Category Archives: Courses

SF, Fiction and Fantasy, Western US UK, and Chinese – Cixin Lui

Cixin Liu Remembrance of Earth’s Past SPOILER ALERT!

This is not much of a spoiler given the name of the series. But the slow build in The Three Body Problem, and the other two books, is very well done, mounting tension and fear towards the end of part one. If you might read it, DO NOT READ FURTHER!


Remembrance of Earths Past Cixin Liu
Remembrance of Earths Past Cixin Liu
Cixin Liu’s recent blockbuster best-selling trilogy Remembrance of Earth’s Past (1/ The Three Body Problem, 2/ The Dark Forest, 3/ Death’s End) is amazing, and startlingly original, which is very hard in a meme-saturated SF world.

But one comment. Cixin’s view of the rest of the Universe and the future is utterly negative, with aliens removing competition by annihilating (in spectacular and mind-bending ways) any new civilisation or solar system that happens to be noticed. Not even actually space-faring, just noticed by their monitoring systems. Even the more local aliens who get latterly get quite friendly are actually despicable fiends when it suits them.

Now China is called locally Zhonggou, the Middle Kingdom, the area under the control of whichever current Emperor (previous to unification the Middle Kingdom was a smaller area). They have always had invasions throughout a long history. Hence the Great Wall of China. So this mindset of fear about barbarians, destroyers, outside of home are deeply entrenched.

I say Chinese not Asian as there is only one Middle Kingdom!


Star Trek
Star Trek on the way out
In Star Trek, or any other colonising empire-style SF, basically, there might be challenges but by using reason, progress will be made. It is always the fiendish aliens and their alien ways that upset the human ‘progress’ or more accurately expansion. Or sometimes they invade (briefly) to get our raw materials, which even includes our minds.

This is obviously a Western mindset. Achieved by ignoring what happens to indigenous peoples (such as native Americans, Australian Aboriginals etc).

Dr Who
Dr Who
Of course this is a massive simplification, but there you go! SF is always of its time and culture. Only a retro-obsessed culture like Britain could think up Doctor Who! And their British Robots (Daleks).
Daleks at Christmas

A long synopsis and review of the Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy by Mingwei Song of MCLC Resource Center is here >

Read wiki about the Great Wall of China >

By Samantha Smith March 2017

Review of Writing SF Science Fiction and Fantasy, how to write book

Adam Roberts Writing SF and Fantasy bookWe are about to do a Notes Story Board app with SF and Android files. But since that is taking a while, I read some other how to write books. The best by a long way is by one of my favourite SF authors Adam Roberts:

Get Started in Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy: How to write compelling and imaginative sci-fi and fantasy fiction (Teach Yourself: Writing)

That’s quite a long title. The text is in the usual Roberts style, witty, erudite, slightly challenging. He provides breakdowns of what makes SF and Fantasy different. And even includes a plotting system at the end, to help you think up new ideas and stories. So it is very good on analysis and practical matters pertaining to writing about warp drives, time travel, magic, matrices, and all that. And why you might want to do that in the first place!

You can get the book on Amazon or Ebay for quite a reasonable price.

Here is a link to Adam Roberts sf writer wiki, since his website which is out of date for some reason.

And here is our offer for How To Write Fiction and Film Scripts ebooks >

Flash fiction course coming soon

Start of flash fiction?
Start of flash fiction?
I always used to write very short stories – or even poems – and have just discovered flash fiction – stories that are about a page long, sometimes shorter, a paragraph. Of course they have been around for a long time, I just hadn’t noticed them as a separate category until a friend advised me to enter a competition.

The course will be along soon, probably as an ebook as these seem to be more popular than paging around the website.

There is a blog about how I got into flash fiction on the Notes Story Board site, please have a look at that now >

Free online writing courses fiction scripts poetry copy

This site is now open to all.

Get our free How To Write Genres ebook here >

We also make Notes Story Board creativity app for Windows and Apple Mac – visit now >

We have Kindle ebooks of the courses which can be more convenient. Check them out on the how to write fiction and scripts, poetry and copy ebooks page >

A new bundle of our top creativity app and all ebooks will be available soon.

What’s in the scriptwriting course

The script writing and screenplay course is suitable for all levels.
For a list of all the modules in the course see below the author’s poster shots below.

The writer of the script writing course Sath (Xath) Cruz is a professional film and movie writer, producer, and also a media lecturer. For more details of his work see the People page >
He wrote our ebook of the scriptwriting course which you can find out more about on the Ebooks page >

Sath’s film and television releases:

White House – 2010

Horror Anthology Remake Regal Shocker TV5 remake – 2010-2011

Super Noypi – 2006

Shake Rattle and Roll 9 – 2007

Shake Rattle and Roll 8 – 2006

Tiyanaks – 2007

This course has many modules which should be followed in the order presented in the navigation.

See navigation for full list, the recent WordPress upgrade stopped the list generator from working.