Wednesday, August 18, 2010

3.00*10^8 m/s

The best definition I have heard for Science Fiction is that it is the genre of "What If?" Almost any science fiction that you read has a "what if" behind it, or even many "what if's". Everything, from Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, to the strip that Howard Tayler penned for today's Schlock Mercenary update has a "what if" behind it. Examples of this "what if" include Ringworld by Larry Niven, the Honor Harrington series by David Weber, the Admiral Thrawn trilogy by Timothy Zahn, Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, and the list goes on. I have read, or seen all of these, except for Doctor Who. I enjoy them and that's one of the reasons I took this class. I enjoy reading about "what if's." Heck, I enjoy coming up with them and writing them myself. Maybe one day you'll see one of mine in a book somewhere. If I can learn not to ramble so much.

A couple of links for you.


Andy Duncan said...

Who does the Writing Excuses podcast, Adam? Is Schlock Mercenary creator Howard Tayler one of the podcasters?

Also, just playing devil's advocate: Doesn't all fiction play "what if" games, not just sf? What if Keith Richards were an 18th-century pirate? (Answer: the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.) What if a spoiled Southern belle turned out to be the only member of her community strong enough to survive and thrive during Reconstruction? (Answer: Gone with the Wind.) And so forth ...

salsa said...

I guess I'll answer these in reverse order.

Yes it could be argued that all fiction is basically playing a game of "what if," and it goes doubly so for SF and Fantasy. I guess it would have been better if I had written the qualifier I did in class, but didn't get to mention. SF also looks at the evolution of technology and humanity. Schlock Mercenary for example has several episodic arcs that last the course of a book, but there is an overarching arc that deals with the socio-political effects of a new FTL mode of travel called the Teraport. Some of the consequences of it are a 100,000 year old galaxy wide conspiracy is brought to light, a war with Dark Matter Entities, DaMEs, is reignited after several million years. Once important stations and locations are now backwater, because of the convenience of the Teraport as opposed to the wormgate, which was the old system of FTL travel. A violent, supremacist race of fuzzy psuedo-koalazoids is unleashed on the galaxy. And these are just a few of the impacts.

Writing Excuses is indeed hosted by Howard Tayler, it is also hosted by Dan Wells, who is a horror fantasy writer, and Brandon Sanderson, who is a fantasy writer. One of the early podcasts even has an advert for Little Brother.