This has DNA — what DNA is it?

Hot on the heels of Marie Philips’s anguished review of a rather wonky Doctor Who epis­ode (I agree, it was awful), the twen­ti­eth anniversary edi­tion of Concatenation is out, and includes my art­icle The sci­ence in sci­ence fic­tion, in which I sound off on mak­ing the story cent­ral to any fic­tion (and, en passant, drop a major spoil­er about my next nov­el, Flashback). Here’s a brief excpert:

I guess I’ve come to this con­clu­sion through the edit­ing pro­cess. I’ve learned that what makes a scene good isn’t the tech; it’s the mean­ing con­jured by the char­ac­ters, their struggles, the con­flict, and the wider nar­rat­ive. When work­ing to improve a work of fic­tion, you can fiddle with the mean­ing (I’m using this word in a broad sense that encom­passes ‘emo­tion’, ‘affect’, ‘interest’ and so on) or you can fiddle with the tech­nic­al stuff. At the end of the day, it’s the sharpen­ing of mean­ing that improves the work by any real mar­gin.

You can read the full art­icle here. Thanks to Jonathan, the edit­or, for com­mis­sion­ing the piece.

Incidentally, I’ve taken the oppor­tun­ity to upload a book trail­er to the Flashback page. Mmm, moody.

Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

2 thoughts on “This has DNA — what DNA is it?”

  1. I’m sorry, I dis­agree (about the Daleks in Manhattan thing). It wasn’t so much wooden or clunky as styl­ised and a touch camp, in the tra­di­tion of, say Carnival of Monsters and The Greatest Show In The Galaxy. Although why the Daleks have only now worked out that they’d be bet­ter off with legs…

  2. You could be right, Tim, though I think call­ing the pro­duc­tion ‘styl­ised’ is a little gen­er­ous. I remem­ber the Greatest Show in the Galaxy and the Carnival of Monsters — though I was a kid for the first one and only read the nov­el­isa­tion of the second. Who has always been camp, put I’d put this under the umbrella of ‘shoddy’. Still, I’ll be tun­ing in tonight — who’d miss a Dalek in spats?

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