(The American Catholic will observe its tenth anniversary in October. We will be reposting some classic TAC posts of the past. This post is from March 26, 2013.)
My co-blogger Darwin has a good post at his blog, Darwin Catholic, expressing his irritation at three laws proposed by the late science fiction writer Arthur Clarke. Go here to read it. The proposing of laws seems to often go with the territory of being a science fiction writer. Asimov had his laws of robotics, for example. Reading Darwin’s post propelled me into imagining the ten commandments for science fiction writers, and here they are:
1. You are a science fiction writer, and will write only science fiction: no fantasy, no (spit) urban fantasy, no (gag) romance novels disguised as fantasy. This rule is subject to being overruled if you really, really need the cash.
2. You will not bow down to the idols of popular taste or to what will sell in the mass market. Kindle and e-publishing will have your sole worship.
3. You will not take the name of science in vain and have more than three scientific absurdities in each story that you write.
4. All the rest of creation labors for only six days. For science fiction writing wretches remember the words of Heinlein: “Six days shalt thou work and do all thou art able; the seventh the same, and pound on the cable.“
5. Honor your father and your mother as they may well be the ones supporting you as you seek fame and fortune by scribbling endlessly for a living.
6. You shall not murder other science fiction writers who shamelessly steal your ideas. You may think about murdering them however quite a bit.
7. You shall not commit adultery with other literary genres, unless you really, really need the money. See the first commandment.
8. You shall not steal ideas from hack writers. Stealing ideas from good writers is permissible so long as you have plausible deniability.
9. You shall not bear false witness against other writers, even if they have it coming. (Well maybe a little bit, if they really, really have it coming.)
10. You will not covet anything that more successful writers have that you do not. You write only to express yourself and not to gain financial riches! (Everyone can now stop laughing.)