Throwback Thursday: Things That Make Me Happy

This is a flashback to May 15, 2012. And remarkably it is all still valid. Kindness has moved up the list, not that it was in any particular order. And I’ll add that I like being semi-retired. Happy 4th!


bcd96-nightskyI was reading Chuck Wendig’s blog, Terribleminds, this morning and he mentioned something about avoiding negativity and to keep things positive. Talk about things you like, he said, so I am going to make a list of things I like. This is not a comprehensive list or in any particular order, just things that came to mind this morning. Keep in mind that I got up at 5:30 A.M., and I’m a bit groggy.

Things that make the happy:

-I like being married. I love my wife. That’s an easy one, but I actually like her too. She’s very concerned about making our lives better all the time, and she rarely slows down. I wish she would take more “me” time frankly, but it makes her happy to take care of her family. She’s extremely smart and is usually way better than average at anything she devotes time to. She is a great caregiver for our kids, and they have turned out pretty awesome so far (they could always take an ugly turn off the road into the deep chasm, but so far they are turning into awesome adults, that I actually like to spend time with.) Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: Things That Make Me Happy”

Richard K. Morgan’s new novel, Thin Air, is Hugo Worthy

I just finished Richard K. Morgan’s latest release, Thin Air. It is gritty SciFi at its finest. Morgan seems to have leveled up in his writing, over already highly regarded and award-winning previous work. Every sentence is crafted with care. It is a Master Class of immersive third person point of view writing.

d949b-thin2bair2bcoverI listened to the audiobook version, which was read by Colin Mace, and for me, it was a perfect fit. Mace hit the ball out of the park and became the embodiment of Hakan Veil, the hi-tech ninja of the future and protagonist of what I hope is not a standalone novel. It is a new character and setting of sorts for Morgan. He alludes to his concept of the Mars colony and COLIN (Colony Initiative) in Thirteen, which I have started today. I just downloaded the audiobook.

This story had me riveted from the start, and didn’t let go. It is the best science fiction I’ve read since Ancillary Justice, which won the Hugo. This work is certainly good enough to be in consideration, but it has very adult themes (read graphic sex.) Morgan has included this with intention and I hope it doesn’t take him out of the running. Continue reading “Richard K. Morgan’s new novel, Thin Air, is Hugo Worthy”

