Class: It’s Almost Here: Writing Near-term Science Fiction

Instructor: P.J. Manney

Next class date: Sunday, August 22, 2021, 1:00-3:00 PM Pacific Time. 

Near-term science fiction tells stories that feel relevant to our daily lives and world. Current social and technological trends make us ask, “What if…?” “What if we genetically engineer a new species?” “What if we build a colony on Mars?” “What if we have brain implants?”

Near-term can be hard or soft SF, flash to multi-book series, social or technological, military or domestic, romantic or action packed, for kids and adults, and include “punks” of many kinds. It’s not a subgenre, as much a time frame and an approach. Authors often despair while writing near-term, because the world changes so quickly, what they’ve predicted may happen before or soon after they publish, or an unexpected event can derail an entire story. (Paging the 2016 election!)

Even though writing near-term SF can feel like tiptoeing through a minefield, don’t feel intimidated. Through lecture and exercises, we’ll examine themes, structures, time frames, the research and tools to approach subject matter, how to create a “real world” that’s part observation and part imagination, why near-term stories can be an advantage to finding a mainstream readership, reading lists and more.


Classes are taught online and require a reliable Internet connection, although in the past participants have logged on from coffee shops, cafes, and even an airplane; a webcam is suggested but not required.

Cost is $99 ($79 for Patreon supporters and former students, which includes classes/workshops with me in other venues, such as conference or convention workshops and mentoring sessions).

To register for this class, send an email with the following details:

  • Which class or classes and the dates you are registering for.
  • Remind me if you support me on Patreon or have already taken a class with me so you can get the special rate.
  • Whether you would prefer to pay via Paypal, check, Venmo, or some other means.
  • If you’re a new student, please let me know how you found out about the classes!

You will be invoiced when the class slot is reserved.

Free scholarships: If you cannot afford a class but really want to take one, apply for a Plunkett Scholarship. Each class has three slots reserved for such students, and the sole criteria is only that you can’t currently afford the class. To apply for a Plunkett, which covers the entire cost, mail me and tell me why you want to take the class in 100 words or less. QUILTBAG and PoC candidates are especially encouraged to apply. The Plunkett Scholarships are named for Edward Plunkett, who wrote as Lord Dunsany. Scholarships are given out on a rolling basis; I suggest getting them in sooner rather than later. You may apply for multiple classes.

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