I’m writing this blog for the Books to Brains blog tour, so if you just stumbled onto it be sure to click the links and check out the other fine authors involved. Of course, wait until after you’ve clicked my buy links. I mean really, that goes without saying, doesn’t it? 😉 This message brought to you by your friendly neighbourhood starving writer. Well, if you’ve seen me I’m not exactly starving, but it would be nice to make a living doing what I love.
I do a lot of cons, shows, festivals etcetera in the real world. It is necessary for an author to promote themselves, not only to their core audience, but to the people who may read one or two genera books a year. This means doing events that draw in a large cross-section of the population. I have learned that science fiction for many people is Star Trek and Star Wars. Their perception of our genera is defined by a spaceship. This is, of course, an erroneous view, but it is prevalent enough that it does affect sales.
I’ve had people look astonished when I described the world of my Tinker Series: (Tinker’s Plague: www.amazon.com/Tinkers-Plague-Stephen-B-Pearl/dp/1928011101/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 Tinker’s Sea: www.amazon.com/Tinkers-Sea-Tinker-books-Book-ebook/dp/B01F6FARNS/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 ) to them. “One hundred years after the generators stopped turning due to the exhaustion of fossil fuel and environmental degradation two high tech societies hold on around the old hydroelectric plants in what is today Ontario. Most of the world has degraded to a mid-1800s tech level and is littered with the leftovers of the pre-collapse world.” The, ‘that’s not science fiction,’ attitude tends to be quickly replaced by a ‘What else are you going to call it?’ realization, but the attitude is still there.
The fact that our genera can explore huge vistas of potential without needing a spaceship is demonstrated by many luminaries in the field such as Robert J. Sawyer: www.sfwriter.com/index.htm , My own works: www.stephenpearl.com spaceship ,and many of the works of Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov, and the list goes on.
The fact that there has been a history of major films that show the range of the science fiction genera such as Logan’s Run, Blade Runner, Jurassic Park and a host of others leaves me boggled that many people still have such a myopic vision of what falls under the Science Fiction banner.
Does the fault lay with us as a community? Do we as a group tend to fall back to defining ourselves as the space ship trash of the genera park because it is the path of least resistance?
Is it that the grandeur of works such as Star Trek and Star Wars has shaped the perceptions of a generation. I will admit, most people I’ve spoken to who had the narrow view of our genera tended to be my age or above. The problem with this is I recall shows from my youth, when dinosaurs walked the earth, 😉 that were earthbound post-apocalyptic science fiction. There was even a short run of a Logan’s Run tv series. (It straddled the fence between the book and the movie for background and was rather campy as I recall, but it has been decades since I saw it.)
Is it just that people are lazy, and a spaceship is an easy trope for them to hang their hats on?
In any case, in the quest to increase the respectability of the Science Fiction Genre (and sales) I think that broadening the general sociological perception of our genera behoves us.
Any fan of science fiction knows that the genera is better than most for exploring topics from the grand to the infinitesimal. Science fiction is a genera that at once is cautionary and hopeful. Stories from most genres cross easily into science fiction because it is largely defined by elements of setting. Look at much of Ann McCaffery’s work, in particular the Crystal Singer series: www.amazon.com/Crystal-Singer-Novel-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B000FBJAKU/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 they’re romance novels. Quite enjoyable, and this is a middle-aged, hetro, guy talking. The woman could write!
I guess what I’m saying with this last part is we should encourage a view of our genera similar to a swiss army knife. Yes, it is advanced tech, and spaceships can be part of that, but we are so much more. We are touching tails of loss, stories of vengeance, we reach from fallen worlds where starving cavemen stumble across a flashlight that empowers them to save a lost child, to universes where barely human, super entities trip from star to star with no more thought or effort than us going to the store for a loaf of bread. Let us encourage the world to see our genre for what it is broad, encompassing, thoughtful and above all forever evolving.
Thank you for your time and please check out the rest of Books to Brains.