43 must-visit sci-fi websites for writers

43 must-visit sci-fi websites for writers

The imagining of possible worlds is the staple of science fiction. Here are 43 must-visit sci-fi websites for writers:

Informative and research sites

  • There’s a handy science fiction and fantasy resource guide by SuperSummary here
  • Cornell University’s science fiction and fantasy research guide is a useful list of encyclopedias and guides for SF writers and researchers. Reference works such as the Encyclopedia of Fictional and Fantastic Languages and the Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction are listed along with ISBN and other information, making it easy to find and order or borrow the book you need.
  • Rotten Tomatoes’ list of the 100 best science fiction TV series of all time provides plenty to watch for storytelling inspiration.
  • The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction is a free resource providing an A-Z of popular SF tropes and themes, from aliens to zeppelins. Browsing this guide will give you a broad overview of possible subjects and inspirations for your own novels.
  • Bruce Sterling’s entry on SF for the Encyclopedia Brittanica gives an insightful chronology of major developments in sci-fi writing.
  • Scifan – ‘books and links for the science fiction fan’ – offers one of the biggest databases of science fiction and fantasy writers. Over 10 000 authors’ published books are cataloged, and each entry provides links for purchasing the book online. Useful if you need to get a little context or background for your own SF novel.
  • Slice of Sci-fi is a blog providing the latest news on the genre. TV and film news is included alongside interviews with SF writers and links to podcasts for writers and readers of the genre.
  • The Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database was established by Texas A & M university’s libraries. It indexes more than 100, 000 books in the SF and fantasy genres. The collection can be searched by full text, subject matter and more, making it valuable regardless of whether you want to check that your SF idea is original or find new reading matter in your genre.
  • ‘Writing the future: a timeline of science fiction’ is a useful article contextualizing modern sci-fi, written by Dr. Caroline Edwards, a lecturer at Birkbeck in London who specializes in sci-fi among other subjects.
  • ‘Science in Sci-Fi, Fact in Fantasy’ is a very useful resource for SF writers, put together by science fiction author and scientist Dan Koboldt. Find information about how you can correctly use scientific subjects such as biology and ecology, genetics and more in your speculative fiction.

Resources for writing space-based science fiction

  • The US government agency NASA’s website provides a wealth of information and inspiration sources for SF writers. If you want to incorporate space exploration or general hi-tech aeronautical technology into your writing, you can find the latest tech news. There are also separate site sections on Mars exploration, the international space station and more.
  • Find inspiration through images and videos of space, along with the latest breaking news regarding space and space travel at Space dot com.
  • Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson’s would-be commercial space travel line, plans to ‘democratize’ space by giving more people the opportunity to experience space travel. On Virgin Galactic’s site, you can read about the technology behind the process, astronaut training and more, all of which might furnish useful details for your novel.
  • This post on io9 explains 10 of the things that sci-fi movies frequently get wrong about the physics of space travel. Reading science non-fiction is crucial if you want to write SF that will please even the experts.
  • The Academy for Future Science is a non-profit corporation that examines new scientific discoveries. You can find fascinating information on the latest space exploration discoveries, as well as other information on the latest technology.

Writing robots in science fiction

  • Want to know a little more about self-driving cars? Trust and autonomous robots? The videos section on Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute website provides clear insights into many aspects of robotics and robot design. These help you to incorporate robotics into your sci-fi writing convincingly.
  • Gizmag is an online magazine offering emerging tech news. The ‘robotic’ category is brimming with interesting information on the latest in robot design. For example, Cornell University has created a robot barista that ‘learns as it brews’. Tech news stories can inspire you when creating your own SF scenarios.
  • The Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) bills itself as the world’s largest professional association for the advancement of technology’. The IEEE’s robotics section also provides breaking tech news on drones, vehicle automation, robots and more.
  • If you plan to incorporate robots and Artificial Intelligence into your novel, NASA’s Robotic Alliance Project provides basic information on AI and additional resources.
  • PAL Robotics is at the forefront of humanoid robot development, so this website can provide you with inspiration for writing science fiction about humanoid machines.

