It’s a bright and sunny day, excellent for a constitutional stroll, but Your Humble Author has been noodling around on Twitter, aka the Devil’s Workshop.
Back in the halcyon Leaden Age of SF, mad scientists explained things at length and nobody got into their spaceship without an extensive tour of the engine room. Monsieur Verne has a lot to answer for.
Recently, the Melancholic Juvenile Canine Insurgencies campaigned for the Hugo ballot and raised the alarm about the Literati who have invaded the Fortress of Real Science Fiction and subjected us all to a merciless reign of metaphor, simile, thematic complexity, and actual characterization.
Alas, the train has left the station, the boat has been missed [insert transport metaphor of your choice]
To satisfy the repressed desire for Real SF, I am proposing a counter-raid onto the home territory of Literatania, the Realist Short Story. So here it is:
The Not Really SF Short Story Challenge: Write a short story, everyday setting, but in the style of leaden age ‘hard SF’. PROVIDE ALL THE CIRCUIT DIAGRAMS.
Rules (Basic Set)
- No character is permitted to interact with any technology without explaining it in exhaustive detail. Clarification: This includes the toaster, electric kettle, HVAC, plumbing, cell/mobile phones. Don’t forget titanium dioxide in the toothpaste, dyestuffs in clothes, air traffic control (for plane passing overhead), alien biology (cats, hamsters etc).
- Keep it to standard short story length, or at least under 10K words.
- Have fun.
Rules (Advanced Set)
- The story may NOT be explicitly about technology. (Per Kari Sperring’s comments on original Twitter thread, treat mathematics as Naughty Bits.)
- You must choose a theme/story typical of realist literary fiction. Historical setting is OK, but other rules still obtain.
If you take the challenge, link below.