Quote Originally Posted by Emissarius View Post
I neglected to mention that my work is aimed at young readers, the younger side of YA that could easily become upper middle grade. I'm therefore hoping to make it devoid of stuff like Alliance, Empire, Federation, Interplanetary Corporations, or intergalactic warfare. It's more about there being one big Sauron/ Thanos-like figure who subjugates numerous star systems and has a handful of powerful minions stationed in each. The hero and his friends aim to liberate these planets/ systems by defeating those underlings until they reach the big bad himself. The story's a lot deeper than that, of course, but I had to describe in this manner to get my point across.
If you;re writing sci fi, even for kids, bear in mind that nerdy kids tend to read it and also will know the physics. As a nerd (and former nerdy kid) trust me on this. If you're going for a sort of Thanos/Guardians of the Galaxy kind of feel, you can get away with breaking the laws of physics if you have an in-story explanation, even if it's technological handwavium (that's probably your best bet actually as if you try to go into too much details with the physics, someone will find all the holes - that's why hyperspace drives are so popular. They don't explain how they work, everyone just accepts that it's a future tech way of travelling faster than lightspeed). I like Kjbartolotta's suggestion for getting around the radio communications issue. Again, future tech handwavium is fine for this genre, but you need to have some explanation.

Magic in space is my biggest problem right now. I don't know how much magic should remain in the story. As I mentioned before, it started out as a high fantasy and I've invested so much in its magic system. Unfortunately, there's just no talking me out of converting it into a space opera because I've been writing fantasy for the past seven years and I got a little tired of forests, medieval villages, castles, and mountains; these elements of the story I'm more than happy to part with, but I do feel bad about losing the magic system. Dozens of unique spells and rules! Darn thing is, I haven't seen many recent space fantasy books with blatant use of witchcraft (I'm talking Tamora Pierce and Diana Wynne Jones-style witchcraft, as wizardish as you can get). Apart from Yoo Han Lee's Dragon Pearl, most other titles I've come across with actual wizards and spell-casting in space were self-published books with obvious disregard for industry standards and even age-appropriateness.
Any suggestions for keeping all the wizardry and yet cloaking it in a more psychic form?
Star Wars is magic in space. It doesn't have to be witchy/wizardy wand wavey kind of magic (really I didn't mean to make that all alliterate lol). Obviously you can't call it The Force or make it too much like The Force but you can still use more psychic/controlling some kind of supernatural or spiritual force/energy type ideas for how magic works in your world. I was thinking of Star Wars when I said that magic in space is cool.

In Guardians of the Galaxy, magic and high tech are kind of indistinguishable. I get the impression it's meant to be technology, but it's handled in a way that it looks like magic. Or if you had technology that was powered by some kind of supernatural-seeming force/energy type thing, then you're literally blending both.

There's also Thor from the Avengers. That's technically magic because he's a god with a magic hammer. Or maybe it's supposed to be advanced alien tech (in the Avengers films, as opposed to the original myths), but it works just like a magic hammer. Granted it's not like your classic space opera type thing, but it's still another way to do magic. And if you consider that The Avengers combines Thor with Iron Man - tech genius, nothing supernatural - you've got another blend of tech and magic. And in practice, there's not much difference. The difference comes in the backstory and explanation for what they can do.
Can you tell that my kids are making me watch the whole of Marvel Cinematic Universe while we're in lockdown? But it's aimed at your target age range. Granted it's comic books made into films but there's no reason why similar kinds of concepts can't work in novels.