Archives for science fiction

Fantastic Terminology

One of the great challenges in the depiction of worlds and phenomena distant from reality as we know it is mastering the art of the coinage. It’s not easy; take it from a writer who’s struggled with it for thirty years. Some science fiction writers are truly gifted at this art. Larry Niven, in his early “Known Space” stories, displayed a talent for introducing strange words as labels for strange things. For example, when he decided to allow faster-than-light travel in his fictional universe — always a chancy proposition — he gave us the hyperdrive shunt. He called the kidnappers
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Playing with Conventions

Every genre comes with its own conventions, ideas writers over the years have riffed on and embellished to suit their purposes. As a longtime lover of space operas, I was perfectly happy to join the tradition of fast starships, laser guns, and holographic videos. I wasn’t concerned with the science behind such things, for they are merely props to be used in advancing the story, and well-known ones at that. I embraced many of the conventions beloved to sci-fi readers—chases through space, robotic technology, interstellar civilizations. And I threw others out the window. For instance, even though Artificial Absolutes takes
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Reconciling Science Fiction and My Faith

This was originally on my personal blog, but I wanted to share it with you all as well! http://authorallenwatson.wordpress.com/ Dr. David Powers, who I mention in this post, is continuing the other half of this discussion on his blog. Here is the link to his page. Dr. David Powers – http://coffeescholar.wordpress.com/ I’m a sci-fi nut. Seriously, if I didn’t have to ever work again, I would likely spend my time watching sci-fi on TV, reading sci-fi, and writing more sci-fi novels. I’d be lucky to get out of bed. Why do I love science fiction? We all have our reasons, but I love
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George Orwell: The Gateway Drug

George Orwell: The Gateway Drug In high school, none of my English classes required me to read 1984. We did read Animal Farm my senior year and I secretly loved it, but never once did I consider picking up anything that wasn’t assigned unless it was about rock n’ roll or some Star Was adventure. The truth of the matter was that I loved English class, but the thought to read this stuff outside of class never once crossed my mind. And I made it all the way to the end of my undergraduate degree before this changed. I think
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Inspired By Who

Inspired by Who When I was somewhere around eight years old, I was introduced to The Doctor. My parents were having their carpets cleaned, so my sister and I were ushered over to a neighbor’s house for a few hours. They were good friends of my parents, and over summer vacation we would visit with them daily, but very rarely were we ever allowed inside their house. Most of the time we met under the shade of an old pine tree that marked the border between yards. I was a bit nervous. Usually when the neighbors were around, so were
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How SF has changed and why I don’t read dystopias

I saw a fascinating panel at Mile Hi Con about how SF has changed over the last 50 years, moderated by Paolo Bacigalupi. Really good observations by all, but what really struck me is the loss of optimism about the future. Dystopias are big. Series like Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games are megahits, and you can’t seem to get away from them. And when you stop and think about it, you can understand why. We live in what we would call the second Great Depression if we were really honest about the economy and unemployment numbers. Times are tough. People are looking for
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Why Sci Fi? (Part 2)

In my last post, I established the cultural value of sci-fi. However, just because it has cultural value, does that mean it has literary value? In order to evaluate whether or not sci-fi/fantasy belongs in the larger category of literary fiction, we first need to define some terms. What makes literary fiction, well, literary? And what makes sci-fi/fantasy, sci-fi/fantasy? Literary fiction, I feel, is best described as a thought provoking work of art in book form. They are narratives that transcend time, genre, and resonate with ideas. At its best, literary fiction should be a learning experience, a spiritual experience,
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Why Sci Fi? (Part 1)

As a genre, science fiction and its relatives (from horror, to fantasy, to dystopias) are by in large dismissed by the literary community. To me, to dismiss sci-fi and fantasy is to dismiss George Orwell (1984), Margaret Atwood (Handmaid’s Tale), Mary Shelly (Frankenstein), Bram Stoker (Dracula), Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels), and Beowulf, to name a few.  Recently, Pulitzer-Prize winning author, Michael Chabon wrote of his frustrations early in his writing career when his sci-fi flavored stories were dismissed and ridiculed.  On the surface, the literary community makes some good points. The otherworldly impossibilities are often times nothing more than imaginative
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A Tribute to Ray Bradbury

It was the future: 1999, back when the 2000s promised flying cars, silver jumpsuits, Y2K, and Jeston’s-like fare. For me, however, I was being introduced to the past. It was then that I went to hear a man named Ray Bradbury speak. At the time, I hadn’t read any of his work, but I sort of recognized the name. I thought it might be interesting to go and see a famous author give a talk, and I had to attend at least one public speaking engagement as a requirement for a theater and film class I was taking at the
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Why Sci-Fi?

As a genre, science fiction and its relatives (from horror, to fantasy, to dystopias) are by in large dismissed by the literary community. To me, to dismiss sci-fi and fantasy is to dismiss George Orwell (1984), Margaret Atwood (Handmaid’s Tale), Mary Shelly (Frankenstein), Bram Stoker (Dracula), Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels), and Beowulf, to name a few.  Recently, Pulitzer-Prize winning author, Michael Chabon wrote of his frustrations early in his writing career when his sci-fi flavored stories were dismissed and ridiculed.  On the surface, the literary community makes some good points. The otherworldly impossibilities are often times nothing more than imaginative
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