I’m a Sci-Fi Writer and My Google Search History is Crazy

Writers do a lot of research, and let’s face it: most of it involves Google. Sci-fi writers are no different, only our search histories can be a little…weird.

Slatternly. Vraiment. Bug war. Village of the pants. 

These are just a few of the Google search terms I pulled from my search history from the past two weeks. All of them returned some…uh…rather interesting results from Google.

Research is part of the writer’s job. Writers write about all kinds of things, quite frequently things we know nothing about. (After all, if writers only wrote what they knew, the world would be very boring indeed. We’d have a ton of novels on the shelves about plumbing, or boomeranging back to your abusive ex, or sitting in a stuffy office eight hours a day.)

This is not novel material. Wallpaper courtesy of mateybogdan on DeviantArt.

Writers (especially sci-fi writers) must do their homework. Studious research is often necessary to make a book interesting, to make characters sound realistic, or to keep settings and timelines factual and consistent.

Time was, a writer would have to head to the library and check out a heap of heavy, musty books to get his or her research done. But we live in the 21st century, where terabytes of information are (literally) at our fingertips. One quick Google search and, a few nanoseconds later, you’ve got millions of results populating a webpage.

I base a lot of my science fiction on historical events. (I’ll go into the reasons why in a later post.) As such, I do a crap-ton of research online when I’m formulating an idea for a book, or am in the midst of writing it. It goes without saying that Google is my go-to search engine for tracking down reputable sources of information about, say, people like William Walker and Frederick Townsend Ward, or about historical events like the Crimean War or the General Sherman incident, or places like Nicaragua and Pyongyang.

It’s amazing where a simple Google search will lead. Questions lead to more questions, and search terms start to pile up in my search history, and before you know it, I have something that looks like a travelogue, an acid trip, and a sci-fi story in list format.

This is your brain on Google.

Mainstream fiction writers’ Google search histories are weird enough by themselves. Crime fiction writers’ search histories probably look downright macabre. Romance writers’ search histories are probably…um…a bit on the sappy, schmaltzy, or downright erotic side.

Ever wondered what a sci-fi writer’s Google search history looks like?

Reproduced below is an abridged list of search terms I have punched into Google within the preceding two weeks. No, seriously. I actually searched for this crazy stuff. Picture me holding up my right hand and saying, “I promise these search terms are all related to either my fiction writing or my blog posts, and I punched them into Google during the course of my research.”

And so, without further ado, here is a sci-fi writer’s Google search history:

  • son doong cave
  • a.e. van vogt
  • vat 69 [a sci-fi writer’s gotta have something to warm himself as he writes]
  • tarpon
  • ridley scott alien
  • first contact
  • angry astronaut
  • Coeurl
  • bug war
  • black destroyer
  • the thing
  • capturing a wraith borderlands [okay, so I was taking a writing break]
  • silicon beach
  • schmear
  • billy idol
  • define gentile
  • sub-level 13
  • anabasis pronunciation
  • live window models
  • the philadelphia experiment
  • beretta nano
  • charter arms bulldog
  • asimovs science fiction submissions
  • chiappa 1887 shotgun
  • Ruger Mini-14
  • baby hammerhead shark
  • strunk and white active voice
  • hortatory definition
  • salmonella
  • chinese drywall
  • what corrodes copper
  • geck definition
  • big bend national park
  • chinese five punishments
  • 1856
  • tallest mountain in solar system
  • crimean war combatants
  • 75949 feet to meters
  • 14.2 miles to feet
  • trucker talk
  • second battle of rivas
  • hard travelin’
  • ways to stack rifles
  • haggis illegal
  • Ruger Security Six
  • divine right of kings
  • women’s mid-length hair
  • slatternly
  • lake managua nicaragua
  • inspirational military speeches
  • company size military
  • la virgen nicaragua
  • first battle of rivas
  • untranslatable words
  • fictitious plant name generator
  • hesperidium
  • charro
  • El Guettar
  • honduras
  • 60 kilometers to miles
  • Skullcap
  • natural sedatives
  • natural sleep aids
  • ipecacuanha
  • space program drugs
  • japan winter sunset
  • skanking
  • giant tapeworm
  • hidalgo formal wear
  • vraiment
  • spanish animal names
  • weird spanish place names
  • village of the pants
  • Quechua names
  • Catalonian cities
  • fish head soup

If you’re a writer yourself, you may find this hauntingly familiar. If you’re not a writer, you may find this hilarious. Either way, if you have questions about any of this stuff, ask me in the comments section below. I’ll answer you to the best of my ability (without giving away any spoilers, of course).

What’s the weirdest term in your Google search history? Leave a comment below and tell us. And as always, once you get done reading this, shut the Internet off and get writing.