I was online chatting to a copy-editor yesterday who had spent too many hours weeding a writer’s excessive technical descriptions to that only needed for the story. That writer’s passion for details on his particular hobby take me back to my Young Socialist days. we had public speaking training. One technique was topics out of hat talks. We drew a random piece of paper on which a newspaper headline stared at us as the topic for to spontaneously speak to the group for 10 mins. Great fun. One of us was like that writer, but mad on buses. he knew the size of every bolt and specs for springs, glass and paint on them. He was useless at politics but we tolerated him cos he was a nice lad. He picked his piece of paper and it was Harold Wilson just arrived back from a visit to Germany. So our lad thought for 3 seconds and said:
Harold Wilson was met off his plane by his chauffer-driven Rover, but he could have journeyed from Biggin Hill Airport on the 320 Bus. It would have been the AEC Routemaster 1461, which has the new double hydraulic suspension system. There is a bolt in the third tension bar that… After which we pounced on him amidst hysterics!
The modern trend in sci fi writing is to jettison nearly all technical aspects of spaceships, faster-than-light drives and so on. This is a shame both for writers who relish embarking along those patent office wanderings, and those readers who drool on such details. And where would we have been if Arthur C Clarke had his invention of orbiting artificial satellites deleted?