Each genre holds its challenges, no matter if it chic lit, YA literature or criminal suspense. Currently, I’m finding my own challenges as I wade into the realm of science fiction from the familiar waters of fantasy. Perhaps one of the most challenging is placing my planets on maps in manner that is logical and plausible. To me, this is very important, because it has been my experience that SciFi readers are very discerning and knowledgeable about technology and science in general. This understanding also heightens my awareness on the topic and my desire to get things right.
My novel is not in any way firm science, with me shying away from that genre, because I know I would probably be setting myself up for epic failure. Instead, I prefer to focus more on the characters and their surroundings, briefly touching on the science and technology they rely on. And when I do highlight those aspects, I try to get them right or at least right enough to not push my readers past their willingness to suspend disbelief.
And perhaps the biggest way to break willing suspension of disbelief is to have planets in places that would not support life, would have different climates than what is relayed in the book and so on.
It is definitely a tall order to fill, and I’m trying to gather resources to help me along. Unfortunately, my astronomy textbook is still missing in the move, so I’m asking fellow SciFi novelists to provide links to their favorite resources — both online and in book form — that have helped them plot out the planets in their universes.