Writers of fiction are smart peoples and they knows stuff
September 22, 2012 4:09 PM Subscribe
How does a writer like Kim Stanley Robinson, or any writer for that matter, obtain and integrate the vast amounts of knowledge necessary to create a fully detailed and realistic world on the page?
I’m currently reading Robinson’s novel 2312 and have read and really enjoyed his Mars Trilogy. While it is incredible the amount of world building put into his books, but I am just amazed at the level of knowledge this man has in the various sciences and other disciplines and domains of knowledge. He incorporates neurology, physics, logic, philosophy, astronomy, geography, knowledge of various cultures, agronomy, evolution, astronomy, etc, etc, etc, etc. He isn’t just dipping a toe into these disciplines. He seems to have an extremely firm grasp on general theories and others more obscure.
How does he or any other writer gain enough knowledge in various subjects in order to integrate them into their stories. I know the dude is wicked smart. I read an interview that he used to have a near photographic memory, but I don’t think that kind of memory applies to this type of knowledge. He has a PhD, but it is in English.
When one has this knowledge, how would one know how to apply it and when in a complex stories?
I suspect he knows enough about his science going in to a part of his stories to apply said science. I doubt he is researching the science necessary for the subject at hand as he’s writing it.
Note that I am just using KSM as an example. He is the most impressive and, as I’m reading his book now, the most salient example of this phenomenon I can think of.
I first noticed this a few years back reading my friends first novel. Although a mediocre book I noticed how much general knowledge he had of the world in order to paint his story. I’m also specifically asking about fiction. Non-fiction seems to me to be a much more linear and somewhat more self-directing research activity.