Science Fiction Sub-genres
  • Alien invasion
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Science fiction caries shifting viewpoints. We can comprehend ourselves in ways unimaginable through sci-fi. There is science fiction that runs straight and true while others suck you into this time wormhole where you would never feel that four hours has gone by.

Nonetheless, science fiction tells stories that may or may not be in parallel to reality.

Being completely authentic and radically honest often does not go well with the other person. What’s surprising is that when we really listen to people, giving our total attention, it can come across as awkward to the other person, as it is not considered normal.

The best way to end an awkward conversation is to be pure and honest, telling the other person that you would love to keep talking, but you have to rush to do a particular activity. It is better than saying “It was really nice talking to you and I look forward to doing that again!”

Awkward Conversations

One of the most relatable forms of anxiety is when we want an awkward conversation to be over, but cannot make it happen.

Studies on conversation dynamics show that they rarely end when we want them to, lasting up to twice as long. This includes the guy at the gym who does not know that wearing earphones means we don’t want to be disturbed. Even our friends and loved ones sometimes leave us gasping for breath, wanting to run away from the awkwardness.

Two factors create a ‘coordination problem’ during an awkward conversation.

  • The first is that we assume we know when the other person wants to leave but we calculate that incorrectly.
  • The second factor is when we know what the other person wants but still cannot end the conversation suddenly by will. We cannot interrupt a story being told to us.

About 70 percent of people want an ongoing conversation to end earlier than it does, even with friends and loved ones. Whatever the length, a conversation never ends when we want it to end. We don’t normally be upfront about this and say it on the other person’s face, mainly to be polite and not to offend the other person.

Honesty and politeness are at loggerheads during an awkward conversation, and we are normally more polite towards strangers than we are with our loved ones.

  • Ink. The Chinese invented 'Indian Ink', a mixture of soot from pine smoke and lamp oil mixed with the gelatin of donkey skin and musk. By the year 400, a stable form of ink consisted of iron salts, nutgalls, and gum. It became a formula for centuries.
  • Paper. Early Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, and Hebrews used papyrus and parchment papers around 2000BCE. Wood-fiber paper was invented in China in the year 105.
  • Writing implements. Romans created a reed-pen from the hollow tubular stems of marsh grasses.
  • Early merchants used clay tokens with pictographs to record the quantities of materials traded or shipped. These tokens date back to 8500 BCE. The pictographs evolved and became abstract figures representing sounds.
  • Around 400 BCE, the Greek alphabet was developed and replaced pictographs as a commonly used form of visual communication. They also wrote script from left to right. The Greeks used a writing stylus made of metal, bone or ivory to put marks on wax-coated tablets.
  • The quill pen was used for the longest period in history. It was taken from living bird feathers in the spring. A quill pen lasted for one week before it had to be replaced.
  • In 1436, Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. The ability to mass-produce writing revolutionised the way humans communicate.
History of writing: Some of the first tools

Some of the first tools for writing were the hunting club and the sharpened stone. Cave dwellers scratched pictures onto the walls of cave dwellings. It represented daily events such as planting crops or hunting victories.

With time, systematised symbols were developed from their drawings that represented words and sentences but were quicker and easier to draw. The symbols became shared among groups.

Receiving bad news

When you receive bad news, it's helpful to acknowledge that the messenger is not the cause. When we feel helpless within the situation, we often respond with anger at, or around, the person who has to let us know.

It is possible to choose a response that can help shift the situation rather than exacerbate it. Ask questions like:

  • What happened?
  • How?
  • What now?
  • What would you advise me to do?


  • Make the pain about you.
  • Have a go at them. "Why didn't you...?"
  • Spread gossip. If they ask, forward their message verbatim.
  • Give them advice.

Instead, ask them:

  • What would you like me to do? or What can I best do to help?
  • Would you like me to forward your message onto others?
  • Thank them for letting you know.
  • Support them by keeping their spirits up.
  • Listen and be sensitive to what they have asked.
Adam Grant

"I no longer believe it’s my place to change anyone’s mind. All I can do is try to understand their thinking and ask if they’re open to some rethinking. The rest is up to them."

Motivating People to Reconsider Their Opinions

When you're having a conversation with someone who is closed-minded, keep in mind that you should not push further for them to understand your point of view and attack them for being wrong.

As long as we keep refuting their point of view it will only make them see it as an attack and prepare more alternatives for rebuttal.

  • The main idea of this technique is to help find the other person's motivation to change instead of forcing your perspective down their throats.
  • The pioneers of motivational interviewing are William Miller and Stephen Rollnick. However, they advised that one should be careful when using this technique because it's used to manipulate people.
  • It requires a genuine desire to understand people's motivations and aid them to achieve what they want to achieve.

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