General resources and SF writing advice

  • On SFF World you can read interviews with (and reviews of) authors who write science fiction, fantasy or horror, and there is a discussion forum and articles on all things sci-fi.
  • The sci-fi writing subreddit on Reddit is a place where you can test out your plot or world-building ideas on other redditors and share links to your favourite SF resources for writers.
  • On his website, Robert J. Sawyer, a science fiction writer who has won 53 national and international awards,  provides practical tips on technical aspects of craft for aspiring science fiction writers.
  • Turkey City Lexicon: A Primer for SF Workshops is a great guide to avoiding SF clichés that resulted from a series of writing workshops in Austin, Texas.
  • ‘The Hundred Best Sci-fi Movies’ according to Time Out magazine provides many viewing options for finding inspiration for your science fiction writing. Iconic writers such as Stephen King and George R R Martin participated in the voting process.
  • If you glean ideas for your SF writing from visuals, you’re likely to enjoy Sci-fi-o-rama. This is a design and illustration blog focusing on all things sci-fi and fantasy.
  • Will your sci-fi novel include paranormal elements? If so Paranormal Encyclopedia dot com is a free online encyclopedia that provides concise entries on everything from aliens to ‘Zermatism’ – the theory that all human culture derived from Easter Island.
  • Sci-fi name generator is a useful tool for generating names for science fiction characters as well as place names and common names to a specific group or clan. Experimenting with the tool will suggest how you can use a set of made-up prefix and suffix rules to name SF characters, whether they inhabit an extraterrestrial planet or an ordinary fictional country.
  • Roberta Osborn’s post on ‘using invented language in your novel’ offers practical pointers on creating a unique system of communication for a fictional tribe or alien race.
  • ’15 creative writing prompts – the speculative fiction edition’ consists of 15 succinct SF writing prompts that could set your inspiration off if you have yet to start writing a science fiction plot.

Publishing for sci fi writers

  •  The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction originally published many important stories, including Daniel Keyes’ ‘Flowers for Algernon’ and Stephen King’s ‘Dark Tower’. The magazine pays for successful submissions, and accepts stories up to 25, 000 words long.
  • Asimov’s Science Fiction is a respected magazine that publishes SF along with surreal and borderline fantasy fiction. If you want to improve your sci-fi writing craft, reading Asimov’s will give you an idea of what is considered excellent work in the genre.
  • Analog: Science Fiction and Fact is a little different in that it publishes both fiction and hard science articles. Described as ‘the magazine where science fiction grew up’, analog accepts submissions from all writers. Read submission guidelines on Analog‘s website.
  • Interzone is the oldest science fiction magazine in the UK. It’s published numerous famous writers of SF, including J.G. Ballard and Brian Aldiss. The magazine accepts short story submissions.
  • Ace Books, now an imprint of major publishing house Penguin, is one of the oldest science fiction publishers. Since its founding in 1953, Ace has published iconic SF works such as Frank Herbert’s Dune series and William Gibson’s breakthrough novel, Neuromancer. Browsing through the imprint’s page on Penguin’s website can be helpful for market research, so that you understand what kinds of stories and themes SF publishers are most inclined to accept before you begin writing a novel.
  • Baen Books publishes sci-fi as well as fantasy fiction. On the publisher’s website you can find useful information on sci-fi specific contests and awards along with submission guidelines for unpublished SF manuscripts.

