Bolts of Inspiration

A small aside in “Such Stuff as Dreams” made me think of one little thing that always annoys me in spec fic. It’s when an author wants their protagonist to make some important scientific discovery, but they don’t really understand how discovery works.

You might think this is a sci-fi problem, but I often see it even more blatantly in fantasy about pre-modern societies. In sci-fi the science is often a bit silly (and a bit of silliness can be on-brand and forgivable!) But there’s at least an intuitive understanding in sci-fi that doing science involves having a laboratory and trying some experiments or something, and that there needs to be some build-up and explanation, because it’s something that we in the modern real world won’t understand until the characters do.

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