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Tag Archives: dark sci-fi

I’m no brain surgeon so when the subject of technology and physics terminology and logic popped up on one of my Facebook writing groups yesterday I read a lot of the posts and commented where I could. I was happily surprised that there are a few other authors like me who don’t go into the hard science perspective, preferring to focus on relationships (sometimes I can’t help it, my first publisher was a romance publisher) in a futuristic society complete with aliens (think Katy Perry’s song ET here).

I suddenly realized that there are two different camps in sci-fi: hard science and what some wonderful author called “low-tech” sci-fi (if you are her or know her, please connect us so I can proceed to give her credit due) which I think fits my level of sci-in-the-fi. In any case, I love the term. Many of those authors on the group give effort to trying to keep the science and physics correct which I love them for; I posted that while I love reading hard science, I’m not qualified to write it. But I do love semi-military sci-fi just because I dig giant alien killing or scorching big guns. So, what’s a low-tech science fiction author to do?

Well, I think that doing/showing/exposition should be done…simply. What I do is try to describe the ship, what I would like to see in/on it. Now, it’s a bit difficult for me to picture highly developed aliens who can travel across galaxies not having the wherewithal to include some nice, luxurious accouterments. That is unless they closely resemble the alien in Alien the movie, in which case their body structure is so different from us that hanging upside down is a way of sleeping rather than a spine stretch. Oh, and also if the character or characters are supplied ships via their military or are self-employed and dare I say it poor. Now that it is possible Mars had water and possibly life forms and similar environment to our own, it might not be so far-fetched that they might have similar physical and mental evolutions. Again, cue the ET song. My only hope is they don’t look like what one reporter called the “Spoonhead” aliens in Close Encounters.

So I like to think that my readers might think like I do: girls can carry big guns and have alien boyfriends and all aliens are not rich in the traditional sense. They have to work too otherwise a relationship is going to suffer in some way or another. And just because the aliens do not believe in or have any type of religious structures, they can understand the concept of “giving” whether it’s selfless or not, and can have a sense of fairness and justice in one way or another. Just maybe not our sense of justice.

Take Alekzander Brede for example. He cares absolutely nothing at all for what humans, even in their dystopian society, consider priceless: gold. What matters to him is physical power instead. On the other hand, Elektra Tate who worships him would love to have anything that could pass as money just to eat.  He makes his own justice and has no compunction against killing anyone for any reason most of the time just because he can. His size and physical strength dwarfing humans makes no one question him and pretty much everyone to avoid him to remain alive. Only Elektra is fairly safe and I mean fairly safe.

But again, I don’t go too much into the hard science factors. And, if I do, like I posted, I use what little science I’m familiar with–not in the Brede Chronicles–but in other series where I’ve used DNA evidence in unusual ways. But I try to simplify it so it’s not too daunting and is interesting to a reader. Like I posted it’s all about relationships. Why is that? Because what good is a book or story if humans can’t relate to it? And at this point, aliens are all conjecture.

I think if you’re writing commercial sci-fi you’ve got to make it comfortable and understandable to your audience. If you introduce something too strange or even just difficult to think about, you’re going to lose readers. And Lord knows that one of the last things an author wants.

That’s the lecture for tonight.

Good Night my little Imperfections!


Well well well! Another year older and deeper in debt. Actually I’m not in debt, thanks to God and a good bit of common sense in the form of my family! I wrote about the New Year of 2011 and now I’m doing so again for 2012. Once more I’ve been busy, more so I imagine due to making writing presentations to other authors and writing groups; attending my writing associations’ meetings more often; and finally finally trying the self-publishing route instead of a publishing house. My baby, Isadora DayStar, finally came together as a real novel and putting it out there myself taught me several lessons about the self-publishing aspect of the industry. One thing I learned after being absolutely terrified of the enormous instructions on formatting: literally pages and pages and pictures and pictures that made me procrastinate after reading them over and over. That is until I realized that I’d already formatted it in Word and that I knew the formatting after the requirements of my publishers! They were basically the same and incredibly simple!!

However, not so simple was taking on the job of complete self promotion not because my pub houses did it for me previously but because I did not have the mental and emotional security of having a publisher behind me regardless how much or little their participation in promotion was. Pretty much publishers are scant with promotion these days due to budget constrictions and/or being e-pubs with virtually no budget whatsoever so authors are one their own for the most part. Remember that when you fly into a dizzy tailspin trying to keep up requests for reviews of your novel! I also was responsible for the editing and grammar of my book; normally something I relied on my editors to do in the final sequence of publishing my novels.

Finally, as if sent from above, I found the perfect book cover art and artist for Isadora! I’d tell you the price but you would never believe me. It was perfect right to the font used!! That was probably the most fun of my self-publishing experience. Now I’m not saying you’ll have the same experience. Yours might be better or worse or at least the same relatively speaking. I didn’t make a million dollars in one month, I didn’t expect to. I did get damn good reviews and that I did not expect either! Isadora DayStar is an odd sort of a novel…dark but hopeful…gritty and grim though not too explicit…but she somehow worked her way into reviewers’ hearts just as she did mine.

Was self publishing the right path for me? Yes and no. I learned a lot. I worked a hell of a lot harder. I found formatting a lot less intimidating but editing more difficult. Do I regret it? Again, yes and no. If I’d known the wonderful response that Isadora DayStar would receive, I’d probably have submitted it to a publisher if not an agent. But then again, I retain all the rights which, if you don’t know by now, is a big deal in more than one way. Especially since more than one reviewer wished for a series of Isadora DayStar.

Is self-publishing right for you? That’s something you have to answer for yourself. No one can accurately decide or advise you on that but yourself.
My situation was slightly different because I self-pubbed after being published by several publishing houses (e-book and print formats) so my experience level was several notches up from a novice. What will your experience be? Hopefully good. Wishfully great. But whatever it may be take something positive from it: learning. It certainly can’t hurt!

Here’s to a successful 2012 for you, me and all those hard working authors! May this be the best experience yet!

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