First off, a little bit of housekeeping. As noted in an earlier blog, I’ve given C.A.T. his own blog. But rather than you all hunting for the relevant post for the link, I’ve put it in the sidebar opposite. So if you tendencies are robo-feline inclined, head on over there…
Looking back over the stories I’ve written, I’ve found they basically fallen into two natural groupings.
The first is the near future with a political science message attached to them. The map shows where the published stories are placed. Yes, all places where I’ve been and seen. It really does pay to have experienced the places concerned, if you can. And where you can’t, look it up on the internet. There’s only one (as yet unpublished) short story set in a place I’ve never visited – Paris, if you must know – but there have been plenty of pictures available of the rooms concerned. So the information is there.
The second deals with the colonisation (or otherwise) of the Solar System. Clearly anything off-Earth means, like the Paris story, looking up the details in libraries or on the internet. Published stories are in the planetary systems of Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Neptune. What I find interesting is that though all the environments are more restrictive on what humans can do in them, I had great fun adding ideas and details to the planets. These stories are about working out what could be possible up there and how to deal with it.
So we have two very contrasting strategies and underlying reasons for writing science fiction. Are there any more?
What about the gung-ho space operas? You know what I mean – Star Trek et al. Good entertainment for a lot of people. But what makes us buy into these stories? Their sense of adventure or good triumphing over evil? Why can’t we set them up on Earth in the past, now or in the future? Other than giving the opportunities for new artistry in the planet-scapes, which is a visual thing, I don’t think I can point to an answer. In fact, it rather baffles me.
The obvious would have been the development of the human race. There were early stabs at that, like making people live longer so they could travel to the stars in their lifetimes. With the concentration of how humans interact with computers in the various guises, there doesn’t seem to be any how do we adjust to this environment or that being published these days. I’m sure I must be missing something here, but it seems an obvious hole for science fiction writers to fill.
Certainly food for thought…