Things I Like

I was reading Chuck Wendig’s blog, Terribleminds, this morning and he mentioned something about avoiding negativity and to keep things positive.  Talk about things you like, he said, so I am going to make a list of things I like.  This is not a comprehensive list or in any particular order, just things that came to mind this morning.  Keep in mind that I got up at 5:30 A.M., and I’m a bit groggy.
Things that make the happy:
-I like being married.  I love my wife.  That’s an easy one, but I actually like her too.  She’s very concerned about making our lives better all the time, and she rarely slows down.  I wish she would take more “me” time frankly, but it makes her happy to take care of her family.  She’s extremely smart and is usually way better than average at anything she devotes time to.  She is a great caregiver for our kids, and they have turned out pretty awesome so far (they could always take an ugly turn off the road into the deep chasm, but so far they are turning into awesome adults, that I actually like to spend time with.)
-Ditto being a dad.  I wish I made more time for my kids.  How lame is that?  I think I would be a better parent if I gave them even more of my time, but I take time for myself instead.  I have nothing to complain about with my kids generally.  They are caring and smart and stay out of trouble.  At this point, that’s probably enough.  The fact that they are going to be someone that I’m proud of when they leave the nest to take on the world is just gravy.
-Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is delicious! Yes, it’s made from a box, from massively processed cheese, but it’s like mana from heaven.
– I love a great internet connection.  Is that weird?  It makes be cranky when I don’t have one.  I made up my mind that I will never live anywhere that I can’t get high speed.
– I like hot dogs with just mustard on them — even better when the bun is warm.  The Dog Shed is a little family place in a small town close to where I work and they make the best hotdogs ever!  Baseball parks are a great place also.
-A great science fiction story that noodles my head really flicks my bic!  I am a huge Star Wars fan, but the brainy, thinky stuff is really a turn on for me.
– I love rock music.  Especially guitar oriented stuff and usually the heavier the better.  I do like my music to have a melody though, and I don’t usually enjoy the screamo stuff, but I can tolerate a little if the music is great.
– I like art.  Good use of color does something to my brain.  In that vein, comic book covers have a particular draw for me, even though I am trying to wean myself from buying them.  I usually gravitate toward fanciful themes or outer space type things, but I am open to just about anything cool.  I draw and have been dabbling with pastel chalk, and hope to find more time for this at some point.
– I still like to play video games.  Great writing really flips my gibbet and I am enjoying the hell out of Star Wars The Old Republic right now.  Diablo 3 is coming out in a few days, so I’ll probably get that.  The last two versions were outstanding.  There is a dark side to this if I play too much, I feel like I am not doing anything productive with my time, and the older I get the more important that is to me for some reason.
– I dig writing.  It’s more than that, it’s beyond liking.  It’s more like breathing.  Writing for me is a psychological ibuprofen.  It makes me feel better about how I spend my time; even when there may not be any really gain for anyone else.  It feels like I am accomplishing something and maybe the illusion is more important than the reality.
– I like honesty and integrity.  I want more people in my life that are genuine.
– I like clear nights where you can see forever and the stars of the Milky Way are all over the sky.  I love flying at night, even when the weather is bad on the ground, we can usually get above it and see the stars.  It fascinates me, and I think about just how humongous our universe really is and about other deep stuff, like why we are here.
– Contrarywise, I love sunny, clear days.  We had a day this week that was mid 70s with a very light breeze and no clouds.  Days like this make me think how lucky we are as a species to be able to recognize that life in the universe is so fragile.  The Earth is in the sweet spot in its rotation around the sun so that we have liquid water.  We have a large moon that blocks a lot of asteroids and creates tides and wind and stabilizes our atmosphere.  We have large planets further out that block more stuff from hitting Earth.  Everything works perfectly together to allow us to live on this ball of rock, it’s simply amazing to me, and laugh if you will, but confirms my belief in God.
– I like going to the movie theater.  It’s an event.  Not so much fun alone, but when you have family or friends to go with it’s kinda magical, like you are suspending time briefly.
– I like to read — all kinds of stuff, books, blogs, new articles, magazines.  I find that I like to fill my downtime with reading. 
– I like kindness.  It fills me with joy when I see someone do something nice for someone else, especially when it’s out of the blue.  I just like it when people are nice, it’s that simple.  You never know what kind of day the other person is having and sometimes a nice gesture can make their whole day.  Why not bring some light into the world.
– In the same vein, I like manners.  I’m not sure when we went off the skids, but I know I appreciate it when people give respect to others.  We are all human beings and I think we all deserve a little respect, no matter what your station.  I even call our office cleaner sir. 
There is probably a lot of other stuff that I like, and maybe I’ll do another one of these sometime, but I need to get back to studying for my test.  Don’t get me started on things I DON’T like…
Clear Ether!

