New Uprising Segment

April 24th, 2008  |  Published in Fiction, News, Publishing, SciFi, Stories, writing

I just posted a new Segment for Uprising, so go check it out

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The Future is a Diamond Mine

April 23rd, 2008  |  Published in SciFi, Society

The other day I was directed to the transcript of a speech by Science Fiction Author Charlie Stross, in which he talks about the changes that will be wrought by massively and cheaply available bulk storage.  Anyone interested in what the future might look like (and by that I mean just about everyone) should read this.  Fantastic stuff.

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The Blurring Line Between Science Fiction and Fantasy

April 23rd, 2008  |  Published in Fantasy, Fiction, Publishing, Science Fiction, SciFi, writing

In response to one of my posts yesterday, crochetyoldfan noted that it looked like I was espousing the view that the line between Science Fiction and Fantasy is being blurred (the rest of his blog is interesting as well). Although I hadn’t been thinking about that topic while I was writing, it is one that I have meant to write about for some time now, so now is as good a time as any.

First of all, I am not saying that Science Fiction and Fantasy are merging, unless you consider bringing them both under the banner of Speculative Fiction achieves that (which I don’t). What I am saying is that they share more similarities than differences. There are several reasons for this.

The first is that there is considerable overlap in goals. As I mentioned yesterday, one of the primary goals (in my opinion) for Science Fiction is to take current situations and remove the social baggage that is attached to them so that we can look at them from a fresh perspective. This definitely carries over to fantasy. There is room for debate as to which situations are best dealt with by which genres, but I would be surprised to see many fans of either genre say that either one is incapable of doing this.

The second reason is that both genres inherently contain elements of the others. For example, take Faster Than Light, right now it is as much fantasy as it is science fiction. On the other hand, what makes magic systems work for readers has a lot to do with how consistently they are presented, similar to the way an SF author will extrapolate science and technology to present a compelling vision of the future.

My final reason is that technology today has reached a level of incomprehensibility that effectively renders it magic to the majority of the population. This is not to make the elitist argument that people are stupid or ignorant, but merely that you have to have a compelling interest in technology to actually go to the trouble of understanding it (and a lot of this probably has to do with our education system, but thats another discussion). Most people could not tell you what a horsepower is or what clock speed means, much less explain something like cryptography, although these things all figure prominently into our daily lives. As a result, the perspective of a person reading about magic and looking at technology will become increasingly similar.

So is this blurring of boundaries good or bad? One could make the argument that it is simply the result of the growth of the genres and as such can’t be classified as either good or bad, but I would disagree. I believe that both of the genres are important, both as forms of entertainment as well as art that is meant to make the world(s) a better place. Very little bothers me more than when I see Science Fiction fans/authors bashing Fantasy or the reverse, usually with claims of things like escapism, as though one genre can gain some legitimacy by bashing the other. Both of them are valid, and every second spent criticizing any genre or art form is a moment that could be much better spent promoting whatever it is that you enjoy. The world is a messed up place, and if we are to have any expectation of progress, it can only come about if we abandon our prejudices, whether they be about race, sex, religion, or art.

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The Purpose of Science Fiction

April 22nd, 2008  |  Published in Fiction, Publishing, SciFi, Society, Stories, writing

Sometimes, when I am writing, I worry about how accurate my depiction of technology will be, but I have recently come around to the point of view that it doesn’t matter all that much, so long as it is internally consistent and has a compelling story/characters. This is because only one of Science Fiction’s jobs is to deal with the future. Another is to take situations that we see today and look at them in a different light, from different perspectives, stripped of all the glit that is placed on them by tradition, the media, and society in general.

One of the reasons that I’m bringing this up is that I’m currently working on my Uprising project, which is the first science fiction that I’ve written in a while (having mostly been focusing on fantasy). I’m sure that the majority of my predictions will either go too far or not far enough, but I’m not writing simply to try and guess what the future might look like, I’m writing with the hope that readers will be able to positively affect that future.

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