I’ve devoted a lot of time on this blog to my interest in alternate histories and steampunk. But I have other genres that interest me. I even have pieces of written in those other genres. They are terrible, and will likely never see the light of day, but I have written them.
My major interests trend toward science fiction and fantasy, which is a reason why steampunk appealed to me in the first place. Melding historical and fantastical, and a dash of science… Yes, please. My true magnum opus (if I can ever get the courage to do something more ambitious) is a space opera style story. I’ve got the characters, the basic storyline, and a few fun ideas.
Science fiction grants a writer the opportunity to literally create new world’s on the page for their readers – alien world’s filled with creatures and dangers beyond our wildest imaginations. Then, flip the story, make it personal, relatable, allowing the reader to see that it doesn’t matter how my heads you have, whether you are solid or vapor, or what color your skin is, we all have hopes, dreams, fears, and a will to survive. Plus, I really love writing and reading about epic space battles. I can’t help it, I am basically a 12 year old in a 35 year old body.
In the interest of giving equal time to science fiction, I thought about some of the things that I have done in my science fiction projects, and the rules I set for myself as a writer.
I try to make any technology in the story relatable to the reader. It’s purpose and use should be plausible, given the level of technology in the story. You shouldn’t have a race of primitive cave dwellers that have the ability to travel through space – or perhaps you can – as long as you can justify it within the confines of the story in a plausible way. Although, I don’t feel that it is always necessary to go into extreme levels of detail in the story as to the inner workings of a transmat device, for example. As in the real world, I imagine the majority of people would use such devices without knowing a great deal about the technology – just a basic knowledge of how to operate it, and what the desired outcome of using the device should be. Too much technical detail can bore the reader.
I try to stay consistent with the physics in your story. Is FTL travel a possibility? Have other means of interstellar travel been invented? Perhaps travelling through wormholes, or the implementation of warp drives in your characters’ ships allows the travel between two distant stars. I have opted for the latter technologies in my project, as I find travelling faster than the speed of light to be too much of a stretch of the imagination.
With alien species, I try to keep it diverse. Sure, there are lizard-like species in my story, grays, and even a small squirrel-like species, adept at crawling through ductwork and repairing ships. But all of those species are fairly humanoid; two arms, two legs, a head, eyes, nose, and mouth. I have tried to add some newer elements. I have a race of living electrical current., which has no physical form, but can interact with the rest of the universe. I also have several silicon-based life forms I’m toying with. Since these are written works, I don’t have to worry about special effects. So the more out there, the better.
In all seriousness, I try to make them relatable. Fear of death unites us all. Working against a common enemy is another great uniter. However, at the end of the day I try to do what all authors do: show the readers that despite our differences, we have much in common.