How to Write Bad Science Fiction

An article on how to write bad science fiction may seem to be at odds with the average writer’s ambition to write a science fiction novel that sells a few million copies before being adapted as a screenplay until you pause to consider that there hasn’t been a decent work of science fiction since the original screenplay for Planet of the Apes! In fact, everything since that time, be it book, short story, play, screenplay, laundry list, or ransom note has been atrociously written but yet billed as “a literary triumph” or some other statement that would result in a prison term if said under oath or in front of a Grand Jury.

Obviously, if you want science fiction that sells you want to write bad science fiction (since that’s what’s selling). To assist you with your slide into literary oblivion, I offer the following suggestions.

1. Forget the plot! Use a beginning and an ending scene that wraps itself around some of the worst writing this side of the Dyslexia Clinic.

Face it, were James Joyce alive today he would be hailed as the greatest thing in science fiction since H. G. Wells (even after Tom Cruise, and his abysmal lack of talent ruined War of the Worlds)! And why would Joyce be such a hot item?

Have you ever tried to read Joyce while you’re sober? The guy’s dialog sounds like something that didn’t make it into the bar scene in Star Wars. At least he came up with the word “Quark.” Other than that he’s a lot like the science fiction writer of today: practically unreadable and very forgettable!

2. Once you’ve disguised your plot as something akin to a monologue at an AA meeting, make sure that anything resembling continuity is erased AND deleted.

This is another area that many writers overlook. The dominate theme in today’s science fiction is post-modernism. And what, you may ask, is post-modernism? When you find out what it is, you should 1) immediately write a long, boning science fiction novel that explains post-modernism and then 2) collect your Nobel Prize in Literature before killing yourself because 3) dead writers invariably sell better than living ones.

3. Make your characters into someone that the typical movie-goer will identify with.

Since the average American movie patron has a problem reading anything except “The End,” this will be easier than you think once you use the following character profiles.

1) Teenage Male Lead: Caucasian male with the overall intellectual capability of a hamster who suddenly uses a plan that he devises (using both quantum physics and nuclear engineering) to destroy whatever you chose to threaten to destroy the Earth.

2) Teenage Female Lead: Caucasian female with a brain size just above that found in the above-mentioned bipedal and quadripedal mammals whose main contribution to the plot can be summed up in three words: “thirty-eight C.”

3) Evil Scientist: Middle-aged or slightly older Caucasian male who is employed by some thinly-disguised caricature of “Big Business” or “Big Oil (except for ConocoPhillips, which has been nationalized by Hugo Chavez to pay for his “war” against other Big Oil companies and should thus be exempt from negative portrayals).

4) The Monster: This is a generic term used to identify the creation of #3, above. The “Monster” should be cast into what was once called an “antihero” role, meaning that the character itself does bad things but does them because it was abused, neglected, or had bad genetics to begin with.

4. Write your science fiction novel using lots of scenes full of gratuitous sex and violence.

This, of course, should probably have been the #1 piece of advice but you would be surprised by the number of writers that think idealism can produce a plot that sells.

5. Plagiarize, but not blatantly.

Do not, under any circumstances, steal a bad idea or an even worse character from someone else. This will be immediately obvious and will result in a lawsuit in which you will lose everything of value in your possession and generate huge amounts of free publicity for the clown you stole from. In order to avoid such complications, make use of the following technique.

Instead of “Godzilla,” create a character called “Goatzilla;” a 200-foot tall goat with radioactive breath who buries Brooklyn under 12 feet of goat droppings after eating the Cross Bronx Expressway.

Obviously, the possibilities are endless.

And perhaps the most important technique when marketing your master work: sell it in either Japan (a country with a long history of science fiction monsters that trash Tokyo) or California (a country wanna-be with a long history of trashing the American intellect).


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