Daily Archives: September 20, 2011

Science Fiction and Personal Obsessions

Status: I’m having beautiful hallucinations again.

So it’s theme week, it’s on the topic of Science Fiction. Originally, I was going to write about steampunk, but then I decided against it because I’m rather exhausted and in the mood for some writing that is more whimsical than I normally post. So forgive me for my soon to be rambly post, and I’ll try to cap it at 1000 words.

I don’t normally read or write science fiction. I mean, I do like reading some of it in some cases, but I rarely express preference in any genre because I hold by the tenet that I will read anything that suits my tastes and is of a good standard. So of course for certain genres I have a few hooks that define a story from the others, or in other words, tropes helps catch my attention. For example, for fantasy I must always have my dosage of magic in it. It’s a must, I will have it, or I lose absolutely all interest in the story and toss it aside.

For science fiction… I would suppose it would be mechanical marvels intertwining with old school class.

Oh look, we’re back at steampunk after all. Whoop-de-doo.

I have a very fond affection for Victorian/Elizabethan society. I love its sense of old beauty and delicate sensibilities rubbing shoulders with the rough riff-raff of lower society and the currents of dark corruption running underneath it. I always had the opinion that technological marvels helped accentuate this kind of divide and add nuance to it. Want a conflict, how about illegally-operated cyborgs assaulting the gentry? How about drugs implanted by electronic chips slowly destroying the commoner’s way of life? How about just plain old beauty placed into juxtaposition beside the wonders that the new world has to bring us?

The defining feature of steampunk is that it is different in tone from either of the two genres it takes elements from. Steampunk straddles the two genres of historical fiction and science fiction and the feel of both must be present in the story such that the reader can immediately appreciate the difference. It’s similar to science fiction and historical fiction as Rocky Ripple is similar to Fudge Chocolate ice cream. They are basically the same flavor – and yet be different at the same time.

Now, with NaNoWriMo coming up in just about a month or two, I have (and pretty much everyone on this blog) are starting to either 1) plan a novel 2) develop a plot 3) scramble for one. This year, I’ve actually gotten myself into a conundrum and have 4 (yes, you read that right) novel ideas. The choosing between the four of them to pick one or two of them to use during my NaNo as my novels in progress is not fun – but I have been almost convinced I have to write a particular story, this one at the very least.

The Immortal’s Cafe is another one of my exploratory novels. I have a (I’d like to say so myself) stunning cast of characters and a rather nebulous but intriguing plot. It’s about Immortals and dealing with the effects of their own actions, and how it puts them at odds with society at large in both the modern world and the old, Victorian society they used to live in and rule over. It’s a mash of many genres – adventure, steampunk, fantasy, mystery and horror – and at it’s conception I didn’t expect any steampunk elements to sneak in at all. However, I did get one character in particular who was a technopath and could control all mechanical gadgetry and electricity to a lesser extent. And from there, this character developed from being just a woman who takes care of the daily upkeep of a cafe to a woman who holds sway over technology and its advances. From then on, I had more and more steampunk elements creep in – birds made out of thinly wrought silver and powered  by steam, trains that travel between the two worlds… I shan’t say more for fear of revealing it all (it is something I’m trying to polish and get in a publishable condition after all). Needless to say, I’m going to be excited to tackle this new project in all of its monstrosity, and I’m going to have a great time with it.

There we go, that wasn’t too bad, now was it.

Jas


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