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Discussion > Science-Fiction > Science fiction and quirky not-really-literary stuff

Science fiction and quirky not-really-literary stuff

Ben (September 25th, 2002, 4:45 am)

I had a whole lot to say about 30 minutes ago but it's late at night and my mind is a sive (is that how you spell that?). Anyway, what I remember:

Recently I've been writing a fair amount of non-SF, realistic short fiction (and by "fair amount" I meant "10 pages I was forced to write for class"; I really need to get some motivation). There's some sort of immediacy that you get by writing about cool, quirky, almost-but-not-quite-everyday-life types of people and situations; I'm not sure how to describe it, and I'm not sure how it can transfer to SF -- after all, if you're writing about someone's everyday life in the future, you don't have access to all the evocativeness of using real everyday life, because that future life is very different from ours and perhaps somewhat strange, and all the subtle nuances you put in get overshadowed to the point of meaninglessness, the fine edges get dulled (did that make sense?)

But then again, maybe "literary fiction" is the refuge of people with stunted imaginations who can't suspend their disbelief enough :). I recently discovered Sandman, an absolutely awesome comics series ("Comics for intellectualls" it was called by some famous person whose name escapes me) by Neil Gaiman, and I think he may manage to embue his fantasy stories with more than enough rich nuance and everyday quirkyCoolness (check out "Death: The High Cost of Living" for an utterly brilliant example). Made me realize how out-of-touch I've gotten with (for want of a less horrendously corny term) my sense of wonder by getting me back in touch with it. Great stuff, highly recommended (though so far I've only read the first part of 10).

Ah. I believe that extended ramble managed to touch on every topic I'd been thinking about. Cool.


cruise (September 26th, 2002, 2:00 pm)

Yeah, sandman rules. Gradually trying to build up my collection :P

Technology changes, but people often don't...I think a lot everday-ness can be conveyed through peoples actions, wants and desires, irrespective of the world they are placed in...

"My mind is a sieve."

Narainsbrain (October 7th, 2002, 11:48 am)

"I before E, except after C." Useless if you don't know that an 'I' is supposed to be there in the first place. :p

Well, I wish I had more to say, but I find myself just concurring with your posts... like my mind is water, flowing only in the furrows that have been dug. Uhh.

I've been there, where Ben's talking about - start all enthusiastic about a fantastic, imaginative scenario, start putting it all together, then realise that the setting's disconnection with real life makes it next to impossible to put in the subtle... um... [scrolls down to Ben's post for help] nuances that make a not-so-far-fetched story compelling. Only thing that can be done is heavy-handed shoveling-on of more weirdness in a desperate attempt to retain the reader's attention...

Okay, I don't know about you guys, but I think I was doing that with Mira. One of the reasons why I took a break from writing it... a small reason, though - the major one was plain and simple laziness. :/

But then Cruise is right too, and especially in a 'big' people-centric story the clever placement of human touches can - or do - make the difference between an average piece of writing and a Really Cool Story. Takes a lot of skill to do it right though, I'd bet.

Ben (October 12th, 2002, 12:23 am)


Thanks. :)

I should get around to writing stuff one of these days. Busy with classes and all that, but that's not really an excuse. I'll do some this weekend. Solemn vow.

cruise (October 13th, 2002, 3:47 pm)

Takes a lot of skill to do it right though, I'd bet.

To my mind, it is /the/ difference between a good writer and a merely average one.

spinning-plates (January 25th, 2003, 9:17 pm)

I generally write surreal urban fantasy type stuff, myself.

Real quick...

Semirrahge (January 28th, 2003, 7:15 pm)

That "connection" is one of the reasons Heinlein is one of the greatest Sci-Fi writers' we've seen to date.

All his stories have a (to quote from an intro to "The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag") "Been there, done that" quality to them. Take Starship Troopers, for instance. Can any of us relate to living under such a political system? I don't think I can grasp what the econimic system would be like. But, we don't really recoil in shock from the alienness of it. In fact (at least for me), I actually felt like I _understood_ it at the end of the book. People are still people.

Anyhow, I'm getting closer to my departure date so I can't continue.

Discussion > Science-Fiction > Science fiction and quirky not-really-literary stuff

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