2022 Guest Article0

Science fiction has drastically changed over the decades. Much of this has to do with humankind’s technological advancements, which leads to multiple discoveries, doubts, and questions about the earth and the universe beyond it.

The genre of science fiction explores the different possibilities that center on the curiosities of the human mind. It reflects how people constantly change and challenge their perceptions of science and technology. Some of the most common themes in this genre aim to answer or make its audience ponder whether other intelligent forms exist outside the earth or if life can exist beyond it?

Science fiction thrives in debates – the divided sides people take regarding the questions of the unknown. But as the world progresses, many of these queries have begun to be proven truth or fallacy. How can science fiction grow as a genre when the curiosities it aims to satisfy are answered? Or will these advancements ultimately mean the extinction of science fiction?

The Subtle Alteration

Most of what people are curious about unknown territories in the world mostly revolve around whether life can survive on other plants or flourish on the moon. This is why most science fiction media are directed toward space travel or experiments to answer those questions. However, as this genre is generally aimed at continuous progression, perhaps it’s about time writers focus on the proceeding “what-ifs,” assuming that answers to these questions have been reached. For instance, instead of focusing on the voyage toward the moon, maybe it’s about high-time that science fiction takes people’s imaginations into how life would be like if people did stand a chance of living on the moon or other planets.

Sure, at this point, there’s still a lot of ongoing research and tests to prove if that’s possible or not, and it’s still an utterly unfeasible experience. But isn’t this also the primary goal of science fiction? To ignite people’s imagination and challenge the existing limits of modern technology? Besides, fiction is fiction. The more closely impossible it is, the more people can discuss it and the more traction it might receive.

Take, for example, Moon Luck by Harral. This book isn’t a narration of traveling toward the moon. Instead, it’s already showing its readers how life would flourish on the moon, following its author Scott Harral’s perception – what kind of machinery would help people live, what routines would they be doing there. And Harral depicts it not like how people would imagine it to be. There are no houses or malls like how it is on earth. Though the book isn’t about any normal life and is, in fact, a thriller, it still gives its readers a glimpse of how life can be on the moon.

Taking It from the Other’s Perspective

Mainstream media has ample content revolving around aliens, whether it be thrillers or actions about an alien invasion or the comedies about these creatures trying to blend in with humankind. But what writers haven’t explored much about are alien invasions from the aliens’ perspectives. People have seen and read about how humans were to react if aliens landed on the earth. But how about the aliens? How would they respond to the difference in appearance or their planets?

A Contrast to the Politics

Most of what people see in science fiction regarding the discussion of politics leans toward the negative end of its spectrum – military empires, feudalism, a government so unprincipled that it triggers a revolution amongst its people. But these are the overused type of politics in media that it’s become a familiar and expected trend – bad governance equals the need to revolt. How about taking this idea and putting it in reverse?

How will people react to highly decorous and conventional governance? Perhaps, one so good that it brings in new sets of politics and morality that it instead pushes its citizens to rebel or dissent against their goody authorities? How will people react and take advantage of it when given so much freedom and goodness?

Realistically, How will the World be Years from Now?

There’s almost always an exaggeration when it comes to the future in science fiction. When media talks about the future, there’s always the existence of flying cars or a broken-down society. But let’s face it, a couple of years from now, there might not be much of a difference nor any grandiose advancements in technology to how it is now. And perhaps it’s an exciting idea to explore that realistic side of the future. Rather than making everything excessively advanced, why not do something small and create conflict from that. This way, it will spark the most realism in the audience, giving them a sense of dread with the high possibility of it happening.

For as long as there are existing technological and scientific breakthroughs, science fiction won’t cease to exist. The only thing writers need to do isn’t think of entirely new topics to tackle. Instead, tweak existing ones. This is how science fiction can continue to be a place of discussion and debate about the world’s endless possibilities.


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March 23, 2022 Guest Article0

Throughout history until now, poets have admired the moon’s beauty. Looking at it for hours, they would not tire from cherishing and appreciating its beauty. Years later, scientific and technological advancements showed that its surface had a desolate beauty.

The Lunar Missions

The Lunar Mission or the Moon Mission started in the late 1950s when the Soviet Union was ahead of the United States of America in space explorations. Therefore in 1961, US President John F. Kennedy gave inspiration and hope to the American people; he affirmed the landing of man on the moon and his safe return to the Earth before the end of the decade.

The US accomplished this goal eight years later by sending Edwin Aldrin and Neil Armstrong on the moon. The first step was risky and complex. However, many steps followed naturally after the first step, including many exploratory missions to study the moon’s surface and the universe.

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong touched the lunar surface and said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” His mission included collecting samples of the moon’s surface for further studies. Little was known that they would be the base for building buildings one day.

How Mankind Lives on the Moon

Life on the moon would be more disparate for explorers than life on Earth. From its lack of air to lighter gravity, the moon is a harsh mistress, just like the late sci-fi author Robert Heinlein claimed. The moon has no weather, no atmosphere, and oceans of water. Its surface is in an eternal nihility. Astronauts in pairs have lived on its surface only up to three days at a time in the small Lunar Module of the Apollo program. 

Only twelve humans (the crews of Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17) have ever walked on the moon’s surface. Apollo astronauts had to tread carefully or risk stumbling or falling because the moon’s gravity is only one-sixth of Earth’s gravity. They ultimately perfected bunny hops and a bouncing gait to walk along the lunar surface.

The sci-fi novel entitled Moon Luck by Wayne Scott Harral conveyed that one or more active stations will be permanently located on the moon in the coming decades. And another will inevitably take a human life while people live in these moon colonies. Harral’s glimpse into the near future as we inhabit the Moon leads one to question if humans will ever be prepared for the first time it happens.

What NASA Planners Foresee 

NASA feels that traveling to the moon could help humans evaluate the mystery behind this vast universe. They believe that valuable resources on the moon can also be used for other space missions. Liquid oxygen is a significant component of the fuel needed for current space travel and other future missions. Also, the moon mission will lead scientists to the human-crewed mission to Mars by 2030. 

Some experts also perpetuate that suborbital tourism will take off, and over one thousand people will be reaching space by 2020. Such a tourist spot would cost millions or billions, possible only for the super-rich people. Further, it will be followed by mining on the moon to use its resources.

The tremendous speed with which pollution and population increase has forced humans to look for other planets to live on. But when one looks at the ground reality, they still cannot imagine living in a place which would be deserted, with hardly any people and vegetation around. One thinks about how it would be with having to move with oxygen masks all the time. Compared to Earth’s lush and lively life, going on a vacation for a few days to the moon seems like a good adventure. However, planning to reside there seems rather tricky, at least now.

Upshots

The time may come when leaving Earth becomes necessary for the survival of the human race. American ex-president George W. Bush had this in mind when he proposed in 2004 that people should return to the moon and this time to stay. Lunar outposts have created a considerable amount of debate. Some argue that robots can perform the necessary tasks on the moon, and people do not need to inhabit its surface. While the logistics of inhabiting the moon are not yet worked out, the settlement will become imperative for the survival of humanity.

Moreover, humans have been sharpening their space abilities so that when one decides to return to the moon, it will be to stay. 

 


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July 31, 2021 Guest ArticleTips2

A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Science Fiction

Science fiction is one of the most enduring genre of all time—wherein other genres are slowly fizzling out, sci-fi flourishes to the top of the genre chain. Its popularity lies in its use as a tool to interpret the world around us and investigate areas of our life that are too complex, too implicit, too subtle to discuss due to the limitations of realistic fiction.


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