Prognosticating 50 and 100 Years Ahead

There seems to be a lot of people making predictions these days about the future.  I love this stuff. Always have.  I made a future timeline when I was maybe 13 that went a hundred years into the future.  It was fairly detailed, and I think I still have it somewhere.  I need to find it so see how we are doing.  I also did a self-portrait of me at 53.  That is almost dead on, except I thought I would have a little more hair on top. These things are fun to do and they help us science fiction writers have a baseline to project from in our worldbuilding.
Charlie Stross broke his down nicely into categories and I am going to follow suit.  So, here I go, putting on my thinking cap.  This is an extremely long post.  Just warning you now.
50 years from now … 2062
Climate 2062
It’s hard to refute the data that the globe is warming.  But if you go back even 35 years ago they thought the Earth was cooling.  I’m not completely convinced that man is having a significant impact on the change, but regardless, the climate is changing.  If we are to blame we certainly don’t appear to be on a path to change our ways.
There is a great deal of speculation about whether or not greenhouse gases are going to keep increasing and by how much.  An increase could trigger a cascading affect that will accelerate the effect.  Will it continue to rise or maybe only rise a little and stabilize?  The earth has sustained a great deal of change over the millennia, but a lot of these changes weren’t really compatible with human or mammalian life.  The natural system seeks balance, and does well to adjust to catastrophic events like massive volcanic eruptions.  But, if we really are to blame and continue to pump CO2 and halocarbons into the atmosphere we could push ourselves into a really desperate situation. 
My prediction is the global temperature will increase by a few degrees and stabilize.  There will be some geographic impact, like changing coastlines as a result of some glacial melting.  The climate in some areas will no longer be able to grow the same sorts of things, but it may become better suited for other things. 
Energy 2062
There is a global push to reduce the use of fossil fuels and it will continue.  Solar keeps improving and so do batteries.  I think we will see a major change in rechargeable batteries both in capacity and efficiency.  We will be getting close to commercial cold fusion but it will still not be viable.  I think nuclear will make a comeback.  It’s green and although the initial expense is high and probably going to increase to improve safety, once it is up and running it is a reliable source of relatively cheap energy. Coal is on the way out in most developed countries.
Transport 2062
No flying cars, yet.  I think airliners will still use the same sort of engines as they do now, although they will be much more fuel efficient.  FAA and global aviation authorities are moving to a more and more automated approach.  I think pilots will be there only as a safety measure for passenger hauling.  The aircraft will be automated from takeoff to landing.  Pilots will likely still be taxiing to and from the runway.  Cargo aircraft will be unmanned.
Piggy-backing on the improvement in batteries, automobiles will be all electric with solar adaptors for long hauling.   Metropolitan areas will continue to improve mass transit.  I think we will see trains and trucks still moving cargo cross country and automated cargo ships with minimal manning to move cargo across the oceans.
Population 2062
We’ve seen people move to the cities at the turn of the 20th century only to move to the suburbs midcentury and now the trend is reversing again.  Major city hubs will continue to grow, and some larger cities may combine.  Sprawls like Dallas-Ft Worth come to mind.  It’s almost one metropolitan area already.  I think the family farmer in the US will continue to dwindle.  Rural areas will still have populations, but the farming will mostly be done with automated equipment.  I’m not familiar enough with the European farming situation to comment on it. 
World population growth may stabilize somewhat.  The one trend I see is that education and industrialization appears to impact people’s decisions to have large families.  As the economies of China and India continue to grow I see those two massive populations stabilizing.  The big question for me is if Islam will continue to grow.  We have also seen every major religion have its day in the sun and then fade in power/popularity. 
My prediction is that the growth of Islam will stabilize also and as Arab cultures adopt a democratic philosophy we will see improvements in education and slowing of population growth.   Most of Africa is trailing but I see a spreading of education coming that will fundamentally change the political environment there.  South America will continue to improve economically, with Brazil becoming a major player.
Politics 2062
I see the rise of China and India continuing.  I don’t have a topic for Economics here but I think in the near term Europe and the US are going to continue to struggle.  I’m not sure we’ve seen the bottom yet.  I’m not convinced the Euro is going to survive and if the European economy tumbles further it will drag the rest of the world with it.  The market is truly global now and even though the world markets will still be there in 50 years we may be at the pinnacle of a global attempt to join together.  I don’t see global unity when I look ahead.  I think we are seeing that trying to force together populations of greater than 10 million starts to become unmanageable.
From a military standpoint, the Western powers will continue to be dominant, but China and India will join them if they aren’t already there.  There will not be one world superpower, although the US will still be the most technologically advanced and strongest from a purely military ability standpoint, but it will be much smaller than now.  Gross spending for defense will be in decline I think accept for China and possibly India.  
