Writing science fiction – free tools for the trade


One of the biggest challenges for a writer who wants to write science fiction is to be up-to-date with the most recent developments of real world science, not to mention the constant upgrade of the speculations about the nature of our universe. We all know that a science fiction novel (or whatever format) is not an essay about some peculiar field of science. We also know that without enough scientific (or para-scientific) elements in the story we’re not writing science fiction but some kind of fantasy (that’s not a problem, of course, but we’re talking about sci-fi right now).


Usually, a writer doesn’t have much money to spare, so the source of information should be cost-free. The source should also be reliable, the provided material fact-checked and available in a language accessible to the public. One of the available solutions is to take an MOOC. All right, maybe more than one. Let’s say, take as many courses as you can in your spare time (remember, you should write as well).

Today I would like to point to two different MOOC, selected as follows:

Free of charge;

Self-paced or often available;

From top-notch universities.

What about exoplanets? Super-Earths and related lifeforms are a quite interesting subject and Harvard University is a reliable source for sure. Take a look here and start a self-paced journey of 19 weeks in this course. Your novel will be far more believable after this experience. This is the link.

Astrobiology, anyone? Extraterrestrial life is an all-time favorite and the Edinburgh University set up a 5 weeks course that will get you the right set-up for all the alien races you want to write about (not to mention the related ecosystems!). This is the link.

That’s all for today, go back to your desks and write!



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