My sci-fi

Now that I've revealed the Secret Project as a science fiction novel, I want to clarify what I mean by sci fi. Like any other genre, it covers a wide range of subgenres and as it turns out I am kind of picky.

My sci-fi is human-oriented and somewhat realistic. No monsters or aliens, which I consider kind of cheesy and a story crutch. There may be other life out there, but I think they make for weak stories, because most of the time, aliens are used as stand ins for exploring human drama. So why not study the human drama directly?

Oh, and no time travel. The ultimate story crutch. It's the high fructose corn syrup of plot devices, overly sweet and the end result is just wanting more.

My sci-fi is driven by human drama and human society. Call it social science fiction. It's not 'hard' sci-fi, which is defined as sci-fi that is driven by lots of 'hard' physical science. Hard sci-fi often comes off as written for the author's amusement rather than for the reader. And the hard sci-fi crowd thumps their chests about how they follow actual physical laws, except when they don't, because wouldn't that be cool? Fiction about the laws of physics or biochemistry is not really dramatic, especially when you get the feeling that Geordi will just channel power from the structural integrity field at the last moment to save the day.

Social science fiction is more concerned with how human society will develop in the future. Are there better forms of government or economics or family arrangements? There are plenty of examples of this subgenre from every point of view (one of the most audacious for its time being Robert Heinlein's 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress'). Still, this kind of sci-fi is relatively hard to find as one can see that most sci-fi stories swing between high tech dictatorships or enlightened democracies.

My sci-fi is the kind that tries to report back from the future, or a version of the future. The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson delves a bit into these issues, for example. While outlandish futurescapes may be fun to gawk at, they're pretty lightweight as far as exploring ideas unless they have a link to something realistic. And the best sci-fi is idea driven.

1 comment:

mizerock said...

I plan on "validating" your SciFi work by self-published a bunch of fan fiction a few weeks later. Maybe the American Dillweed can do some "slash" fiction based on your worlds and characters.

It's gonna be awesome.