I think there might be at least one major world event in the next 50 years — either an even more serious financial catastrophe or a major war.  I’m betting on the former, which may push us into the later.
Space 2062
We may have a viable commercial transport to space by 2062.  The question is to what?  I can see that at that point there may be multiple projects for orbital stations and maybe a presence planned for the Moon.  We may be on the way to Mars, but there will be no permanent station yet.
Food 2062
As the population continues to grow food production will be increasingly more important.  I think people will get over their aversion to genetically altered food.  We will start to see a proliferation of vat grown meats.  I don’t see the world going vegan.  We may see improved food production globally in places that aren’t currently doing a very good job. 
In metropolitan areas, you will be able to do all your food shopping online and have it delivered.
Technology 2062
I hear talk that Moore’s Law is going to be over by 2062.  I don’t think so.  People are already working on the next great thing for computer chips, from Graphene to Molecular Molybdenum, to Bose-Einstein condensates.  Something will work to get us to an even smaller level, perhaps even subatomic.  Quantum computing may be close.  I think Nanotechnology will have improved dramatically and we will have industrial ability with new composite materials.
It means we will have faster speeds, more memory and greater capability to mimic the real.  I see video games continuing to become more and more lifelike.  I think tablets will become pervasive along with some version of the phone/wrist computer.  Many companies are working on a holographic user interface or control mechanism.  It’s been an ongoing concern for at least seven years already.  In another 50 I think they will have solved the issues.  The Xbox 360 Kinect has already shown a lot of promise and this technology will be mastered within the decade.  It will have far reaching effects for virtual or augmented reality.
Robotics will continue to improve, with more physical capabilities to mimic human manipulation and we may see some surrogates emerge that allow people to stay at home and interact with the outside world through their robot.  I think this is likely.
Internet 2062
I see a merging in the future of cellphone companies, telcos and cable providers.   They provide the onramp.   There will be ubiquitous high speed internet and most metropolitan areas will have full-coverage wireless, with a push for global wireless started.  I think the bandwidth will evolve if everything is already connected, and I don’t see it costing more, I see it costing less to get online.   Social media will be an integral part of life for everyone across the globe (of course there may be pockets they aren’t but I see those dwindling).  With the way cameras and cell phones are proliferating I see aspects of lifelogging starting to become mandatory for safety and legal issues. 
I see television programs moving to internet fulltime. Media Stations, like NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX etc will become just another source provider for the interwebs.  
 Medicine 2062
I see a “cure” for most cancers and even HIV.  By cure I mean it will be completely manageable.  Our medical scientists have developed a hubris that they think they will get to the root cause of everything within the human body by breaking down the various systems into smaller parts.  They think by understanding a small piece will allow them to solve the root cause, but the human body is so complex and interconnected I seriously doubt we will be anywhere close to this within the next 50 years.   I worry a little about the prevalent use of antibiotics at the drop of a hat.  There needs to be a lot more research done to advance our knowledge in this field and get ahead of mutating bacteria that are resistant to almost all strains of our current stock of antibiotics.  The potential is there for a major outbreak that we will struggle to control.
Scientists have mapped the human genome and will probably have mapped most of the brain and subsystems of the human body by then.  The computing power will be there.  But simply mapping the systems doesn’t give a special insight into how they are connected necessarily.  It doesn’t answer root causes for certain diseases.  I think we will be a long way to curing a lot of things that we can’t now, like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.  Life expectancy may increase by another 20 years by then.  I expect to be around to see this.
100 years from now … 2112
First off, I don’t think we have to worry about the Temples of Syrinx running the show.  But who knows, in a hundred years a lot of things can happen.
Climate 2112
Global warming may have continued to the point where it is now creating major shifts in climate.  Some parts of the world may be too warm to live in without air conditioning or living underground perhaps.  Canada and Siberia may become the breadbasket of the world.  Lower US, much of Europe, China and India will have some problems to contend with. 
My personal feelings are that sometime in the next hundred years we will figure out how to capture the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the problem will be solved.
Energy 2112
We will have commercially viable cold fusion.  For the small stuff solar powered rechargeable batteries will run everything else.  And by everything I mean everything, from doorknobs to adjustable solar panels to cars to houses to climate controlled, green, self-aware buildings that will adjust to maximize their energy input and pollution output.
Transport 2112
