Uncommon Sense

November 6, 2020

Ever Want to Write a Fantasy or Science Fiction Novel?

Filed under: Art,Education — Steve Ruis @ 12:43 pm
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I have been engaging in the Q&A site Quora for quite some time and lo and behold, two Grand Dames of fantasy and science fiction, Mercedes Lackey and C.S. Friedman are dispensing fabulous advice to writers on Quora. Check them out of this interests you. I consider some of their advice to be priceless, and they are founts of wisdom on other issues as well. Ms. Lackey is an expert on birds, for example.

March 8, 2018

I Am So Tired of Apocalyptic Science Fiction

Filed under: Entertainment — Steve Ruis @ 11:02 am
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It seems that eight out of every ten science fiction and fantasy books being published is of the apocalyptic sort. Granted that many of the “new” authors are self-publishing and often try to mimic successful writing, especially through choice of topic, but still.

I have enjoyed a few such works, but really just a few. Somne of the things I have enjoyed about science fiction and fantasy is the experience of different cultures (even if fictional), how contact with completely alien species illuminates our own, the sheer adventure of traveling the stars, the technical conundrums that ensue from such risky explorations, the impact on the future of our species based upon exposure to the environmental and cultural forces of alien places, and so on.

Apocalyptic novels and stories exploit these same issues but from a standpoint that we failed massively as a species and have either nearly wiped ourselves out or are close to doing so. The protagonists are no less heroic, but the setting is depressing.

As a teacher I warned students, often, that if they look closely they will find that their best efforts as students, to date, were in digging themselves out of holes they themselves dug. I encouraged them to consider what would result if they skipped the step of digging the hole in the first place and learned to marshal those best efforts to get above where they were, rather than back to the level they started at.

Heroic actions in war-torn landscapes to me are not as interesting because the fighting is to get back to where we once were. I am more drawn to stories that extend from where we are not to where we might get. That is more inspiring to me.

Sadly, those works are being swamped by zombie and alien and human apocalypses and then people scrambling around trying to recover some of the better pieces. <sigh>

Your Friendly Neighborhood Pollyanna

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