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The Ten Commandments of the Science Fiction Writer

Ten Commandments

 

 

My co-blogger Darwin has a good post at his blog, Darwin Catholic, expressing his irritation at three laws proposed by the late science fiction writer Arthur Clarke.  Go here to read it.  The proposing of laws seems to often go with the territory of being a science fiction writer.  Asimov had his laws of robotics, for example.  Reading Darwin’s post propelled me into imagining the ten commandments for science fiction writers, and here they are:

 

 

1.  You are a science fiction writer, and will write only science fiction:  no fantasy, no (spit) urban fantasy, no (gag) romance novels disguised as fantasy.  This rule is subject to being overruled if you really, really need the cash.

2.  You will not bow down to the idols of popular taste or to what will sell in the mass market.  Kindle and e-publishing will have your sole worship.

3.  You will not take the name of science in vain and have more than three scientific absurdities in each story that you write.

4.  All the rest of creation labors for only six days.  For science fiction writing wretches remember the words of Heinlein:  “Six days shalt thou work and do all thou art able; the seventh the same, and pound on the cable.

5.  Honor your father and your mother as they may well be the ones supporting you as you seek fame and fortune by scribbling endlessly for a living.

6.  You shall not murder other science fiction writers who shamelessly steal your ideas.  You may think about murdering them however quite a bit.

7.  You shall not commit adultery with other literary genres, unless you really, really need the money.  See the first commandment.

8.  You shall not steal ideas from hack writers.  Stealing ideas from good writers is permissible so long as you have plausible deniability.

9.  You shall not bear false witness against other writers, even if they have it coming.  (Well maybe a little bit, if they really, really have it coming.)

10. You will not covet anything that more successful writers have that you do not.  You write only to express yourself and not to gain financial riches!  (Everyone can now stop laughing.)

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

4 Comments

  1. Speaking of murdering science fiction writers, did you ever read the two fun “murder at SF convention” novels Bimbos of the Death Sun and Zombies of the Gene Pool, Don?

  2. No Darwin I missed those two. The best parody of a science fiction convention I have read is contained in Heinlein’s Number of the Beast, a dreadful book unless one realizes that Heinlein meant it as a parody of science fiction in general, and his own work in particular.

  3. Donald,

    I know of no other way to contact you, so this is a bit off topic. Have you read Joe Holland’s Modern Catholic Social Teaching? I am through the first chapters and I’ve noticed your interest in history, so I was curious what you thought of it.

    I am trying to brush up on my history of CST (especially pre-Rerum Novarum) to better understand the more contemporary encyclicals, do you know of any other good sources for this?

    I’d also welcome your thoughts, Darwin!

    Thanks!

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