Saturday, April 29, 2017

A little dose of magic?!

Welcome back! Let's return to Charlie Jane Anders (author of All The Birds in the Sky) and #8 of her "10 Writing "Rules" We Wish More Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors Would Break"...


8) Magic has to be just a minor part of a fantasy world


This is one I’ve heard a lot lately — probably because of the success of George R.R. Martin’s novels, in which magic starts out as a quiet rumor at the fringes of Westeros, something most people don’t really believe in. It’s only once you get to the later books that magic really starts to become something that most of the characters are aware of. And this is an absolutely brilliant approach to fantasy writing, and a breath of fresh air — but it’s not the way all fantasy novels should be written from here on out. There shouldn’t be a law saying that magic should be kept to the margins of a fantasy world, any more than you’d say a space opera shouldn’t have too many spaceships. Magic should be limited, sure — but it can have limits and still be central to the characters’ worlds.

Squish magic in a little box?! Sure, a different world (and how did we get there?!) can survive without magic... but what is life without magic? Use as little or as much as you want! All I ask is that you use it consistently and that I can make sense of it without losing the story! There is so much magic and types we haven't really uncovered yet - so search for it, the world needs more... #teammagic


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Woman can't ...? Suck it up!

And in the writerly boxing ring we welcome  Charlie Jane Anders (author of All The Birds in the Sky) and #7 of her "10 Writing "Rules" We Wish More Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors Would Break"...

7) Women can’t write “hard” science fiction.

This is one “rule” that most people are at least sensible enough never to say out loud — but it often seems as though “hard SF” refers to novels and stories written by mostly white dudes. And women often seem to be shunted more into soft science fiction or fantasy. And then you get these discussions where people debate whether a particular woman author really counts as “hard science fiction.” To some extent, this comes from preconceptions about the types of people who read hard SF, and that indirectly influences expectations about who’s going to be writing in that genre. But especially once you broaden your sciences to include biology or computer science, you start finding lots and lots of hard SF written by woman authors.
(I kept Charlie Jane Anders' link for reference)

I don't read SyFy so I'm not really a factor, but whenever someone says "girls can't" do this or that, I have to pipe in at least: Girls and woman can do anything they want to - and you might be surprised at what they come up with - even more so because it may be a new approach. What better could happen to a story than a reader "jaw by foot"?!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Beam me up!

And in a flash of light we return to Charlie Jane Anders (author of All The Birds in the Sky) and #6 of her "10 Writing "Rules" We Wish More Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors Would Break"...


6) No FTL


Yes, our current understanding of physics tends to frown upon faster-than-light space travel — no matter what a few weird neutrinos may or may not have done. And there’s definitely a place for totally rigid, scientifically plausible fiction in which the very real difficulties of exploring our own solar system are explored. But then again, there’s something undeniably awesome about being able to jump to hyperspace, or warp speed, or whatever. And maybe a little bit less realism is needed sometimes, to amp up the excitement of space travel. Most of us grew up on big, bold space operas in which interstellar travel was unrealistically, thrillingly fast — and that’s still the portrayal of space that resonates with many people. Plus, FTL makes all sorts of other stuff possible, including space warfare and lots more first contact.

Honestly, I don't care if your protagonist travels faster than light or not. For me it's not so much about physics and plausibility. Sure, it may be convenient at times, but just think of all the things missed out on if he would travel a conventional way? Sure for all those who want it fast paced, ftl may be perfect, but for me, the one who likes to paint pictures and where characters drive the story, I hold it with Confucius: "The journey is the destination" - or at least a good part of the plot!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Let me open a door for you...

... and guide you to Charlie Jane Anders' (author of All The Birds in the Sky)  #5 of her "10 Writing "Rules" We Wish More Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors Would Break"...


5) No portal fantasy


The “portal fantasy” is a mainstay in both science fiction and fantasy, even though it’s mostly used in the latter. (You could argue that Hitchhiker’s Guide is a “portal fantasy.”) In this type of book, someone from our world discovers a pathway to another world, where he or she is our relatable everyhuman explorer, and we discover this new world through his or her eyes. It’s a tried and true notion, and Lev Grossman gets a lot of mileage out of it in The Magicians — both Brakebills and Fillory, in different ways, are strange worlds that Quentin visits from the “real” world, and there’s a lot of portaling. But we’ve heard many people say that “portal fantasy” is over, and so is the neophyte who learns about the magical world over the course of a book. Now, everybody wants stories where the main character is already steeped in the magical (or science-fictional) world as the story begins.
But as we argued a while back, there’s still a lot of awesomeness lurking in the concept of an ordinary person traveling to a strange world. There are so many ways to tell that story, and so many metaphors buried in the notion of someone being thrust into a weird new world. Isn’t that what we all do when we start exploring genre fiction? I think to some extent, this is something that die-hard genre fans have seen too much of, but these sorts of stories could still have a lot of appeal to mainstream and newbie readers.
(I kept Charlie Jane Anders' link for reference)

I totally support breaking this "rule". Please open new doors, portals or whatever else you can open to help me enter new worlds! I want them ALL. I'm actually convinced that's where I went as a child when I got totally unresponsive as has been documented by a score of caretakers and family members. Isn't this what books are about? Escaping into worlds of magic that remove us from daily live, responsibility and ... news? I go from one room to another through a door (usually), why not let me continue entering another world through a portal of whatever kind? The only "portal fantasy" I find somewhat annoying if the only thing the protagonist does is try to get back. Like, really? You enter a new world (probably because he was depressed, lonely, or got something wrong) and all he wants is to go back? But if we get to explore and make the most out of it:

                                        GET ME THERE!