On Myself & Science Fiction

For those who actually are reading this, welcome and thanks a LOT for stopping by!  Any interest is great and I greatly appreciate it.

I have an author’s table at the Grand Rapids Comic Convention in Grand Rapids Michigan and leave…er…any minute now.  Last minute material issues pushed my physical table prop construction back by a couple of days and now I am trying to remain sane with only partially constructed models that have to be finalized at the hotel tonight.  So I am racing to get my print materials ready (not to mention the website)

If I am in disarray at the con, at least you know why.  As for myself and writing…

I started about a year back working on ideas for a book series set in a science fiction universe.  Each book will be stand alone read but all of the books will tie together as different elements of a long story arc.

I particularly want to write in the space opera genre as it has really had a mixed representation in current times.  The movie companies usually mangle it into a mash of mindless, shallow characters, weak plots and overly long and too frequent (and often pointless) action sequences.

In the published world, little space opera gets out to the public-at-large unless it is self-published and much of the self-published works are by neophyte writers with rehashed ideas and stories (though there are some great ideas out there as well).

Recently, I was able to “practice pitch” a few publicists and while they were looking for science fiction, they wanted a particular kind: dystopian futures, young adult reading, supernatural & horror elements and the like.

“SpaceOpera” in the traditional sense was not on the list — and it isn’t for most publishers.

So the average Joe and Jane reader who are nibbling at the edges of science fiction fare for the first time often see little they can relate to or understand.  Other readers consider space opera nothing more than pulp fiction and pay it no mind.

But it is through space opera and its offspring that many of the truly big ideas in science fiction have been presented.  Some of these ideas today are considered old school or overused but it is the popularity and inspiration of the initial forms that made these ideas commonplace today.

2001: A Space Odyssey, The Foundation Series, Starship Troopers, Rendezvous With Rama, Star Wars and countless other stories by many of science fiction’s greatest authors created whole new worlds and universes for readers to mentally inhabit — and they created them in such a way that they bled into the public consciousness and became part of culture.

But what publishers are looking for now are authors who write in predetermined genres with short, busy sentences and continuous action and activity to hold the attention span of the “Twitter generation”.

Character and story development take a back seat to slick and formulaic presentation.  A writer’s personal “platform” (how many people would be interested in them and their credentials) are more important now with many publishers than their actual story.  If you’ve ever read a book from the New York times best seller list and thought afterwards, “That really wasn’t that great”, then you probably have a good example of the effects of publisher driven writing.

My own goal is to create and present a series that can hold the interest of a younger or newer reader in science fiction but also build a story that an older, hard core fan of the genre can love.  We currently are having a boom in science fiction but with every one of these booms, a bust will follow.  Hollywood has a hard time showing science fiction at its best and so few new writers are getting a chance at print publication today that it leaves little room for new ides from new authors.  What would be tragic is to let market-driven economics of the day define science fiction by dictating the content of all its stories for the public .

Science Fiction owes a great part of its existence wholly to pulp fiction serials and space opera style storytelling .  Space opera doesn’t have to be bad or shallow — take Dune as an example — and there is lots of room for innovation and success in the genre.

I think this quote has summed it up best:

Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today – but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all.

Isaac Asimov

So I hope you’ll take an interest in my series, The Exitus Caeli Chronicles and I’d love to hear from you .  In particular, I would be thrilled to find critique partners and alpha/beta readers.

I’ll have more to come and it will be featured on a dedicated personal site in a few weeks.  In the meanwhile, find me here or email me at worldstriderAThotmailDOTcom.

Or come visit my table at GR Con which is running this Friday through Sunday.


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