science fiction

Two Contemporary Authors Helping Me Fall Back in Love with Science Fiction

in_love_with_science_fictionFunny how the science fiction writers of my youth are now classified as literary. I'm talking Kurt Vonnegut, Ursula K. LeGuin, Margaret Atwood and Madeline L'Engle. I love science fiction, particularly when authors choose to use creative strokes to illustrate a lesson in society or human behavior. I do believe that Kurt's Harrison Bergeron is the best short story ever written. When Ursula showed up in town to read from her new poetry (!) book, I brought my daughter along in the hopes that some of Ursula's powerful thinking would magically rub off on us. I named by first car "Ananda" based on a note that Madeline L'Engle scrawled in my copy of A Wind in the Door at a reading.

There came a point, however, when the genre exploded in a great and terrible way. Writers pumped out books faster than boobie-ful space explorer covers could be painted. Plot lines featured more violence and war than thoughtful exploration of society through artful prose. I thought to myself, these books are not for me. I lost interest in the genre and no longer visited that section of the bookstore.


That's me and kiddo hanging out with Ursula at Elliot Bay Books in Seattle.

How grateful I am that Hugh Howey came along. I first heard about Hugh through self-publishing world. He wrote and published his own books and they were wildly successful. This garnered some attention. I knew more about Hugh and his publishing process than I did about his actual books. One Friday evening, I decided I better read one and see what all the fuss was about. I downloaded Wool, the first book in his Silo Series and and stayed up until I finished it. I immediately bought the next, then the next. I spent my entire weekend sitting on the couch reading his books. These were days well-spent.

Reading Hugh's books taught me that there are still authors with interesting things to say publishing in the scifi genre. When Kindle released it's "unlimited" program, I decided to browse the best sellers in the dystopian section to see if there was something that caught my attention. I discovered Marcus Sakey's Brilliance series. The same thing happened. I read the first one in one sitting, read the next one the following day. How horrified I was to learn that the next book in the series won't be available for months. For the first time in a long time, I am anxiously awaiting the publication of a science fiction novel.

Aliens Killing Humans AGAIN? Memes in Science Fiction Writing

aliensThis is a guest post by award-winning author Terry Persun, who happens to be teaching a science fiction writing workshop next month.

I know that Stephen Hawking has been quoted saying he thinks that if aliens exist that mankind should avoid contact with them. He claims that aliens are most likely to treat us similar to how the Europeans treated the Native Americans. That they’d look to conquer or colonize our planet.

And, of course, most movies and television shows indicate that aliens are strong and healthy, they have poisonous claws or teeth, and we look like food to them. A lot of scientists think that aliens would show up to mine Earth of its minerals and that maybe we’d become their slaves in doing so. (Why they wouldn’t just use their superior intellect to create a machine for that purpose is beyond me.)

So, yeah, I’m a science fiction author (part of the time), but even if I have criminals in my fiction, it doesn’t mean that I think every human on Earth is a criminal. So, just because some of my aliens are bad…come to think of it, many of the aliens I write about haven’t tried to take over the Earth at all. In fact, some are just trying to protect themselves against us, and some are (hold it, I don’t want to give this away)… My novel, BACKYARD ALIENS just came out and it doesn’t have that type of alien in it—pretty much, anyway.

I like to think that perhaps the aliens who find us (if they do) are the Greenpeace type of aliens. They’re out to protect us, not exploit or eat us. They are out to learn from us. Perhaps even share what they’ve learned, have philosophical dialogs, explore ideas on the meaning of life in the universe. Why not? If I were to answer that question, there would be more than one answer, as you probably know by now.

If I were to write about aliens again, perhaps I’d explore the ones out to do us harm in some way, whether they think so or not. Perhaps the aliens would come here to help us and in trying would kill us anyway. Perhaps the aliens might want to work with us, learn from us, and we wouldn’t have any of it. Our fear and mistrust would have us fighting back even though we wouldn’t have to. (Anyone out there read Arthur C. Clarke’s CHILDHOOD’S END?)

The truth is, as a writer, I like to explore ideas that might be different than the norm, but they still have to be interesting ideas, and the stories have to have some action, and be fun to read. So, if I were a lazy writer, I might have only the monster-type aliens, the bad ones. But, let’s think outside the box. Let’s explore all the options. Writing isn’t only entertainment, it’s intelligent entertainment (much of the time), and can help us to see the world differently—even a world with alien invasions.


Would you like to write a science fiction novel?

Join us for a memoir workshop this October taught by award winning author Terry Persun, Develop and Write Your Science Fiction Novel. You can get $25 off the lowest registration rate when you use the code get25.

Take this webinar if you’re ready to tackle that science fiction novel you’ve been thinking about, or if you’ve already written it and want to understand the genre better for your rewrite. More details here.

Terry Persun holds a Bachelor’s of Science as well as an MA in Creative Writing. He has worked as an engineer, has been the Editor-in-Chief of several technology journals, and is now marketing consultant for technical and manufacturing companies. Over a dozen of his novels have been published. His science fiction novel “Cathedral of Dreams” won a ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Finalist Award, and his historical novel, “Sweet Song” won a Silver IPPY Award. His latest science fiction space opera, “Hear No Evil” was a finalist in the International Book Awards this past year. His sci-fi and fantasy novels have been on the top 100 (sci-fi categories) on Amazon several times in the past year.