In the footsteps of others…

Someone, who will remain anonymous, has recently described my science fiction as a mixture of William Gibson and Alfred Bester. It certainly is a weird mixture of thinking big and having to deal with detail. Hm!

I’m not going to argue – a person always sees themselves differently from others. After all, they have lived with themselves longer than anyone else and therefore know a lot more background about themselves.

When it comes to writing, an author knows how awful their writing was when they started and they know the route they took. A reader does not have the luxury of that background knowledge in any detail. So getting comments on how readers perceive your writing in a summary as good as this is a wonderful gift.

For one thing it can help an author analyse their writing and start to look where they can make improvements in their writing style. For another, it also gives them some idea of the markets they ought to submit to. (I’m still trying to think of a market that likes a mix of Alfred Best and William Gibson – and here is William Gibson talking about Alfred Bester.)

BESTER 1975 photo in Hell’s Cartographers 1975 credited to Jay Garfield no route to original but maybe good enough from book
BESTER 1975 photo in Hell’s Cartographers 1975 credited to Jay Garfield 




Both have written about strange worlds – William Gibson invented the word ‘cyberspace’ – this alone should tell you something. Bester’s two most famous novels deals with telepathy in police procedural (The Demolished Man) and teleportation (The Stars My Destination). In fact the latter novel has been described as the ancestor of cyberpunk.

What both have in common is the ability to describe worlds based on radically different tenets and how they affect people. That is quite a legacy…

My Uranus novel has that touch of a new world (only to be fair I got greedy and tried to describe two new worlds in one novel). So I can understand the comparison. Only one problem. The anonymous commentator did not have access to any stories from my Uranus world. That person must have seen something in my ‘more ordinary’ science fiction that I did not realise was there.

Which makes me both pleased and rather humble to be compared style-wise to these two great writers.

But my writing seems to have some merit – my C.A.T. story, Dust in his Eyes, has received an Honourable Mention from the Writers of the Future contest. This is good going considering that it is chapter 4 of my C.A.T. novel and had two large loose ends at the end for novel reasons.


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