Yet another initiative has been announced to encourage the writing of science based science fiction from an establishment interested encouraging people to become interested in science and getting hold of ideas for scientists to develop into reality. But when I was at Waterstones the other day I had to hunt through the shelves for such novels and short stories. Yes there’s the standard list of authors I can immediately go to. Only problem is I’ve already read most of their books. There is very little new being published.
This is nothing new. It has been going on for some years and I suspect that the amount of sciency science fiction is slowly dwindling. It’s one of the reasons I published SFerics 2017.
The anthology, all six stories by different authors, highlights the near future technology, pure and simple. But it’s technology that has rarely appeared in science fiction. Unlike my generation, the younger generation is now growing up without the benefit of science fiction to tell them what technologies they might have to deal with later on life. They are being forcibly blinded to their future.
We all know how Andy Weir became a best selling author – he self-published parts of The Martian on his website. His readers asked for the serial to placed on Kindle and then a publisher approached him to publish his novel in print.
So here we have an example of sciency science fiction writer struggling to get his work published. He was successful because of his developing fan base, not because of the publishing industry, though they did eventually wake up to his popularity.
But for every successful author there are quite a few who don’t make it even though they have the ability to produce a good story.
So we have a gap between
- the science establishment on the one hand wanting more ideas generated in science fiction to help them direct their research
- the science fiction publishing establishment on the other hand who don’t seem interested in publishing the sciency science fiction
So what has changed recently?
Well, the proof in that last five years that the sciency science fiction accelerates the development of technology that is successful in the market place.
… and still the publishing industry seems to be ignoring this.
We have seen the established sciency science fiction writers veer towards fantasy or the propounding of political issues in long established science fiction built worlds. I’m not going to cite examples here because it would be unfair to pick certain writers out, but I’m sure readers can readily think of examples.
What I have said here, I have said before in different ways on this blog. So what are you thinking has happened to bring this topic back to the forefront?
To be honest, I’ve been seriously spooked. I’m in the middle of editing my novel, getting it ready to tout round the publishing industry. Then I stumble across a couple of science articles that have relevance to my novel.
The first article requires a little background scenery change on my part, but nothing serious. Until I think again about the further implications and check up a few facts. So it’s now a few paragraphs worth of changes. But hey, it gives me something new to say in the novel. Something the scientists would be interested in looking further into. Something that has serious implications for the development of future world building in science fiction. As you can see this is one of those ripple effects where a small disturbance leads onto bigger and onto an even bigger one and so on until the whole issue gets out of hand. For the purposes of my novel, it’s not a big issue. But for the future of science fiction, it is.
The second article was the one that really shook me. Mysteries exist in nature and they are ripe areas of exploration for the sciency science fiction writers. One such mystery plays a key role in the my novel. And yes, I tried to solve it. Well, what else could I do? Then along comes this discovery that says my ‘solution’ is in the right ballpark. So what, you may say? I used the solution to create significant implications for my characters. Scary implications. Implications that as far as I’m aware nobody else has thought of.
So here I am, editing a novel, wondering what I really have on my hands. A sciency science fiction novel with implications on the realities of the future. And thinking the way the publishing industry seems to be biased against such novels, there’s no way it’s going to be published. Sound like mission impossible to me.
My mission should I choose to accept it, is to get my novel published. As always, should my novel get published and be successful, the other Publishers and Agents will disavow any knowledge of having been contacted by me or knowing of my novel. This message will self-destruct in ten seconds! Good luck to my novel.