Visualizing what you’re reading.
I love reading sci-fi. Something about those fantastic, new worlds where anything can exist just makes my day. After reading so much of it, though, I notice that it’s hard to surprise me anymore. One of the best ways to keep my imagination engaged is to feed me a little information without overdoing the details. You know it’s a good sci-fi story when the characters development is strong enough to carry the reader along without a full description. I noticed this in Dan Simmon’s Hyperion/Endymion books and even to some degree in Frank Herbert’s Dune novels.
Even the best writers can leave you wanting though, and I desperately want to know what the aliens look like in John Scalzi’s “Old Man’s War” series of books. Specifically, what the hell do the Obin look like?!
I finally gave up trying to find a detailed description or image online and just made my own. This is how I picture the Obin when I read Scalzi’s books, which are really great.
They’re described in the books only as a cross between a hermaphroditic spider and a giraffe, but they often send the human characters into a fearful tizzy. Picture these guys speaking in humorless monotones, fearless, but with hearts of gold. Kind of…