Friday, May 20, 2011

Dey took er tropes!

Now, I've never read any of Iain M. Banks SF books, but I saw this article on his thoughts about up and coming  SF writers, and funny enough, it echoed what I had said not too long ago over at Worlds Unimangined. Granted, I didn't say it ever-so eloquently, but I tend to believe in relaying the message via blunt force trauma.   

From Bank's article:
Science fiction has its own history, its own legacy of what's been done, what's been superseded, what's so much part of the furniture it's practically part of the fabric now, what's become no more than a joke . . . and so on. It's just plain foolish, as well as comically arrogant, to ignore all this, to fail to do the most basic research.
 And to add to this excellent point: it's just not science fiction, but also fantasy as well, where people rehash tropes in a clumsy style, not realizing it's been done before. If you want to write SFF you have to, have to, have to read it. Sorry, but it's not like contemporary fiction where all you have to do is live life (or observe other people living life) and then write about it. Don't unwittingly repeat the mistakes of past SFF authors - learn from them instead! We're suppose to be moving the SFF genre forward, not backwards, but it can never grow (nor can we as writers grow and improve) if we don't acknowledge the past. It's not history that repeats itself (or in the case: tropes), it's humans who repeat history...err, tropes!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fairness Smairness

I’ve been wanting to post this since Sara Creasy (author of Song of Scarabaeus) came out with her view on Fairness in characters. Didn’t want to derail her blog since I have my own blog to do that sorta thing.

I do believe in the mantra “Life isn’t fair.” Life sucks then you die. I’m not fair to my characters (I do my darnest to kill them) and I don’t expect my characters to be fair either. A lack of fairness in a character does not make them unlikable, not all of us are “save the whales!” type people. And personally, I think that’s more realistic. If we were all so altruistic, we’d be at North Korea’s border, screaming at Kim Jong-il to release all those people in prison camp. That would be the “fair” thing to do, right? Sorry, but I don’t have a deathwish, and neither do my characters.

What works for me when writing and reading characters is: a) they’re interesting and/or b) they’re somewhat relatable (meaning, I can understand how they feel). Also, if they don't whine (too much) or get all angsty that would be great!

Let’s take Hannibal Lector for example. He eats other humans so we already know he’s not a fair guy, but then why do people love him so much? Well, because he’s a very intelligent, clever guy. You could just imagine yourself chatting with this man, sipping on your chardonnay, admiring his wit and knack for observation. Sure, if he invited you over for dinner you’d have to decline, but that doesn’t stop you from liking the guy.

Amazingly enough, a good author can turn any bad person into your best pal. As they say: “it’s all in the pen.” Thus, I’m not concerned if my characters come across as fair, make the world a better place types as they’re too busy trying to save themselves!   

Monday, May 9, 2011

Trends Tomorrow: Bad Alien Romance?

*gazes into crystal ball*

Occasionally, I like to make predictions about what will become popular - who doesn't? I knew angels were going to be big in paranormal since they're the opposite of those bad boy vampires - so bad they sparkle. Although, somehow, the angels were turned into bad boys, too. Haven't seen so much of mermaids (or merpeople), but if you count the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, then I wasn't too off.

So what shall be the next trend?

I'm thinking space, but not the traditional space opera stuff that Star Wars and other popular sci-fi novels are made of. Nope, it's going to focus on cute humanoid aliens and the humans they fall in love with. That's right, the next genre for paranormal romance to invade is science fiction. The horror! (No, it doesn't appear that the horror genre is making a come back any time soon.)

Makes sense if you follow the timeline and the angst relationship angle that is the foundation of paranormal romance:

First there was paranormal romance: I can't be with you because of my dark, sexy savage side, which may cause harm to you. Woe is me!

Now there is dystopia romance: I can't be with you because society says we belong to two different classes. Damn you society, DAMN YOU!!!

Next will be sci-fi romance: I can't be with you because we're two completely different species and our parts don't quite match up. Arg, biology!

Hints of this trend are movies such as Avatar and I Am Number Four (I know this was a book first, but pretty sure the book was there to promote the movie). There's also Katy Perry's E.T. music video, which smacks heavily of alien romance.

So what do you think? Are we in for some alien lovin'?

Al and Bliss, a human/alien couple from my works.
*edit*  I decided to take the former pic down since it wasn't mine and to put up one of my own works (back when I played around with photoshop). Credits to sims 2, background was googled.