can they just have hate sex already
picked up These Broken Stars from the library and from what I’ve seen via bookmad's posts, I think I'm about to destroy my life??
Lilac, These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (via loveyabooks)
There’s Greek mythology in all my books. I really can’t help it. It just… leaks out. I don’t know what I’ll do if I ever write a 100% secondary world (as opposed to parallel universe fantasy world as in the Skylark novels) and can’t legitimately reference Greek myth. >_> Probably explode.
Sometimes, during revisions/copy-edits/final-pass pages, I’ll read a sentence or a phrase or an idea that I originally wrote over a year ago and think, "Wow, that is actually kind of really good."
That thought is almost always followed immediately by one of two subsequent thoughts:
"Must have been a fluke."
"How come I can’t write like that anymore? I’ve lost whatever it was that made me able to do this…"
Fighting against these subsequent dismissive thoughts is, most days, at least 75% of my job.
So the answer to this question is actually rooted in the history of science fiction as a genre, and a subject of debate for decades. It’s not so much a focus nowadays, which is probably why not everyone is aware of the distinction.
Historically, “sci-fi” has referred to more pulpy, plot-oriented, big-explosions-and-half-naked-slave-girls type stories. Movies like Independence Day—which I love, mind you, but would never try to call deep science fiction—that make it big at the box office, but that would leave you scratching your head if someone were to ask “What was the bigger theme?” (…freedom? ‘Murica? Alien computers need malware protection? Will Smith looks hot in a flight suit?? +++error+++)
Whereas science fiction, classically speaking, is a genre that investigates intensely the human condition. In my opinion it’s the most intrinsically philosophical of all the various genres of fiction, though I’m certainly biased because it’s a favorite of mine. But by casting ourselves into the distant future, what we’re really talking about is what’s going on now in our society. Our current fears, our current questions. All the things we don’t know about the universe and wish we did, and all the things we’re too afraid to really ask about ourselves. A story about robots might really be about what it means to be human, and where we draw the line when it comes to sentience. A story about reincarnation might be about whether there’s such a thing as the soul.
Especially in the 80s and 90s, there was a lot of huffing and puffing about sci-fi vs. SF, and many believed that “sci-fi” was a demeaning term when applied to science fiction literature—that the abbreviation belittled its importance. (Imagine if you were trying to explain young adult literature being the diverse and moving and thoughtful category it is and someone came back and said in a skeptical tone: “Teenlit? Really?”) Proponents of the literary science fiction genre were frustrated at being dismissed by those who only saw the pulp, and never looked any further.
Personally I think there’s a place for pulp AND for literature. Yes, books like Contact and Stranger in a Strange Land absolutely blow my mind, but I also get a tremendous kick out of sci-fi blockbusters, too. I don’t think you have to only have one or the other. And I don’t think a single book, show, or movie has to be all under one umbrella or the other. I love Star Trek, and while many of the episodes ask really intense questions about our culture, our preconceptions, and our humanity, you also get episodes where the aliens get pissed (haha) off because the captain’s dog peed on a sacred tree, and episode arcs written solely so you can say “it’s the one where it’s Klingons vs. Nazis!”
To me, it’s rather like YA. Yeah, you have some books that are all flash and not much substance, and you have books at the complete other end of the spectrum, that stick in your mind and make you ask questions and then five years later you’re still like “What did that really mean?” Both are valid. Both are valuable.
If a flashy “teenlit” book gets a kid into reading who wasn’t that into it before, that’s awesome. (Not to mention that one person’s “flash” is another’s life-changer.) But that kid’s probably going to keep reading, and keep reading a lot, and will probably end up reading some really important young adult works, the kind that’ll change his or her life. And if a flashy blockbuster movie like Independence Day gets someone to go “You know what, actually science fiction is kind of awesome,” then that’s fantastic. Because you never know, they might eventually, one day, be led to pick up something deeper, one of those science fiction novels that asks the haunting and pervasive questions we’re too afraid to ask ourselves about the nature of humanity. And that’ll change them forever, too.
This got really long. Sorry. Bottom line: I’m usually not paying close enough attention to be intentionally trying to correct someone, so I wouldn’t worry about that, at least with me! I don’t take offense when someone calls me a sci-fi writer, not in the slightest. And sometimes I still use “sci-fi” and “SF” interchangeably, so it’s not like I’m a tyrant about it.
Call it whatever you want. But words do have power. And it’s nice to know where they come from, and why they do what they do. Because then you can choose how you want to use them.
I thiiiiink you might be talking about Starflight, an upcoming book from my fellow Hyperionite authormelissalanders. If that’s not what you’re talking about, then it should be, because how awesome does it sound?
(Also, I’m going to start requiring people to address me as “your majesty, Queen of Science Fiction.”)
Welcome to my feature, If You Like…. INSERT THING HERE. In this feature, I’ll be sharing books related to various television shows, movies, other books…. anything and everything!
I am a huge Trekkie and have been for a few years now. I love the new movies that have recently been made, however the original series will always have a special place in my nerdy heart.
Perhaps you lovely people are…
Dude, what company to be in! <3 (Also: good eyebrows as always, Mr. Spock.)
This tickles me ever so, because I’ve been a Star Trek girl since age 5 when I started watching TNG with my dad. Love seeing TBS on this list!