Bob Shaw (1931 – 1996) was a science fiction writer who is known for his highly imaginative and evocative stories full of creative worlds and subjects, and for his proactive role within the science fiction world with fan publications and conventions.
His works have won many awards and he has an extensive collection of published fiction and non-fiction. When he wrote How to Write he had written four short story collections and twenty two novels, with his books translated into fourteen languages. He has twice one the Hugo Award (prestigious awards given annually to the best works of science fiction or fantasy achievements of the previous year.)
His is an impressive resume, and he brings his wealth of experience and literary knowledge to the apprentice writer in this book. He assumes the reader has a grasp of grammar and syntax and already knows the basics of good story telling. This book is not for novice writers – it is for writers who want to write good science fiction. And in this task, it is eloquently and simply written in a clear but witty style.
It covers the basics of science fiction such as plotting and characterization (both treated somewhat differently in science fiction stories as the narrative depends on concepts and imagery heavily, while characters are often less complex without wandering into two dimensions,) world building and technological concepts, and the fundamentals of pursuing a career in science fiction novels or short stories.
This is an enjoyable read, as Shaw’s famous wit comes into play frequently throughout the book. He also shows an affinity for reminding the reader of his achievements and his excellence as a writer with a strong pride that borders on narcissistic arrogance.
An excellent book for any writer – amateur, novice or even accomplished – to read from one of the Masters of Science Fiction and get clear and direct suggestions and instructions for creating successful science fiction stories.
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