I often tell people half the things I talk about I don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s just that you don’t know which half I don’t know. As a science fiction writer, writing about things that might not come true in my lifetime is normal. If I’m proven right, maybe my name will be mentioned as being the one who said it would happen. If it doesn’t, I won’t be around to complain.
Writers are supposed to be storytellers. The most interesting stories are the ones that are read and talked about the most. Some of the most successful speakers are the ones that can capture audiences’ attention and keep their attention for as long as they are talking. The speakers are confident about what they are talking about. It doesn’t matter if they believe what they are saying. They expect the listeners to believe them. Sometimes they become President of the United States.
I had a professor back in college who complained about my confidence. I told him how could I expect to be believed if I didn’t let the listeners think I believed what I was saying? Sometimes you have to fake it to sell it.
I’ll give you two examples: I tell students in a high school in Montana that I was a great cross country runner in Indiana that was one of the best in 1971. In reality, I was an average runner that never was last. But if I tell the students how to become a great cross country runner and they believe that I was telling them the truth, they might not look up the Indiana state cross country races for 1971, if such information is available. But my instruction might help runners in Montana become great cross country runners.
Here is the second example: In 1970 I submitted a satellite defense system idea to President Nixon which used charged particle beam weapons to destroy missiles and warheads. I even received a phone call that fall from Washington concerning my submission and was told that the information was turned over to those that could use it. I told the man that the power ray was the most important idea I had submitted. This actually happened. But if I acted as if I was lying, why should I expect anyone to believe me? The letter I received was a form letter from a department that is now the EPA. It wasn’t even close to the Pentagon which would have been more impressive and I would have kept the letter. But if people thought I was making the story up, I might not be able to convince them it was true.
Don’t let any subject you want to tackle tackle you. I play it sort of safe by writing science fiction and fantasy. I try to write as convincingly as possible. When I write about hyperlight physics, something that might not become reality in my lifetime, I try to write as if it is established science. If I fake it good enough, scientists and engineers might try to make it reality. If they succeed, I might be considered another Einstein who foresaw the future and was proven correct. If it never happens, I won’t care because I won’t be around to face ridicule. But if I sounded convincing while I was alive, maybe something else I talked or wrote about like food replicators might become a reality. I can almost design one and I know approximately how it is supposed to work. It is nuclear powered because it transmutes atoms into other atoms and the molecular structure of rocks and sticks is changed into the molecular structure of food. A food replicator would cost more than a house. But in the future when people are starving, they would eat replicated food before they ever tried to eat their house.
As a science fiction writer I try to write about what might be possible in the future. If I sound like someone who visited the future and came back to tell the world how it will be, I will have succeeded. But if I can’t fake it, if my predictions are proven correct, people will consider it a fluke. But if I can fake it good enough and something close to what I predict comes true, people will credit me with predicting the development.
There are some dangers in being able to fake things well. Congresspeople know how to fake things well and win re-election constantly. But if they are confronted by people who ask them to prove what they believe and they can’t do it, they often lose their next election. But if they can keep faking things well and people fear confronting them, they will keep in office until they decide to retire.
I intend on writing a book “The Phantom of the Union Pacific.” He is a character who goes from Newgate, New York to Denver to work for the Union Pacific. Newgate was founded by people from another dimension in 1674. It is an advanced city where people use replicators, drive levitated vehicles, and shift to other dimensions on a regular basis. My book will be loosely based on historical figures and their interactions with the man who is known as the Phantom of the Union Pacific since he has a transporter, a force field, and electromagnetic discharge pistols. He lives for awhile with a friend from Newgate who marries a Chinese woman whose father used accupuncture on him to ease his pain. The Phantom will eventually marry a woman raised by Indians. Both couples will be by themselves at church picnics since the rest of the congregation are prejudiced against the women. If I fake the stories good enough, people will want to see if the stories might have been based on the truth. That is a good way to tell if I faked it well. If I can sell a million copies of the book and it is turned into a SyFy TV series, my skill at faking will be confirmed.
The truth may set you free. But being able to fake it well enough can make you rich.