Flying cars might be viable now.  We have the propulsion and automation to make them safe and reliable.  You won’t be able to fly them though.  They will be completely automated.  You will get in and tell it where to go and it will calculate the safest and fastest way to get there.   Jetsons?  Maybe.  But these aren’t really designed for long voyages.  Airliners will be around for that.  I know Boeing and the other aerospace companies are working on a highflyer that is almost leaving the atmosphere with a deltawing design that is extremely efficient.  They may even be supersonic by then.  Passenger jets will have actual pilots as a failsafe, but everything else will be via drone. 
Efficient mass transit in all cities.  But here’s the thing.  There won’t be as much need to travel.  The world can come to you “virtually”.  Have you seen the movie Surrogates? It won’t be quite like that but I don’t see anything stopping us from having Robots that can travel for you and you will be able to see and hear everything they could.  Everything else can be brought to you.
Population 2112
I’ve seen a few predictions that the future will be filled with old people living in huge cities afraid of the sky.   Perhaps, but it will be because we’ve solved a lot of aging issues that have allowed the life expectancy to go well past 100, maybe pushing 150.  The real questions are how will virtual and augmented reality, the use of surrogates and ubiquitous social media affect the psychology of our society?  We will become like Asimov predicted in his robot novels and stop having human interaction?  That will have a huge impact on population growth. 
I think that the basic family unit will still interact with each other.   I don’t think we will all be sitting in a recliner slurping our dinner through a straw like in WALL-E.  People like to go the local watering hole for a drink or out to see a sporting event.  I think stuff like this will still be a part of our culture.  People will still play sports; the internet stuff will just be another part of their life like watching TV is now for most people.  The majority of people will still go to work, because, let’s face it the employer wants to know what you’re doing.  You will be monitored also.  A lot of professions may telecommute though.  Obviously it will depend on the industry you work in.  Restaurants will still be around.  The restaurant has to have cooks and servers and a supply chain.  You get the idea.
Insurance and police/legal system will require everyone be lifelogging from birth.
Politics 2112
HellifIknow.  I imagine a few wars will have changed the face of a few areas of the world.  The only constant is change.  I still think the major players, like Britain, France, Spain, United States, Australia, Japan, China, and India will all be around in some form or fashion.
Space 2112
I hope to God we have a lunar base by then and maybe a fledgling base on Mars.  Assuming we can get stuff to orbit cheaply it will open up the entire solar system.  Time and acceleration are still the big barriers.  You can only push a human body so hard before it becomes jelly.  I think 30 Gs is about the max you could withstand for any length of time if you lay in your back in an acceleration coach.  How long though?  A few hours at best, and I honestly think that is pushing it.
Food 2112
We will get more efficient with what we have.  The world will be producing food in most areas of the globe that will support it by then.   Urban farming will become common, inside and on rooftops.  Genetically altered food will be the norm.
Technology 2112
People will be monitored either by their own equipment or by someone else’s pretty much 24/7.  Augmented Reality is pervasive.  Voice control for everything in your home.  Your couch will know how soft or hard you like it and recognize you.  Your house will know all your preferences and be completely automated, unless you just don’t like it that way.  Your “computer“ system will have a voice and  holographic interface and display, and it will cover all your multimedia needs.  You will also be able to do most of your multimedia anywhere with a portable device that will display in holographic 3D.
We will see neural interfaces starting to become common.  Basic integration with either an implant in the eye or glasses. 
We will have the technology to get personal invisibility devices, but they will be outlawed for most uses.
Nanotech is making major breakthroughs.  We will be expanding 3D printing into new areas and developing basic matter teleportation, but only inorganic material.
Internet 2112
It will be so pervasive as to be like the road in front of your house.  It’s part of the landscape.  We are connected through neural implants or our house/appliances.  It will be effectively free.  Revenue for the providers will come through advertisements and the sales generated through your preference package they have been able to build, based on everything you do or like.
Medical 2112
We will have solved a great many diseases.  People will still get the flu and common cold though.  We will have a workaround for blindness and hearing impairment.   Nanotech will have little monitors for the bloodstream and other major organs that will report to your lifelog, for preventative care.  At birth you will have monitors installed. 
We will have solved a great deal of the issues with aging.  The decline at the end will be fast.
We will have the ability to grow organs for replacement.  We have the technology to clone humans, but I seriously doubt it will be allowed.
Overview
This seems very pie in the sky to me.  I’ve left out so much.  There will be terrible things that happen along the way I’m sure.  Catastrophes of every sort — hurricanes, floods, food shortages, wars, plagues, who knows what.  We will overcome all of these things along the way though.  Our population is so spread out now and so large that we can absorb a lot of damage and keep on truckin as a species.  None of the major events of the past century have really slowed down progress, no more than a speed bump.  Only a global disaster of unprecedented proportions will slow down our development.  I pray that doesn’t happen.
 

