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Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been...

Michael Cassutt is a science fiction writer who has written novels and stories, but who also toils away in Hollywood working in television. He has a regular column at SCI FI Weekly called "The Cassutt Files." The July 31 column, titled "You May Be a Sci-Fi Writer," gives a ten-question, 100-point quiz to determine what kind of science fiction writer you are. (The higher you score, the more likely you write "hard" science fiction.) On a whim, I went through the questions, and I was amused to come across this question for #6:

"Are you nostalgic about the Apollo program? 5 points. Add 5 points if you ever seriously considered applying to become an astronaut."

Why am I amused? As anyone who was reading my blog in 2003 knows, back then I applied for the Educator Astronaut program. I made the first cut, and then was grounded due to my eyesight.

So when I came across the question, I couldn't help but smile. I didn't just seriously consider applying to become an astronaut; I actually did it.

Oh, and just for the record, I scored an 80. And according to the quiz, a score of 66 or higher yields the following: "You're a E.E. 'Doc' Smith, Larry Niven, Greg Bear, Vernor Vinge, Charles Stross or Nancy Kress. Ideas come first for you, the stranger or more innovative the better. If you are a television series, you are Max Headroom, Star Trek: Voyager or Enterprise. This sort of storytelling, by the way, used to be known as science fiction, or 'hard' science fiction."

Copyright © Michael Burstein


hee! i came out as a 45, which means i write Speculative Fiction. sure, there's sci/tech, but the point of the story is the characters and whatnot...not the tech itself.

like i needed a quiz to tell me that?! ;)
I think I scored 75, but then, that's not much of a surprise, eh?
Sounds right for you...
Ooooh! 65. Just at the cusp of true hard sci-fi, but with significant attention to character. I'll buy it--I think world-builders have to be on that fine line, because a world has to have internal constency, but IC is nothing without real people to live in it (I build worlds for fun--perhaps that edges me up into 66).

Neat! Thank you.
Oh--and "Max Headroom" is one of my all-time favorite TV shows EVER. EVER. There's a reason my main e-mail account is edisoncarter -at- somenamelessdomain -dot- com.
You're welcome!

"Max Headroom" was an incredible show. Not completely to my taste, but I did enjoy it. (And I'm not quite sure why I'm Voyager or Enterprise...)
Thanks for the link! I got a 45, which gives me:

35 to 65—You could be another Ursula K. Le Guin, Frank Herbert, Kim Stanley Robinson, Connie Willis or Vonda McIntyre. You are aware of science and technology, but given a choice, will try to emphasize character and drama. This sort of story used to be known as speculative fiction. If you are a television series, you might be the original Star Trek, X-Files or the current Battlestar Galactica.

Yep, that's just about right.
You're welcome for the link!
Star Trek: Voyager and Enterprise as hard SF??

I think Cassutt is thinking more what kind of show you might end up writing for...but I honestly don't know. I suppose I can ask him.
I asked Michael what he meant, and he said the following and gave me permission to quote him:

"To the questioner who, well, questioned VOYAGER and ENTERPRISE as hard SF.... good lord, what else are they, if not TV versions of fairly crappy 'idea first' SF stories from the 30s and 40s? They certainly weren't character SF. I didn't say the examples had to be good, did I?   ;)"
I think I'm a 75 too. I figured out at age four that I had too many health issues to make a decent astronaut, and I liked the knowing better, so I directed myself towards the scientific end of space instead. (And until age 21, I was still on the road to pursuing an astrophysics PhD.)

December 2016

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