Here’s a synopsis of what I learned:
Red Mars – Create a real, three-dimensional setting for your readers.
Woman on the Edge of Time – Effect is powerful enough to injure readers. Be careful.
The Female Man – Ranting does not a story make.
Time Pressure – Plot is a literary convention. Story is a force of nature.
Way Station – Poor pacing steals a story’s thunder.
Pavane – A story does not science fiction make.
Downward to the Earth – Good pacing offers readers what they need when they need it.
Earth Abides – Realistic reactions and relationships.
Brain Plague – Fast pacing sacrifices reality.
Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion (Beowulf, et. al) – Strange surprises make great reading.
Nostrilia – Have good humor.
Berserker – Don’t write slight stories.
Snowcrash – Language + Ideas = Thought
Orbitsville – Plot is when stuff happens.
First and Last Men – Story scale affects emotional impact.
Roadside Picnic – The cadence of a sentence shadows what happens in the story.
The Year of the Quiet Sun – Reveals are bad.
Up the Walls of the World – Write so readers can follow emotionally.
The Drowning Towers – Realistic characters have many facets. Show them.
Grass – Make readers insane with glee at the descriptions of your landscapes.