When I tell people I write but don’t read science fiction, they either think I’m lying, stupid or insane. The fact is, reading is to me synonymous with work, and while I enjoy doing what I do for a living, as a task, reading isn’t one of those things I enjoy.
So when I read science fiction and come across mention of rocket ships, or talk of clunky robots with tubular arms in the 23rd century I just switch off, because without authenticity or an attempt to explain why such incongruities or implausibilities should be believed, my ability to suspend disbelief is, quite frankly, severely impaired.
While I’m not looking for validation or vindication, it’s always helpful to know others agree with me, to help formulate a sturdy defence — a defence, ironically enough, coming from another science fiction writer:
“I work with a lot of scientists and one of the frustrating things they find is that all this fascinating stuff is being done which doesn’t find its way into science fiction. They say look at the science fact pages – they’re so much more imaginative than science fiction.”
Just like the science colleagues of Geoff Ryman suggest, I read huge amounts of science fact, and that’s the only fuel I need power my own person “What if?” engine.