Home > Clement's Game > By Way Of Introduction

By Way Of Introduction


We are both fans of science fiction and fantasy (Rachel more of fantasy, Michael more of sci-fi).  After reading a lot of any genre, the urge to become a critic becomes nearly irresistible.  Fortunately, at least some authors encourage readers to dissect their work.  We’ve taken the title of this blog from an essay by the hard sci-fi author Hal Clement:

“Writing a science fiction story is fun, not work. … The fun, and the material for this article, lies in treating the whole thing as a game. … The rules must be quite simple.  They are; for the reader of a science-fiction story, they consist of finding as many as possible of the author’s statements or implications which conflict with the facts as science currently understands them.  For the author, the rule is to make as few such slips as he possibly can.”  – Hal Clement, “Whirligig World”, Astounding Science Fiction June 1953.

So we will be playing Clement’s Game, taking apart various stories and fictional universes and seeing which parts hold up and which parts just don’t work.  Not all stories play by the same rules as Clement aspired to – high fantasy magic isn’t supposed to match reality.  For those we’ll be looking for internal inconsistencies and plot holes, or conversely where things work out very neatly.
And so that you can all play the game too, please comment on our analyses and commentary, trying to find errors and things that we have missed.  We’ll also be posting science fictions and fantasies of our own inventions, to be held to the same standard.

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