I’ve recently been made aware of a new race of people, a race that lives right alongside us and yet most of us don’t even know of their existence. These strange and wondrous folk are known simply as the Pebble People, and I have made it my goal to learn as much about them as I can.
As a science fiction writer one of things I have to be careful about is making my future worlds believable to my readers. This is particularly true when writing about the near future, as with the Faded Skies series, though even galaxy-spanning tales of the far future need to have a certain ring of truth about them in order to maintain an appropriate degree of suspension of disbelief. This doesn’t just mean getting the technology and science right, but also relies on making believably accurate claims about changes to the political and social landscape of the story’s setting.
As a result of real life intruding on my spare time, this month has been pretty quiet on the reading front. Even so, I’ve still managed to work my way through four books of the Dune saga, amongst others. And so without further ado, here’s the round-up of books read in August.
On Friday it was announced that Ben Affleck has been cast in the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman for the forthcoming sequel to this year’s Man of Steel, and my first reaction to this news was something along the lines of, “WTF?”
One of the arguments I regularly hear from the literati is that science fiction doesn’t count as ‘serious’ literature, usually backed up by the claims that sci-fi is nothing more than a pot-boiling thriller set in space, or that sci-fi doesn’t carry some deep and meaningful message like serious literature does. I’ve even heard all science fiction referred to as “cheap trash with absolutely no literary merit whatsoever”, and when I’m exposed to such uninformed assertions I can’t help but be incensed. Now, given that I’m a sci-fi writer myself you could be forgiven for thinking this is just a knee-jerk reaction, but I truly believe that science fiction (or any other genre fiction, for that matter) can have a place alongside serious literature.
As I’ve mentioned a few times already, one of my biggest flaws as a writer is an inability to stay focused on one project for long enough to finish it. Over the years this has led to a realisation that I get my best results by allowing for distractions and by working those distractions into my workflow. This in turn has developed into a tendency to have a primary project on the go, backed up by one or two secondary projects that I can switch to when my passion for the primary starts to wane. That said, this year almost all of my writerly time has been spent working on the rewrite of A Pocketful of Secrets, with mixed results so far. And so following on from my earlier discussion about the various projects I currently have gathering digital dust on my hard drive I’ve been having a think about which of those I want to take on as a secondary project alongside the work I’m doing on the reboot of Faded Skies.