Writing Technobabble: U is for Unknown

Welcome to my guide on how to write technobabble! Every post will start with one letter of the alphabet, from A to Z, and cover tips and ideas for all you writers of sci-fi. Whether you’re writing about near-future science fiction, far-flung alien worlds, or historical steampunk adventures filled with advanced technology that never was – these posts are designed to help you write convincing and unique tech for your story! 

U is for Unknown 

Unknown technology? But of course! That’s the point of technobabble in sci-fi, right? 

All sci-fi is really about the unknown. Even if your story isn’t about a five-year-mission of exploration like the starship Enterprise, delving into the unknown is what gives sci-fi its power. If nothing else, your story is making something known to everyone that was previously unknown (your story and its world—which were previously unknown to all but you.)

To boldly go…

And pulling that previously unknown technology out of your head and onto the page is part of the sci-fi crafting process. Or maybe reaching into the ether and hoping for a cosmic download of ideas, that you can then make known to the world. That writing process is common, too. 

You as the author can decide how much you want to make known to your readers about the technology, the way it works, and what the characters do with it. If you want to leave a lot of questions open about the hows or whys of your tech, that’s fine, too. It all really depends on the sort of story you’re wanting to tell. 

Leaving a few unknowns, even in a story with lots of detailed explanations, isn’t a bad thing. Readers usually like for plot threads to be tied up by the end, but leaving a little mystery can be appealing, too. Don’t be afraid of the unknown! 

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