Writer’s Life: How to Explain a Fictional Technology or Superpower

Posted by Nicky Drayden on Apr 23, 2010 in Writer's Life

So speaking of world building, Basic Instructions has this tidbit of advice about how to explain a fictional technology or superpower.

There’s definitely a balance to it: too little and you’ll leave your readers confused or distracted from the story. Too much, and they’ll be digging through a tech manual for plot and characters. Though I do admit, world building is fun to get lost in, especially when you’re trying to procrastinate on writing your actual novel. But it’s important to remember that not every piece of world building needs to end up in the book. In fiction, like in life, there is such a thing as TMI.

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Review #5: Let Us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs by Leonard Richardson

Posted by Nicky Drayden on Jan 13, 2010 in Reviews

Author Website:  http://www.crummy.com/
Published by:  Strange Horizons, July 13, 2009

The Story:

Racism rears its ugly head early in this piece when Tark, a Red Bull guzzling dinosaur from Mars, is denied the right to bare arms by a bigoted gun shop owner. Sure he’s already got three-inch claws, so what does he need a gun for, right? But that’s not the point. Tark’s got big dreams and is looking to branch out from his current career as a motocross driver — like starring in his own action movie. He’ll be the next Vin Diesel, except with feathers and an appetite for man flesh.

Tark’s pretty sure the Man is out to get him after watching one of his motocross comrades spin out on a three-story tall monster truck that’s obviously been sabotaged. Someone out there means to do dinosaurs in. Maybe those dino-hating birdwatchers, whose organization has split into factions over whether dinosaurs are birds or lizards. Tark’s friend Entippa thinks Tark has gone off the deep end, but just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you.

The Craft:

Dinosaurs. Guns. Motocross. What more could you ask for in a story? Despite being ridiculously hilarious, the story really makes you care about the characters’ plights. We all know what it’s like to be stuck in a dead end job with dreams of reaching for the stars. Tark’s no different from the rest of us. So when he and Entippa are tranquilized and captured and pitted against each other in the death sport of Dino Fights, the reader feels for the gravity of their bad situation.

Fortunately for Tark, his Red Bull habit counteracts the effects of the tranquilizers and he gets to be the action hero he’s always wanted to be. Unfortunately, his decisions land him in court facing charges of murder and (arguably) cannibalism. Hijinks ensue.

This story has more than a few laugh out loud moments, and is a truly enjoyable read. It’s constantly in motion, pleasantly absurd, and yet the plot itself remains solid and connected to the wonderfully weird rules of this world.

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