How To Write Science-Fiction and Fantasy

 Written by: Orson Scott Card

Distributed By: Writer's Digest Books

Reviewed by Justine Manzano


     It is an extremely rare blessing that an aspiring writer lands themselves in a class taught by their favorite author.  Naturally, because I am simply not that successful, nor am I very wealthy, I have yet to accomplish this.  The next best thing is to indulge yourself in a well-written and sympathetic instructional tip book written by said favorite author.  Orson Scott Cardís book, How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy was incredibly helpful to me as an aspiring author who jumps between both genres.

    Told from the standpoint of a writer that has been rather successful in both sides of the Speculative Fiction genre, Card does not presume to teach the reader how to write.  No, such an elusive talent can not be taught, though it can be bettered.  Instead, our teacher teaches us what he has learned from his many years of loving and writing what he terms ďthe literature of the strange

    Throughout his book which is littered with stories of his own writing past, Card works hard to explain the increasingly blurry difference between science fiction and fantasy.  He then goes into detail about the many ways to create a world for your characters to live in-one that feels real no matter how off-beat the subject matter.  He then goes into the process of choosing  of a main character, a hero, and a viewpoint character for a story and explains that these three donít necessarily need to be the same person-a fact that I personally find to be a problem in a great deal of the novels I read from any genre.

     Card then proceeds to instruct the reader in choosing what type of story their tale should be, thus solidifying a certain group of topics that then must be addressed in order to end the novel with complete finality.  Finally, in what I consider to be my favorite part of the book, Orson Scott Card bestows his wisdom on his readers, telling them the tidbits he has learned while putting in his years to the craft as far as how to balance real life and the life of a writer. 

     All in all, this book is extremely informative and though I didnít get the opportunity to sit across a desk from him and brainstorm (as he explains to be a large part of the classes he teaches), I feel as though I gained a refined clarity regarding the creation of a story that I didnít have before.  With his wit, humor, and unflinching and honest view of life as a writer, Orson Scott Card draws the reader in quickly and with an intense eagerness to learn. 

     This book is an interesting way to get into the mind of a writer and how he weaves his tale.  With this in mind, the book could be for anyone interested, but mostly, I would recommend this book for anyone seriously considering a career in Speculative Fiction.  For people with this interest, this book is a must-read. 


For feedback, visit our message board or e-mail the author at