Thursday, May 31, 2007

SoCNoC has begun!

I did a midnight start on SoCNoC (the Southern Cross Novel Challenge) last night. I managed to get in about 1300 words and continued this morning and got my quota. I will continue today and try and get a head start going into the weekend. It's a long way to 50,000 words, but making my quota every day will do it nicely, even if I'm more ambitious than that.

If I can get 10,000 words by Monday, I will be very happy and well on my way. It would be better to get even more, but considering how much I'm struggling with the current storyline (it feels like it's going quite slow), I'd be surprised if I got over 10k over the weekend.

Still - very exciting and I'm wondering where my story will go in the end. I've only sketched out the world roughly and some of the characters.

I have gone away from the first contact/telepath story, to a different one which I did on the kiwiwriters easter challenge. That story, which was never finished, is almost exactly like my current novel.

It is set in an alien land (I think it's New Zealand 1000 years from now), with many types of humans roaming around and big, mechanical creatures that aren't so friendly any more. Oh yeah, and there are packs of wild dogs all over the place. What would your pet do if all the people went away?

Friday, May 18, 2007

What is science fiction?

For much of my reading career, I've been reading science fiction and fantasy.

I have noticed a trend among science fiction readers to discriminate against fantasy as if it is some sort of lesser fiction.

Well, it is quite ironic that science fiction readers would do this, considering that science fiction itself has been considered inferior for most, if not all of its existence, something that continues to happen now.

It brings up the question of "what is science fiction?". Most people know it when they see it, but having discussed this in detail with a group of friends, I realize that there is disagreement and no clear definition.

Is there anything that automatically makes a novel science fiction? I think there is... time travel, stories set in the future, stories with technology that doesn't exist yet. That all seems reasonable to me. Still, there are probably plenty of examples of these where a novel or story has these elements but aren't considered science fiction.

Some examples of "disputed science fiction" are: "A Handmaid's Tale", "The Time Traveler's Wife" and "Slaughterhouse Five". The only reason that they aren't considered science fiction is because their author says that they aren't, or they don't "feel" like science fiction. I think they all are.

It is possible for a story set in the future NOT to be science fiction? Is is possible for a story with time travel in it not to be science fiction? What about aliens? What about new, future technology?

I'm tempted to say "No, it's not possible.", but I'm willing to listen to counter arguments.