I hope you enjoyed it.  Clear Ether! 

Pimping a book: Gabriel’s Return

Do you like Science Fiction?  If you do, you will love the new series by Steve Umstead.  I read a review comparing Evan Gabriel with Snake Plissken and it is on the mark.  Think Snake Plissken on Mars, subtract the cheese, add a dollop of interstellar intrigue and pulse rifles and you have the world of Commander Evan Gabriel.

This is a new thing for me, I’ve only done a few book reviews in my time, but when I heard that Steve was releasing his second book and looking for a little help generating some interest I jumped in with both feet.  Hope you don’t mind if I wax eloquently on his new release.  No fancy bells or whistles here, just old-fashioned word of mouth.

I met Steve on twitter about a year ago and he was still working on his first release, Gabriel’s Redemption, and I immediately liked him.  When his book was published I bought it knowing full-well that it was self-published and wanted to throw him a bone, but it was extremely well-crafted, WITHOUT a lot of the pitfalls you hear about in the DIY format.  But that wasn’t all, the story moved fast and even though the protagonist is a grim man, it captured my attention from the word go.  I absolutely love his “Neuretics”, they are one of the cooler concepts I’ve read in quite a while.  Frankly, I’d love to steal this concept for my novel.  His near future world is extremely believable and his projected technology works like a charm.  Neuretics are a form of integrated brain-slash-nervous system-slash-secure internet-slash-radio tech that thoroughly rocks my world!  In Gabriel’s Return we find Commander Evan Gabriel in a happier place, and with a love interest.  I have to say the new life suits him well, even if he’s not entirely comfortable with it.  The second book is so often a letdown, but in this case it is an upgrade to the original.  Steve is getting better as a writer and it shows.   This Clancyesque story line takes us across the galaxy, but the stakes are more personal and more meaningful, ultimately creating a much more satisfying story.  I honestly can’t wait for the third book!

There is a great deal of discussion on the interwebs about traditional publishing vs. self-publishing and I for one haven’t decided which way I’m going to go, but Mr. Umstead is showing us how it’s done on the self-publishing side.  These books do not have typos or grammatical issues or discontinuities.  He has done his research and obviously has a very good editor.  I think Steve could go traditional with this series and I haven’t asked him why he didn’t, but I can tell you he is pumping them out very quickly now — all three in this trilogy within the same calendar year.  I’m guessing that has something to do with it.

 

The first two books are out now, the first available in soft cover or eBook, and the second only available on eBook currently with the 3rd novel in the trilogy coming out before Christmas!  He is shooting for a 1 December release.

I’m not going to go into detail on the plot, there are plenty of reviews on Amazon if you care to read them, in fact you can read the first three chapters for free here.  Stop by #pubwrite on twitter and say hello to the mayor, Steve Umstead himself.  I put my money where my mouth is, and it was well-spent.