Sci-fi writing associations and events

  • The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) is a professional organizations for writers in these genres. Past distinguished members have included the famous SF writers Issac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. In addition to hosting the prestigious Nebula Awards, the SFWA provides online discussion forums and educational and informational resources for all things science fiction and fantasy.
  • The  British Science Fiction Association, like the SFWA, provides an online community for writers along with useful information such as major UK science fiction event calendars as well as complimentary SF magazine subscriptions for paid members. The association also hosts its own annual awards.
  • The Australian Science Fiction Association was formed in 1976 to carry on the work of the first Australian World Science Fiction Convention, Aussiecon. The foundation offers a number of annual awards as well as access to useful sci-fi writing resources.
  • SF Canada is a bilingual (English/French) association, more broadly for speculative fiction writers whose work falls under a range of genres (including horror and fantasy). In addition to providing networking opportunities for Canadian writers, book designers, editors and publishers interested in speculative fiction, the association also provides a useful resource list and a frequently updated feed of the latest in Canadian SF news.
  • The Science Fiction Research Association was founded in 1970 for the study of science fiction writing and film. In addition to providing information on upcoming events and conferences, the website provides information about several SF-oriented publications that aspiring science fiction writers can subscribe to.
  • This listing of sci-fi conventions is another useful resource. Attending an event can provide great insights into what SF readers are currently looking for and will give you plenty of ideas for your next (or first) speculative fiction novel.
  • The Speculative Literature Foundation was formed in order to promote excellence in speculative fiction – a broader genre encompassing hard science fiction, epic fantasy and several other subgenres. Besides offering the latest speculative fiction news, the foundation also offers grants for aspiring SF writers.

Start profiling characters now for your sci fi story in Now Novel’s step-by-step story outlining dashboard. 

17 Replies to “43 must-visit sci-fi websites for writers”

  1. Great Idea shared by you i also loves to read and watch thriller and suspense novels and movies.Human imagination have no end; either you will be talking about Sci-fi , mystery, or thriller the best example is the Bourne series by Robert Ludlum. How the best thriller novels is converted into the best best thriller movies is an Art of the human imagination and thinking.

    1. The Bourne series is good, and it must be satisfying to see your work adapted into a major motion picture series too.

  2. No mention of alternate history novels – hugely popular and certainly a category of science fiction.

    Any suggestions for links?

    1. Good point, Michael. Can’t always cover everything! None off the top of my head, but if you stumble across any you find useful personally let me know and I’ll see if they’re good to add.

  3. Looking to get my story told! Any advise or help would be greatly appreciated it has twists chills scares been working on it since 1997

    2027 a new type of shuttle is launched
    From earth in hopes of discovering new life
    In the vast open universe this craft can reach places that have never been explored
    Unfortunately they find other life
    A world very much like ours except more advanced and where our nightmares are a reality WE WHERE CREATED TO ENTERTAIN!
    2nd earth the largest planet to exist
    Also the closest to our earth to yet be discovered as it reachs far out to what is known as the law region.
    This is about to change as now on earth we are entering 2028 (may 2027 is the current date this story begins it spans over months
    Natasha ford british born and bored?
    You see this was week three of united space programs next and biggest test yet to travel furthur than any man ever as in the strongest shuttle ever built with the BLAH BLAH…..i couldn’t care less natash thought three weeks had passed since we waved goodbye to pluto and it was three weeks of stars er..the odd weird shooting light
    By her side sat a asian guy who doesn’t speak english he just helps fly this bus!
    the co pilot sneezed very loudly making natasha jump
    HAHA shit!
    what did she just hear?
    He just said shit?
    Ive blown it right? came a voice
    Natash turned her head left to the asian guy
    Smiling at her with his hand in gesture
    Im chan and you sat here all this time and didn’t even say hello he said this with a smile meaning pretty much that she had been fooled by him for what seemed years to her
    He laughed before she could speak
    Im so sorry but I couldn’t resist i had you going im from the hong kong centre my parner mei is with me but her english is almost zero so i kinda watch out for her

    Thanks for your time reading!
    This is a rough version of my finished story
    I will keep adding a build up untill chapter one begins
    I just work long hours so sorry i can’t tell how it should be told i have to cut certain parts out to save my time

    Oh my god chan said with that handsome smile she thought he had you just got praised by all the world leaders are you not excited then he just shook his head
    You really need to come out of your shell me girl with a smile and slight laugh in his voice his portrayal of her heritage tongue
    Was terrible but very british and humorous
    At the same time
    But right now her heart was in her mouth she had just as good as faced all the world leaders oh my god she just couldn’t stop shaking with those nerves she had at that moment she stepped on that disc what the hell just happened she thought to herself…

