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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Magic Thursday: the bio-neural transwarp conduit is failing!

Welcome to Magic Thursday!

Let's talk about something that's dear to the heart of anyone who's ever written (or read, or watched) paranormal or sci-fi.

I'm talking about technobabble. (Or magicbabble, as the case may be.) The stuff we use to create the illusion that we know what we're talking about. That the things we're writing about are real.

I'm not a smart person, said Aaron Sorkin, creator of The West Wing and famous for his intelligent, whip-smart dialogue; I just phonetically recreate the sound of smart people talking.

And that's exactly what we spec-fic writers do. We create a simalcrum of a world we've never been to. A very convincing one, extrapolated from reality, but an illusion just the same. And it's up to us how much of that reality we want to include.

Me? I'm all for screw reality, let's have spaceships! Check out this Star Trek Failure Generator. Awesome. Reverse the polarity of the auxiliary holoframe capacitor, Mr Data. That should fix the problem. Make it so.

Certain death, Star Trek style
When I say I write sci-fi, some people expect it to be all… scientific. You know. The boring stuff, like starship physics, or how the raygun works or whatever.

Nuh uh. Not this little redshirt. I do confess to a certain Sheldon-esque geekery. My head is full of useless facts. I know, as my husband likes to say, Stuff about Things. I can do maths, even. And I was in the Air Force. I never got to say 'make it so', but I can spout air traffic control babble and macho military-speak all day.

But you guys—spec fic romance readers—don't care too much about FTL physics or the ins and outs of quantum cryptography. You just want the illusion. The story, with sci-fi wallpaper. And preferably some hot guys.

Enter DRAGONFLY, my new romantic sci-fi novel. Adventure, intrigue and sexy romance. Secret agents! Rebels! Interstellar mayhem! Hot guys! What more could you ask for?

I love this story, and I was so proud that it received an ARRA nomination for Favourite Sci-fi/Fantasy Romance. Just awesome.

It's published by the good folks at Momentum Books, and currently available for the bargain price of $1.99, so check it out!


Carrie Thatcher is a tough Imperial counter-terrorism agent. Her mission: pose as a sexy cyber-thief to entrap the notorious rebel Dragonfly, who’s planning a heist on the space station Casa de Esperanza; a orbital casino on the fringe of Imperial space.

And this assignment’s personal: Dragonfly murdered her closest friend, and she’s in no mood to show him mercy. Even getting stuck with the partner from hell—Malachite, her sociopathic ex-lover and the Empire’s most dangerous agent—can’t dampen her relish for the kill.

With Carrie’s expert weapons skills and penchant for cracking codes, insinuating herself into Dragonfly’s confidence should be easy. But is he the ruthless killer she was led to believe? Or has her precious Empire deceived her? With Malachite watching her every move, the slightest flinch in loyalty means death.

Carrie is soon racing to uncover an audacious treachery that will shock the Empire to its core … if she can stay alive for long enough to expose it.


You can read the free sample here.
And do come chat with me on Twitter, or drop by my Facebook page. Would love to see you!

So are you a fan of technobabble? Or do you prefer hard science? Or no science at all, and magic instead?

6 comments:

  1. I much prefer technobabble. If I want to understand how things work I'll pick up a text book. My focus is on the story, hopefully with a romance. The only thing I want to know about the engines is that they're working - preferably without a sickly green glow.

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  2. Green tech usually seems to mean 'bad guys', for some reason...

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  3. I've read stuff that's based on real science and stuff that's technobabble. Usually the ones being scientifically factual are hard for me to follow but still entertaining. Personally I don't want to weigh my writing down with too much tech unless the character is meant to be an expert - I can use a smart phone but can't tell you how it works, so most of my characters are the same.

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  4. I enjoy both, though sometimes wading through the real stuff distracts me from the story. I have to be in the right mood for it. Skillfully written technobabble is a thing of beauty! And something I can't do because my brain doesn't work that way.

    Thanks so much for the price tip too! Dragonfly caught my attention in the Galaxy Awards and this is too good a price to pass up.

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  5. So long as any actual science is correct, making up your own technobabble is fine :) Basic things that are wrong grate a bit!

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  6. I'm in both camps - I don't mind learning how things work (though I prefer film and tv for that) but I like technobabble as well. Hence why I love space opera more than science fiction.

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