Of Sci-fi and speculative fiction

I love science fiction, always have, always will.  But it’s the kind of science fiction that I love which I think is an important distinction. I’ve always subscribed to the idea that sci-fi comes in two varieties: classic and commercial.  The classical kind is the traditional variety that people take seriously, like H.G Wells, Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, William Gibson, Neil Stephenson, and Alastair Reynolds (These are just some of my favorites, they are by no means the only authors who were great at establishing sci-fi as a serious literary form.)

Commercial sci-fi, by contrast, is your basic stuff that owes much to the original masters but really didn’t follow in their footsteps.  Star Wars, Star Trek, Star Gate, et al (awful lot of stars in there!) are all examples of this.  This isn’t to say I didn’t like these shows, I grew up on Star Wars after all!  But to be honest, I never really found them particularly inspiring.  In all honesty, when it came to my own writing, they were more an example of what NOT to do.

Also, credit must be given to a friend of mine who once said that science fiction really isn’t a genre at all, it is a vehicle.  A vehicle who’s purpose is to deliver a message.  What that message is and how it is conveyed is what I think differentiates classic sci-fi from the commercial type.  Without a doubt, Frank Herbert’s Dune was the most inspirational work for me in that it delivered so much, and did so in a way that was both profound yet subtle.  He didn’t have muppet-style aliens who’s sole purpose was to reflect on humanity, he wasn’t preachy, his characters weren’t one-dimensional and his plots were never quick and tidy.  Characters were complex, his commentary was challenging, and his universe was rich and developed.

He was one of the greats that got me into writing sci-fi. Originally, back when I was still in school, I thought it might be cool to write a science fiction series.  I always loved drawing futuristic worlds and sci-fi stuff, but mainly I wanted to create my own universe. After reading his series, it occurred to me that I could turn my own ideas into short stories or even a full length novel.  I’ve crafted one full-length, called Legacies, and several shorts that are either set in the same universe or are completely independent. Since that time, I’ve also delved into some work that is a bit more contemporary, set in today’s world but with a sci-fi feel and spin.

The topics I like to cover are human evolution, extinction, exploration, colonization, society, technology, the cutting edge of things, and yes, even extra-terrestrials.  The longer I am here, the more I hope to post and share.  Hope y’all like what I have to offer! Enjoy!

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