Something Wicked: The Astral Conspiracy Series

Your Story Empire authors are on tour this week. It’s my great pleasure to host Staci Troilo today, but she’s incognito. This series is published under one of her pen names. Make her feel welcome, and share this on your social media if you can. I’ve read this one and think it’s awesome.

Thanks for welcoming me here today, Craig.

The Gate

Ciao, amici! For the last two days in the Story Empire Something Wicked tour, I discussed some of the ancient lore woven into my Astral Conspiracy series (specifically the first book, The Gate).

Today, I’m going in the other direction.

My series is a combination of ancient history and futuristic tech. It’s time to delve into the futuristic tech part.

Science fiction can be a fascinating genre, with story worlds as rich and complex as the fantasy genre. But instead of magical realms filled with dragons, elves, and ogres, we’re looking at medical, communication, and transportation advancements.

A Typical Unwatering

Photo Attribution: Phylyp [CC BY-SA 4.0 (

There’s a trick to writing sci-fi tech that fantasy writers don’t necessarily need to concern themselves with, though. And that’s believability. To an extent. Let me explain.

In every novel (set in “real life” or not), readers have certain expectations about what the world is like. Obviously, the real life stuff is easy enough to deal with—research the time period or, if it’s contemporary, design the story-world to be like what you encounter every day. Fantasy worlds are limited only by their imaginations. If they want something to be a certain way, they only have to attribute it to magic. (Most fantasy fiction has an element of magic in it.) It’s a little different for sci-fi.

Science fiction has “science” right in its name. That means the author has to rely on scientific principles, or the readers won’t buy into the story. Those principles can be pushed well beyond our current bounds, but everything has to be rooted in science fact.

Take, for example, worm holes (a favorite subject of mine, and if you’re interested, you can read more here). Einstein proved worm holes are theoretically plausible. Do we have the technology to use them now? Not even close. But they’re a possibility authors can use in science fiction because the theory is rooted in proven fact.

In the Invasion Universe, a lot of scientific technology is introduced. Some things, like self-driving cars and holographic entertainment, are easy for readers to accept. We’re on the cusp of those technologies becoming commonplace, anyway. Other things (like intergalactic space travel and medical mesh that heals injuries) are barely on our radar.

So, how do writers get away with these advancements?

Simple. It’s a matter of introduction.

Things that take a lot more explanation and suspension of reader belief are better introduced as alien technology instead of human invention. That way, readers aren’t bogged down with trying to understand something that isn’t logically explicable. (It’s kind of the scientific version of the magical workaround fantasy authors can use.)

It doesn’t have to be that way. But it helps. It’s a solution I relied on to make things more acceptable to my readers.

How a sci-fi author handles writing about advanced tech will inevitably vary. The most important thing is to not get lost in techno-babble. Readers don’t want or need a four-page description of how something functions. Fiction is an immersive experience. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes. You want to experience this world just as you experience our reality. In real life, you don’t get a dissertation anytime you use technology. You turn on your television and expect to watch a show. You aren’t told how that happens (and thank God for that); you just trust that it will.

That’s the most organic way to introduce technological advancements in fiction. The characters live with it, so they know what it does and don’t over-think it (or maybe don’t think about it at all). And if the characters come across alien tech, they would discuss it in their own terms. They might marvel at what it does, but they won’t take it apart to learn how it works.

Save that kind of writing for instruction manuals.

There is a lot of advanced technology in my novel, The Gate, book one of my Astral Conspiracy series. I think I introduced these advancements in a believable and organic way. If you’re interested in seeing how I handled it, I encourage you to read the book.

The Gate

He lost his job. Lost his girl. Now it’s all he can do not to lose his life.

Landon Thorne is a disgraced archaeologist, a laughing stock in his field because of his unconventional beliefs – he’s an ancient astronaut theorist. No one takes him seriously.

Until an alien armada targets Earth.

Now Landon’s in high demand – by the US government and someone far more sinister.

They race across two continents to the Gate of the Gods, the one place on Earth that might give humans an advantage over the aliens. But no one is prepared for what they’ll find.

And not everyone will make it out alive.

The Gate is the first of five novels in the Astral Conspiracy Series, part of Sterling and Stone’s Invasion Universe.

Universal Purchase Link


That’s some awesome advice that goes beyond science fiction. Thanks for that Staci. We’re all on tour today, and we’d appreciate you finding us and checking out our posts. I’m over at Staci’s today, by pure coincidence of the schedule, if you really miss me.

Connect with Staci online:

Website | Amazon | BookBub | Goodreads | Social Media


Filed under Writing

52 responses to “Something Wicked: The Astral Conspiracy Series

  1. The more I read about this book of Staci’s the more I need to read it. Some good writing tips for Sci-Fi too. Thanks for hosting, Craig.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Pingback: “Something Wicked” Wednesday | Story Empire

  3. That’s a great way to introduce new technology. I’m enjoying the stories behind the story.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Craig, thanks so much for hosting me today. Whether it’s you or Lisa, I always get such a warm welcome.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Great post on introducing tech and futuristic fiction, Staci. I loved The Gate and can’t wait for the next book in the series 😊

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Excellent points, Staci. Like you said, readers don’t need or want to be bogged down with details (most, anyway), they just need to believe it’s something plausible in the world of the book.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. That was a spot-on post. I enjoy reading sci-fi but my eyes will glaze over if the author goes too far into explaining tech. I loved how you handled things in The Gate which allowed me to embrace the wonder of the world you created.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Excellent writing tips. And I enjoyed the gate. Like most laypeople, I couldn’t care less how things work, just that they work.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. This is a most interesting post on writing sci-fi. I agree that even though it may be far-fetched technology, it needs to be believable. I love the way you explained it, Staci! I have this book and the short story on my Kindle. Thanks so much for hosting today, Craig!

    Liked by 4 people

  10. You made the science fit into the story so well, I never once tripped over it, and it’s not a genre I read often. Really enjoyed The Gate.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. D.L. Finn, Author

    I love the fact based science mixed with the what-if of fiction:) Certainly made for a great story.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Super, Staci. Thanks, Craig

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I loved this explanation: people turn on the television and expect it to work- they don’t need to know how.
    I think this applies to all genres of writing, not just sci-fi. It drives me crazy to read five pages of how to load a gun or ways to have sex (a different type of gun, lol). We can figure that out for ourselves. Give us the basics and get on with the story!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Well said, Staci. Some writers get away with writing a lot of tech but their sub-genre of sci-fi usually demands it. David Weber did a lot in Honorverse, for instance. You’ve done a good job with balance in a contemporary setting.

    I’ve often wanted to write a sci-fantasy where the science is not established and can be made up entirely – almost like magic, but not quite.

    Excellent series of posts this week!

    Liked by 3 people

  15. It seems a fine line writing sci-fi between wanting to explain science fact but needing to keep the work predominantly fiction. One day I may try it.
    Nice reading you two on each other’s blogs!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Pingback: Five Links 10/26/19 Traci Kenworth – Where Genres Collide Traci Kenworth YA Author & Book Blogger

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