The Science of What If by Archer Miller – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Archer Miller will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Science of What If?

Even if fantasy is not counted, science fiction is split into a number of fragmented sub-genres. At least one list had 48 separate sub-genres under the heading science fiction. Something I believe they should all have in common is, of course, science.

Holding on to some reasonable contact with actual science creates a feeling of plausibility for the reader that make the suspension of disbelief easier to maintain. Doing this, however, places a burden on the writer to do his (or her) homework. You must start by asking questions such as: Is faster than light travel a possibility? Are their Earth-like planets out there somewhere? What is a black hole? Are there parallel universes? And so on. Then you must find the answers.

Two of my favorite writers were exceptionally good at this. Robert Heinlein asked questions like: Is it possible for man to live forever? What would it be like to settle a new planet? What is the basic nature of man? How can we overcome our limitations? These became central themes to much of his work.

Anne McCaffrey wrote a 22 book series after asking the question: Are dragons possible and how? She also asked how would a human society, under extreme duress, reorganize itself after being cut off form its past and its technology.

Douglas Adams simply asked: What is the answer to life, the universe and everything? Which we now all know is 42. He also postulated that in an infinite universe anything is possible.

These and other “what ifs” are the jumping off points to great fiction. But it isn’t enough simply to ask the question. As writers we must find a possibility where the answers also exits. Like Heinlein I like to ask what is next for mankind. When and where will be take the next evolutionary step and what are the possibilities. The answer MUST be based on actual science in order to get the reader to buy in.

This is the quality that drives my good friend and writing partner, Skip Miller, up the wall. Every time he presents me with an idea for what he calls a simple little story, I start picking it apart and asking those irritating questions. It isn’t that I dislike his ideas. It’s simply my job to ask.

So next time you find yourself stuck for a great idea for a story start asking yourself questions that start with “what if…”

Humanity has spread to the far reaches of space with The Golden Door, a planetary colonization monopoly, selling off every desirable and not so desirable planet to desperate settlers.

Each new world comes with new challenges, and to meet that challenge the children are evolving.

When Pieter, and other gifted children like him, become the target of government research they must fight not only for their lives but the future of their kind.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Pieter’s eyes opened, but it was an exercise in futility. There was nothing but darkness for him to see. He knew he was awake because of the lancing pain running down his back and across his chest; the cover on his head was stifling and smelled of sweat and blood. He was upright in some sort of chair but he was unable to move. The back of the chair was straight and hard, and he was bound to it with his arms pinned behind his back. He struggled to breathe. His chest was stretched as his shoulders pressed into the chair behind him. A cry of pain rose in his throat, but he clamped his mouth tight to hold it prisoner.

As he gasped for air and strained to ease the pain in his chest and back, a voice from beyond the pain alerted him to another presence.

“Suka is awake.”

“Good. I want this suka blyad to remember this.”

With no way of knowing or seeing its approach a hand struck his face, slamming the back of his head against the hard chair. He could stop the scream, but not the tears that rained from his eyes.

“Little boy want to play,” the voice taunted him.

Something hard crashed into his stomach, forcing the air from his lungs. He tried to breathe, but was unable. What do they want from me?

A second fist slammed into the side of his face, whipping his head to the right.

“Don’t kill him,” the first voice warned.

“I won’t. But he’ll wish I had.”

About the Author:Archer Miller emerged from the East Texas hill country and set his sights on finding the life of which few of his contemporaries dreamed. In 1974, he migrated to Boulder, Colorado to enroll at the Naropa Institute – now known as the Naropa University, a tiny Liberal Arts college founded by the renowned Tibetan Buddhist scholar and lineage holder, the Ven. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (1940-1987). Rinpoche was enormously influential in spreading the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism to the West.

Archer earned a degree in herbs and creative writing. He was a four-year Letterman on the Varsity Competitive Meditation Team.

After graduating in 1978, he took a year off to hike the Jack Kerouac literary trail. He became a top freelance gun-for-hire with dozens of ad agencies across the south and southwest. As a way to deal with the proliferation of Disco, he took up Zen Archery.

Buy the book at Smashwords or Amazon.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Lisa Brown says:

    congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win

  3. I agree with you. Some of the best science fiction I’ve ever read has begun by asking a question and then attempting to answer it as creatively as possible.

  4. kim hansen says:

    Enjoyed the excerpt.

  5. Happy Friday! Thanks for sharing your post I enjoyed reading it, have a great weekend 🙂

  6. Gwendolyn Jordan says:

    Sounds great

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