Sci-Fi Writers

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craig
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Sci-Fi Writers

Post by craig » July 16th, 2010, 1:29 pm

So... any other sci-fi writers on here?

What kind of sci-fi do you write? Why do you like it? What draws you to the genre? What do you not like about it?

People around me tend to think I like sci-fi because of aliens and battles -- so whenever some movie or TV show comes on, everyone wants to know if I'm watching it. I'm actually quite selective in what I like and it's not really mainstream stuff.

I find that one of the strengths of science fiction is that it is a phenomenal way to explore the nature of humanity. You take these human (or possibly alien) characters, put them in an extreme setting with an extreme plot (something that can't be managed in contemporary fiction) and see how the traits inherent in humanity play out. For me... the plot is almost secondary and the setting is more of a backdrop... it's the characters that I am fascinated by. (I recently read a comment by a sci-fi author saying this exact same thing, but for the life of me, I can't remember who it was or where I saw it.)

So... for watching TV/movies and reading books, it can be difficult to find what I truly appreciate. One of the reasons I write what I do is to fill in the gaps I see in the current publishing landscape. If I can't find a book that is exactly what I want to read, I might as well write it myself.

My inspirations and influences range from movies (Moon & Children of Men), television (Delta State & Charlie Jade) and books (Karin Lowachee & Robert Buettner).

More than anything, I try to impart a feeling in my writing. With all of those movies, shows, and authors I just listed, experiencing their work has left me with goosebumps... with images and scenes stuck in my head that I just can't shake out no matter how hard I try... with hopes for humanity in the darkest of times... and that, above anything else, is what I try to accomplish with my writing -- I want my readers to feel the same.

PaulWoodlin
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Re: Sci-Fi Writers

Post by PaulWoodlin » July 16th, 2010, 1:47 pm

The SF that impresses me most is SF I could not write myself. Sometimes this is because the writer is a better artist than I am (Ursula K. LeGuin) or because they have tied science to imagination in a mind blowing way (Alastair Reynolds). I enjoy lots of other SF, but as I get older it gets harder and harder to get back that "wow" feeling I first got from reading Asimov's Foundation Trilogy as a kid or Dune in junior high.

It is much harder for fantasy to impress me because I focused on the Middle Ages as a history major, so I get to nitpicking about anything from battle scenes to unlikely feminism to magical theory. My disagreements with published fantasy often forms the world building I do in my own fantasy novels and stories. Stephen Donaldson actually wrote a book about how his disagreements with Tolkien helped form the Thomas Covenant series.

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dios4vida
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Re: Sci-Fi Writers

Post by dios4vida » July 16th, 2010, 2:17 pm

I'm a born and bred sci-fi fan, but I write fantasy. I think it's similar enough for me to chime in here, though.

I love sci-fi because in all honesty, reality bores me. I live a life full of struggles against myself and others, why do I want my entertainment to follow the same things? I love the escape and creativity of sci-fi/fantasy, and how completely made up things (Vulcans, Mimbari, Fremen) become so real. I love having a completely new, alien world to enter, learn, and love. You can explore so many things, both alien and human, in sci-fi/fantasy that you just can't access in "normal" genres. I love the freedom to do/see/create anything you want.

I guess it all boils down to the fact that I'd love to have magic or spaceships or really cool, awesome things like that. Since I can't have them in real life, I'll enjoy them in my imagination.
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Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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Re: Sci-Fi Writers

Post by jfw » July 16th, 2010, 6:40 pm

When I was younger I read Verne, Wells, Azimov, Herbert, Bradbury and Clarke. Huxley and Orwell, too. But I haven't really read anything modern or any of the "hard stuff". My WIP is science fiction with zero supernatural elements and no extraterrestrials, robots, "zombies", or space ships. It's probably unfortunate that it's in that genre because it has few elements of it, but the technological innovation it describes and depends on heavily is definitely in the sci-fi realm.

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maybegenius
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Re: Sci-Fi Writers

Post by maybegenius » July 17th, 2010, 3:24 am

Absolutely :) Currently I'm writing a Steampunk novel (in the sense that it takes place in 1901 and features technology that wasn't invented at that time), but most of my stories involve some sort of SF element. Alternate dimensions, string theory, evolution... something like that.

I just recently wrote a blog entry (plug plug plug... heh) where I talked about the misconceptions surrounding SF, and how it has this "Eeeeew nerdy" stigma, which is ridiculous. I can't help but roll my eyes when people, like my brother, wrinkle their nose at anything termed science fiction, but they still watch films and read books that are firmly based in SF. Like they think science fiction is all Star Trek and aliens.
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AnimaDictio
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Re: Sci-Fi Writers

Post by AnimaDictio » July 17th, 2010, 7:16 am

I aspire to write sci-fi. I have a killer idea which I'll plunge into some time next year, once I'm finished with my WIP. And then there's this idea which is barely story-level yet. I once dreamed about an argument between a man and his wife. She was android and he was trying to convince her to get an upgrade to her firmware, which would affect her personality. And she was very upset by his insensitive suggestion. That would be good for a short story, I think.

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Re: Sci-Fi Writers

Post by jkmcdonnell » July 17th, 2010, 10:50 am

craig wrote: My inspirations and influences range from movies (Moon & Children of Men), television (Delta State & Charlie Jade) and books (Karin Lowachee & Robert Buettner).
Just here to say how much I LOVE Children of Men, and I was surprised to hear it's classified as sci-fi - although, really, I don't have much of a grasp on how exactly science fiction is defined. (Anyone care to enlighten me?) Is Children of Men only classified as sci-fi because it's set in the future?

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polymath
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Re: Sci-Fi Writers

Post by polymath » July 17th, 2010, 11:07 am

Science fiction's imaginative motifs orient on fantastical science, technology, and/or social situations. Hard science fiction focuses on science and technology. Soft science fiction on social situations. Fantasy science fiction melds fantasy motifs and science fiction motifs. Many of fantasy science fiction's motifs have roots in fairy tale and fable folklore traditions.

Futuristic science fiction generally includes fantastical social situations, at least futuristic settings. Ray Bradbury's Farenheit 451 has a few fantastical gadget motifs, but is largely set in fantastical futuristic social situations. George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, another, Cormac McCarthy's The Road. While not exclusively, many soft science fiction stories fall in the dystopia category, and how central characters cope with the dilemmas posed by dystopian society.
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AnimaDictio
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Re: Sci-Fi Writers

Post by AnimaDictio » July 17th, 2010, 11:33 am

Polymath, that's the kind of sci-fi I like. The soft futuristic social stuff. You just named two of my favorites.

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polymath
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Re: Sci-Fi Writers

Post by polymath » July 17th, 2010, 12:01 pm

Soft science fiction probably has better potential for closer narrative distance than hard science fiction, where hard science fiction has greater potential for awe and wonder reader rapport. Soft science fiction's strength derives from it's personal, visceral nature. At root, soft science fiction depicts existential crises of identity and conscience and the accommodations to or resolutions of dilemmas posed by social dystopias. Soft science fiction allows for deeper interior journeys than hard science fiction.

Orwell's writing by and large is somewhat remote in narrative distance, Nineteen Eighty-Four is one of his closer narrative distance fiction novels. His closest narrative is Down and Out in Paris and London, but it's memoir. Bradbury's fiction writing is generally a little closer than Orwell's. McCarthy consistently gets in close.
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