    What the hell was that she thought?
    Is that the power are we losing power?
    Question after question she asked herself while the nice pretty disco lights as chan had given reference to all the fancy tech in the past
    But she knew this was all very high tech but!
    One of its kind and never fully tested to this capacity of travel the flashing eventually decreased then it stopped darkness all power had tripped maybe? thought natasha
    Then out in all that nothingness the boring long what seemed pointless was trip
    There was hope they saw planets
    Actual planets and this wasn’t mars or pluto
    They looked so far away…

    The beginning of chapter one the landing
    That voice it was back WARNING YOU ARE ENTERING ROYAL AIRSPACE CHANGE YOUR COURSE TO LOCATED ENTRY POINTS
    What? Thought natasha her and chan looked on both in total confusion at how far where they from those other what was now several planets all shapes and sizes
    Its like looking at the moon from earth thought chan they looked so far away still…

    Ok so the story is basically a crash landing
    Which happens on the largest planet known to exist 2nd earth is our world but on a much larger scale its probably closs to 3 times our earths size. It as a america a britain a china every country we have it came from there creations. america on 2nd earth is where the landing happens which kills a big part of the shuttle crew to start with

    After a worse than your nightmares
    Landing natashas saviours are introduced
    Syul khan and younger boy? a young man
    Who syul introduces as warrior?
    yes hes lets say scrawny looking no weight on him what so ever. The survivors are still in shock and very messed up after the caverns part

    Furthur on bolak the token of russia
    Soons becomes a strong character
    With his disrespect for anybody
    And now he as one objective only
    And he kills to Complete it

    Now the real threat comes from the entire planet except syul and warrior who are both peacekeepers and it is strictly forbidden to take life unless it saves another
    Now as far as syul knows there from one of the local planet either just engine issues power outage he wasn’t sure to be honest but that was his guess untill warrior takes blood samples to check for infections
    It doesn’t match any known types
    When after the shock as left the survivors
    Natasha the shy one approaches syul and it is in that part the discover where they are from
    Now the emperor knows earth as his royal privilege his garden his entertainment his ancestors built it so it was rightfully his yes?
    well not exactly you see theres nothing more he despises and hates when it comes to earth
    He watched most of his ancestors hearts be destroyed by witnessing there creation
    Wasting away at the hands of humans
    If or when word gets out to the law
    The survivors have a entire planet hunting them down syuls choice is a tough one break the law the law that clearly states no humans or…kill or as they class it culling!
    All humans on sight?
    [email protected]

  4. I am looking for a story that I read a number of years ago. I do not remember the author or title, but the story involves a human named Barth. He becomes ‘infected’ with microscopic aliens who live inside his body and worship him as their god. Barth runs into a woman who was also ‘infected’. She is everything Barth ever wanted, but is also indifferent to him. Finally he convinces her to have a one night stand. When the two alien populations reunite there is joy and celebration for now they know that others of their kind made it to earth. However, during the festivities, Barth and the girl also party. Barth wakes up with a hangover, the girl has disappeared and the alcohol and/or pills he ingested has killed all his ‘guests’. The story ends with Barth now being in despair looking for the girl and without any aliens.

    Anybody out there know the story I’m askng about? I need title and author and possible contact info. Thanks.

        1. Hi Boligat, thank you for clarifying. I have absolutely no idea! Something you could do is speak to a university subject librarian who specializes in sci-fi/fantasy. They would perhaps know. Or else if you contact the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America organization (https://www.sfwa.org/) they may know.

      1. Clockwork is loaded, and it’s much more than a book about individuals committing acts of hyperviolence. The state commits its own hyperviolence against Alex, a more complex and far scarier hyperviolence since it is mediated, sanctioned violence.

        1. That’s a really interesting perspective. It’s interesting how Anthony Burgess and George Orwell’s interests in themes to do with institutional and state power overlap.

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