Examining a flying saucer

Transcending Fiction with Actual Science

I read recently where using actual science in your science fiction can give a story more plausibility. I didn’t set out to write traditional science fiction, but I have in fact used established science as the basis for some decidedly otherworldly concepts in my speculative fantasy fiction series featuring aliens.

I have research known as googling to thank for that, as I’m no scientist. But beginning with Alienable Rights, I weave actual factual elements of physics such as gravity, as well as genetics, auditory engineering, plus electromagnetic energy, into my tale of human hybrids and aliens among us on present-day Earth.

The key is to do this without having your reader’s eyes roll back in their heads.

Sometimes having scientific concepts explained to her makes my protagonist Rowan Layne’s head spin. Yet enabling Rowan to understand information aliens impart about their technology and physiology is my challenge as a writer. Because I need to have a basic grasp of what I’m writing about to begin with. And I learn just enough to let my imagination run wild.

For instance, I understand the minimal basics about the anatomy of the human inner ear, as in the labyrinth and the cochlea, to determine how it is that Rowan possesses supernatural hearing. Throw in some alien DNA-derived abilities, and you’ve got a human-hybrid sassy woman who can hear aliens from afar. Science on steroids.

But in reality, even if Rowan Layne’s abilities are seen as paranormal, they are in fact found in nature. My Other Worldly novels address this. How Rowan’s hearing is akin to the extraordinary capabilities of moths (as in Luna moths!), bats, dogs, and cats. In the upcoming sixth book, Altogether Alien, the auditory abilities of dolphins and whales take front and center, along with their mode of communication.

Oh, and lately I’ve been learning about wormholes and vortexes in space too, as in astrophysics. Whew. Talk about mind-bending, but then actual physics often is. Did you know it is possible for a paper airplane to fly through a wall? I didn’t make that up. It’s true. It’s physics.

In Alien Sensation launched this past June, I addressed a favorite science of mine, geology, including gemology and geomorphology (water moving through rock), but I also took on the challenge of addressing minerals able to produce an electrical reaction, as in piezoelectric.

Piezoelectricity is created by applying a charge, physical stress, or heat. That physical stress can also be induced by squeezing, so I somehow wove that into a sexually charged conversation about hot rocks between Rowan and a sizzling Labyrinthian from Mars with purple eyes the color of amethysts, or maybe alexandrite (as first discussed in Aliens Abound). In any event he’s an extra-hottie extraterrestrial who is even more hot flash inducing to write about. I get heart palpitations just thinking of him.

Long science-based story short, I used the actual concepts of piezoelectricity, triboluminescence (the ability to create light under pressure), and laser technology to come up with some spectacular red diamonds on Planet Mars. It seemed more plausible than creating rocks that have magical properties simply because they hail from outer space.

Also in Alien Sensation, I used actual facts and some scientific conjecture about the exoplanet Proxima Centauri b when Rowan Layne travels there with one of her Red Orbiter lovers, a species that originates from Jupiter, which they call Cumulus (my books have a little cloud and weather-related science sprinkled throughout as well).

The female leader of Proxima Centauri b talks about how it’s subject to stellar wind pressures more than two thousand times those on Earth from solar wind (true). Through literary license, I determine that PCb is conveniently protected from radiation by its geological resources (fictional healing crystals).

I also include how Proxima Centauri b has a strong magnetic field like Jupiter, such that solar flares released by Proxima Centauri are not the hazard they could otherwise be.

Because it’s quite true that Proxima Centauri b is an exoplanet that orbits the habitable zone of the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, which really does give off punishing solar flares. It’s also true that Jupiter has a powerful magnetic field, which does in fact protect Earth from stuff like asteroids careening through space. I mention this in several of the Other Worldly novels, and it isn’t a coincidence that Red Orbiters hailing from there also have electromagnetic energy-derived capabilities. Boy howdy do they ever.

I also talk about tidal docking of Earth’s moon and other planets, and how planetary temps must be suitable for liquid water, and how geological crystals are created using steam and other forms of water, but I won’t go into those technicalities herein (lest your eyes roll back in your head).

Suffice to say, water is required for actual living things, and that’s a hard science with harsh realities we need to start heeding here on Earth. Environmental science features heavily in my novels for a reason, as in humans really need to do better at not doing what they often accuse aliens of in movies—the systematic destruction of Earth and its ecosystems.

We really can’t expect aliens swooping about Earth in flying saucers exhibiting physics-defying (as we know it) feats of speed (as seen by actual military aviators and captured on videotape) to save us from the folly of our own foibles.

Maybe science makes fictional tales better because it’s actually stranger than fiction. And that’s the most mind-bending discovery of all. I’m going to go research lava tubes created by volcano eruptions now. Do you think they could be hidden pathways to outer space here on Earth?

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