by Stanley Schmidt [808.388 Sch]
This is the first volume in a four-volume set put out by Writers Digest Books under the umbrella Science Fiction Writing Series. This entire series is highly recommendable, and you'll probably see the other volumes reviewed here by me in the future. Aliens and Alien Societies features 11 chapters, an extensive bibliography of related source books, and a 7-page glossary of terms that are common to science fiction writing that focuses on believable science. Schmidt is the long-time editor of Analog Science Fiction magazine and has a PhD in physics. He provides scientifically-detailed, yet easy-to-understand explanations about astronomical history, biochemical basics, bioengineering, the logical underpinning of alien societies, creative use of non-human language, and the motivational psychology of non-human species. I really enjoyed the examples he spread throughout the book, from established science fiction authors, of alien species, societies and cultures as found in genre literature of the past 40 years. If you're an aspiring writer of science fiction, whose stories are likely to feature aliens in an alien environment, or humans interacting with aliens, this volume should be required reading. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library
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