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How about those sci-fi novels?
Posted By: Julia Houston, on host
Date: Monday, February 19, 2007, at 14:47:35

I absolutely love the The Fantasy Novelist's Exam -, but let's not forget those sci-fi books!

The Exam - Sci Fi Style
1. Do your characters escape via a convenient hatch to the surface?
2. Does the tallest, baddest guy also have the biggest, baddest gun?
3. Do you even try to explain hyperspace?
4. Are your characters threatened by an anomaly?
5. Do the aliens have a dohickey that brings people back to life, but only 1) for a while 2) if they haven't been dead too long?
6. Is the smartest character also the youngest?
7. Is a bajillion dollars' worth of super-advanced technology defeated by sheer guts and a hail of bullets?
8. Is future Earth covered in really cool gadgets, none of which can do anything about the horrible pollution?
9. Is the only female character completely useless?
10. Do the seemingly friendly aliens have a hidden agenda?
11. Does the main character have a really cool alien pet that's like a cat or dog except smarter and with more legs?
12. Is there an "X" in your title?
13. Can you replace everything the scientist on the team says with "blah blah blah" without lowering the novel's intelligence level?
14. Does everything get resolved with a big explosion?
15. Do your characters have this really cool gizmo that would save the day if only something completely arbitrary weren't keeping it from working?
16. Do the aliens worship a "god" who's really just a computer or a natural phenomenon?
17. Have monkeys evolved?
18. Is your big twist at the end that the "alien planet" is really Earth?
19. Is your big twist at the end that the "humans" are aliens?
20. Is your big twist at the end that "what's happened" is a virtual reality/dream/future that has been prevented?
21. If you replaced your ray guns with rifles, your spaceship with a car, and the hot alien chick with some dumb girl, would it be Smokey and the Bandit?
22. Do people eat "food cubes"?
23. Did WWIII cause all the survivors to don black leather?
24. Is anyone saved because of skills they honed playing video games?
25. Does the gun-slinging babe wear high heels and a catsuit?
26. Is there an alien race that prizes honor above all else for no particular reason?
27. Are you Michael Crichton?
28. Is there any virtual sex?
29. Is your main character's name Dex or Mitch or Slade?
30. Is your novel 700 pages long without a single humorous moment?
31. Does your novel go more than three pages without a made-up technology word?
32. Do you have a character who uses technology to jack up their reflexes even though this technology totally screws up their body?
33. Have dolphins evolved?
34. Is the entire point of your novel to promote some '60s sentiment about peace, love, or understanding?
35. Is the entire point of your novel to tell us that drugs are bad?
36. Is the entire point of your novel to preach something about slavery and equal rights that doesn't make any sense because the white guys still save everybody else?
37. Could your novel conceivably be made into a movie starring Tom Cruise?
38. Does your main character have a spaceship that goes faster than everybody else's spaceship?
39. Is the most precious and expensive commodity of your future world beef or trees?
40. Is the galaxy at war?
41. Does your novel have a bunch of alien planet names that all end in "ia"?
42. Is there a prison planet anywhere?
43. Have cockroaches evolved?
44. Does the central crisis of your novel involve some really important technology that the whole planet relies on but everyone has forgotten how to fix?
45. Do your characters eat and drink stuff that's just like what we eat and drink but with different names?
46. Do people measure things sometimes with kilometers and sometimes with miles?
47. Do you have any idea how gravity actually works?
48. At any time, does a man-eating plant appear?
49. Does anyone, for any reason, have two heads or three breasts?
50. Does Kirk come back to life?
51. Do your characters visit a single village on an alien world and conclude that the entire planet is just like that one village?
52. Does some ferocious alien creature threaten all of Earth only to be destroyed with saltwater?
53. Does your main villain get defeated but survive in an escape pod so there can be sequels?
54. Have computers evolved?
55. Do people make contracts with each other instead of getting married?
56. Do your soldiers of the future have these really cool personal energy shields that protect them from blasters and bombs but not a well-thrown rock?
57. If technology in your novel has progressed to the point that little boxes can make whatever people want, all knowledge is readily available through a galaxy-wide network, and people can buy sex in a can, do you explain why anyone bothers to get off their sofa anymore?
58. Do you have some super-wise alien character who can't form correct sentences?
59. Do your human characters find some advanced alien technology and figure out how to use it in five minutes?
60. Can they jury-rig it to work with human technology in ten minutes?
61. Do all the aliens speak English?
62. Do all the aliens speak their own language, but this is okay because you have this translation device that translates languages it's never encountered before?
63. Does the whole thing read like you wrote it while completely stoned?
64. Is there a colony or the moon or Mars that's staging a revolution?
65. Has your plot device been seen before not only on Star Trek, but also Stargate: SG-1, Andromeda, and The Twilight Zone?
66. Would anybody notice or object if you changed the name of your alien race to "Nazis" or "televangelists"?
67. How about "boogey-men"?
68. Is it 500 years in the future, and someone says, "Hey, don't you just love this song by Depeche Mode?"
69. Is it 500 years in the future, and someone says, "Whachu talkin' 'bout, Willis?" or "Chill out, dude?"
70. Is it 500 years in the future, and the army still hasn't figured out a better way to ID people than dog tags?
71. Are there any lizard-men?
72. Have the man-eating plants evolved?
73. Does someone stay awake for a week with stims and coffee?
74. Does any computer or android just wake up one morning and decide to defy its programming?
75. Do you even know what "science-fiction" is?

Link: Sci Fi X-ile

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