15.41: Researching the FCK out of Things, with Cory Doctorow

Your Hosts: Mary Robinette, Piper, and Howard, with special guest Cory Doctorow

In journalism, that three-character string in our episode title means “Fact Check.” Those three characters are a great way to drop a note to yourself, reminding you to get some answers later.

In this episode Cory joins us to discuss when we drop FCK into our works, and how we go about removing it later.

Credits: This episode was recorded at sea by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson


Use the Internet to pretend-visit a place.

The Future of Another Timeline, by Annalee Newitz

8 thoughts on “15.41: Researching the FCK out of Things, with Cory Doctorow”

  1. I love research, it’s so much fun! But it can definitely be a procrastination tool too.

  2. The Internet is one research tool, but so are written works (especially classic travel books, historical works etc), and good documentaries. My WIP takes place across a huge swathe of planetary geography, and even though it is set over a century into the future, I still feel the need to include enough details of place, of street maps, of lifestyle, religion etc. to make each place convincing. Whether this research carries enough authority to convince readers, we’ll have to see.

    There’s another thing about travel that the panel did not mention. Even if I had the time and money to do “research” trips to all those places I mention, I’m not sure that I could ethically do so. Avoidance of unnecessary flying is one of the top two things an individual can do to mitigate their carbon footprint.

    One last thing, Robert J. Sawyer once said “Writing is how I justify my research habit!”

  3. The triumphant trio, Mary Robinette, Piper, and Howard, got together with Cory Doctorow to talking about research, especially when an FCK, aka a fact check, works for writers. Keep writing, and check later? Avoid the Wikipedia click holes? Take a moment to appreciate the sunset, even if you are in the basement… lots of discussion and tricks, available in the transcript now in the archives.

  4. I like the comment about the modified gun hand saving away things.

    I do something similar in arts shows. When something is “inspired by” a historical artifact, you get points for being as close as possible to the item. If you call it “a reproduction” , you get points taken away for all the things that are not exactly like the original.

    It’s a good trick to use in other places too.

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