S is for Science Fiction

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The truth  is, I don’t know where to start with this genre. If you want to go back all the way to the beginning, I think you land at a giant coloring book called Alfie in Computer City. I don’t remember much of the plot–Alfie gets sucked into a computerized world, I think–but I remember the book, itself. Three feet tall, and two feet wide, and it was a coloring book. It might have been the only coloring book I ever owned. Probably was. We’re not really a color in the lines family. (And let me mention, btw, that I did not color in Alfie in Computer City, either. I was a strange child.)

A little closer to the present, we have Star Trek, X-Files, and Doctor Who. Astronauts on the playground jungle gym, and a constant parade of friends who all seemed to fall somewhere on the SF—->Fantasy spectrum.

And then… nothing. I’m not sure why, but somewhere along the way, I stopped.

Don’t get me wrong, I kept reading sci-fi, and watching the fan-boy extravaganza, and enjoying other peoples’ what-ifs, but For whatever reasons, I never made the switch from consumer to producer. I don’t remember voluntarily writing anything Sci-Fi or Fantasy past about sixth grade. I don’t remember what made the difference.

Maybe the difference was that I was growing up, and starting to realize just how far away those worlds were. That even if I really did become an astronaut when I grew up, I’d never get much further than the moon. And fantasy… well, that’s just make-believe, isn’t it?

Peer pressure brought me back. I wanted to write something new–something different–something I thought my friends would enjoy.

I had been burning out on murder and violence in the thriller genre, so I decided to try murder and violence in some other genre.

Maybe that’s a joke. I’m not really sure. I don’t really think the science fiction I write is brighter, overall, but I do think there’s more of a sense of hope and optimism. The idea that things could be really good is there in a way that it isn’t when you have a corpse, and a killer to track down. More faith–if not in humanity, itself, in humanity’s potential.

And I find myself looking at the two and realizing that the similarities are there. I have weird and interesting relationships in both. That’s where nearly all of my stories start. A unilateral marriage here, a domestic triad there… the interactions between people who know each other well, or want to. Or want to hide things from each other.

It’s been a long day, and I wouldn’t doubt it, if you said I stopped making sense a few hours ago. But that’s S. One more day down.


  1. Reply

    I have always loved the “possibilities” science fiction and fantasy held, which as you say engenders some hope naturally or far out crazy stuff that might or might hold an idea that can be made real.

    I also love gadgets & tech, lol. I love seeing SF in the reality of our lives today–not exactly as it was in fiction, but the idea of it.

    Whenever you take an idea and make it “tangible”, you have to put “structure around it” which automatically changes it starting out.

    It is the reason that sometimes our dream are not what we expected, sometimes they are better, sometimes they are worse and sometimes the reality disappoints because it’s there but flawed. It is not our perfect ideal anymore or with the emergence the passion fades. I digress, sorry.

    I love playing with the human condition and spirit in the realm of science fiction and fantasy where I can use the shadow psychology of mythology, monsters, and superheroes. I also might write crime but in that world although I really would like to try my hand at Noir Mystery.

    I’m rambling too, but no reflection on you. You made perfect sense.


  2. Reply

    Great article, and I think your reasons are the same as a lot of people have for not even reading in the spec fic genres. For me, I stopped writing altogether at some point. But I don’t think I ever had any doubt that it would be sci-fi and fantasy when I picked up my pen again. The reason being that I find it so much easier to tell the truth about important things when the context is so … other. Nobody assumes I’m talking about them. That makes it so much safer. LOL

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