May the Force be with You!

But the question is: WHICH ONE?

Yes, there is more than one. There are the four main forces of

  • Gravity
  • Electromagnetism
  • Weak nuclear force
  • Strong nuclear force

Then there’s what I call the four close-in forces of

We’ve had science fiction books about the four main forces in one form or another. But I can’t think of any about the close-in forces. (Doesn’t mean to say they don’t exist – it’s just I haven’t found them.)

So what?

I know from writing my Uranus novel that one tiny small detail can be used to change the whole novel. In this case Miranda has a temperature at which interesting combinations can occur! When I realised I had to pinch myself over and over again, check that I wasn’t dreaming the scenario up a zillion times, but yes it was an exciting find and yes, it did change the course of the novel.

Equally those four close-in forces could change the course of a novel or be the crux on which a short story hangs. But let me give you examples of the effects that forces can have now in our everyday world.

  • Surface tension allows insects to walk on water
  • Van der Waals force is used by geckos to climb smooth walls
  • Basset force changes the sedimentation characteristics for some sands
  • Added Mass has an effect on ship’s motion


In each case, the force has an noticeable effect on a specific object that shows up against the rest of the environment. These are the kinds of things / details that can make your world interesting.

But there is more to these forces than that… what if we can manipulate to change the whole world?

But how can this be done?

Well, it’s not as hard as you think once you know how these forces make a difference. You change the world to allow these forces to have an effect. That’s the ‘wow moment’. From there on in, writing the short story is really down to doing the work.

Over to you peoples…


One thought on “May the Force be with You!

  1. Ha ha U see what you’ve done here. I’ve referred to Van der Waals forces in my Angular Size short story and mentioned en passant in our exchanges that I’ve not seen them in fiction. I used that force as a possible reason why microscopic pieces of sandstone stick to water molecules when wind blows them off surfaces such as the lower rows of sandstone in walls and in the sculpting of sandstone tor-forms. That was back in 1972 before much was known about Van der Waals. Good to know research has moved on.

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