I had this epiphany tonight about an aspect of my writing.
I can't just throw in pseudoscience. I have to rationalize it in my head first. And then I have to explain it somehow within the fic. This isn't particularly apparent in the fic I've written thus far, or rather, it's not particularly apparent in the fic that I've written and posted publicly.
But take my fic Mutability
, for example. I know how the device that turned Rodney into a woman works, in my head. I've rationalized the demolecularization and storage of excess mass that enables him to be smaller as a woman than as a man and tied this in with why the device needs to be keyed to a particular user before it can be activated. I've rationalized in my head what exactly the device is for and how that relates to what it did to Rodney. I've partially rationalized the level of advancement of the device and how it fits in with the timeline of Ancient inventions. See, it's newer than the Stargate technology, since it does things related to what we've seen in other pieces of Ancient technology, only it's a lot smaller.
I haven't rationalized it quite as much as I want to because the whole subject is rather farfetched, but suffice it to say I've put a ridiculous
amount of thought into this. It's, like, compulsive behavior for me. I haven't had the opportunity to write any of this in yet. First Rodney needs to figure out how it works within the context of the story, since he's going to be the one doing all the explaining. There's going to be a bunch of exposition on this in my next chapter that I'm going to try to squish in without boring you all out of your minds.
It's a thing.
The thought of writing technology into a fic without first coming up with at least a somewhat logical explanation of how it works actually hurts my brain
. This doesn't come from any particular need I have to write accurate science. Hell, I love fantasy just as much as I love sci-fi if not more.
Possibly I feel obligated because I can
. SGA is one of the few fandoms where writing semi-plausible pseudoscience doesn't force me to dismiss large chunks of canon. ::cough::Smallville::cough::
SGA is fairly consistent when it comes to physics. Even the theoretical physics isn't totally arbitrary -- clearly someone on the writing staff read The Elegant Universe
or some other "string theory for dummies" publication to help with at least most of the SGA episodes. [Note: We are going to ignore the physics of the stargate itself, since the whole "only discrete units" thing and the "one way except for radio waves" thing is really all SG-1's fault, and their physics is in general much shadier than SGA's. Also, any episodes written by Joe Flanigan.
] They're not talking out of their asses quite as much as I'd expect. I feel kind of obligated to maintain a physics standard within my own stories.
The biology in the show is a little bit iffier. I mean, what did Carson use to make that retrovirus -- ebola? But even that I can sort of rationalize because, okay, he was a government doctor with high security clearance, therefore probably had access to a lot of highly virulent genetically engineered designer viruses. We're not going to talk about the whole "Duet" two minds in one body thing. We're just not.
The anthropology on SGA is MAGICK with a K. End of story.
Most writers can come up with plausible pseudoscience. Only a few will actually feel the need to explain why
it is plausible and tie up every single loose end. Off the top of my head, the only authors in SGA I can think of who do this are astolat
Though really, it's not like the reader cares
99.9% of the time whether or not it is explained. If a random Ancient Device makes Rodney psychic, who really gives a fuck how it works? Hell, I don't give a fuck. I love that fic
. I've read it, like, six times.
I totally have a point.
I started thinking about this because of the contest down at undermistletoe
for guessing which author wrote which fic. Pseudoscience isn't something people usually use when trying to identify writing style. But if, say, one writer were trying to imitate another writer's style in order to confuse and misdirect readers, it's one of the harder things to fake.