Well done, sir!

"What’s it about?"

I don’t know about you, but when people find out I’m writing a book, they get very excited and ask me what it’s about.  I have a real problem here.  I actually get a little embarrassed by this question, as if being a science fiction writer is akin to being a junkie or a male prostitute or something equally vile.  I don’t know why.  I love science fiction!  I mean I rarely read anything else, I love almost all the genres of SciFi equally.  I also like the vampire genre a great deal.  There is some really great stuff out there, and some really crappy stuff too.  I’m hopeful that mine’s not falling in the latter camp.
My WIP doesn’t fall into an easily definable category.  It’s not a vampire story that has roots in the Dracula type vampire, at least not completely.  It has elements of the traditional vampire, but mine are called Nemesi and they started from an alien virus.  See? … science fiction.  


The evolution of the story was organic, and even though the story arc is fairly linear, there are a lot of elements of different SciFi genre, as well as an entire story arc centered around a young woman, adding in more complexity.  I can’t think of another story that is actually “like” mine, so it’s hard to tell someone something like, “It’s like Stephen King and Anne Rice mixed together with a dose of Rod Serling.”  (Although that might be very close…j/k)


So it normally goes something like this: 
“That’s so cool that you’re writing a book, what’s it about?”
“It’s science fiction…”  


Then it goes one of two ways.  I measure their reaction.  If it’s an encouraging smile, then I try to explain a little bit more:
“It’s about an Air Force pilot that gets turned into a vampire and it’s a long time into the future…”  Something along those lines.  Sometimes they ask more, but usually they just nod and say, “That sounds cool, I want a signed copy.”  Like somehow I will have a truckload of them to give away for free.  Of course I’d be very excited to sell them a signed copy, at cost for crying out loud, don’t look at me like that!


or


They give me a clown smile, clowns are scary.  You know, a demented grin, like they are patronizing me.  Actually they are patronizing me. So it ends awkwardly, and we part company.


I really need to figure out how to answer this question with confidence and clarity.   Anyone else having this problem or is it just me?


Clear Ether!

Do Genres Hurt or Help?

Genre derives from the French around 1770 referring to independent style.  It is useful when looking for similar types of literary work, but it can be very limiting.  In Science Fiction alone there are 10 sub-genres listed in Wikipedia plus one for other, which covers a lot of ground left untouched.  Then there’s mixing genres, like fantasy and science fiction or romance and horror, referred to as paranormal romance.  Romance is very popular in most genres it seems and there is even a new sub-genre for science fiction called Science Fiction Romance.

I understand the desire to be able to pigeon-hole a story into a neat little genre so the retailers know how to market the novel.  I also understand that people tend to read in one or two genres and tend not to drift too much from their favorites, and being able to label something as a specific genre helps the reader knows where to look.

Genre can be a good thing for an author if they fit neatly into one; their readers know right where to find them.  But it can be an albatross as well, if a writer wants to write in a different genre.  I’ve heard stories of writers being shunned because they wrote a book in another genre.  Personally I think that just plain sucks.  Writers should be able to write whatever they want.  I know several that write comfortably in more than one and I think it helps keep the creative juices flowing.

What if your story doesn’t fit neatly into a well-defined genre?  The current work-in-progress crosses several genres and I’m not sure how I am going to market it.  Even coming up with a good tag line for it is difficult.  It’s parts Space Opera, Military SF, and Paranormal Romance.  I’m not even sure which one would garner the most traffic.  No matter which way I go I’m bound to turn off someone.  Some people don’t like vampires or romance or science fiction.  I guess I am looking for people just like me, but I haven’t met very many that share the same likes and dislikes exactly like mine.  I don’t want to be stuck writing the same stuff over and over either.  I like fantasy.  I like adventure stories.  I like historical fiction.  Maybe I want to write in all of those areas.  I guess that is another check in the plus column for self-publishing.  But, I’m still undecided on that front.

What do you think?

Clear Ether!