Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Using Science Fiction to Tell Contemporary Stories

Posted by: Deborah A Bailey

 Once I was talking to one of my cousins about books I liked to read. When science fiction came up she said she didn't like it because it wasn't "real life." Similarly, when I'd been in an in-person writing class (way back in pre-Covid days) everyone named their favorite genres and made a point to mention science fiction as their least favorite. As it turned out only one other person liked it, so at least I had an ally.

I'd always read a lot of comic books (or are they called "graphic novels" now?). And I still have a lot of them saved in a large box in the garage. I still collect them, though now I read the online versions on my tablet.

The thing is, I'm convinced that most of the writers in my class probably had never read a science fiction story. They probably had an idea of what they thought it was or judged the genre by a story they hadn't liked. I've always been drawn to shows like, Star Trek and The Twilight Zone, and that's probably why I started reading and writing the genre. I was intrigued by the technology, the space aliens and the adventure.

Later when I was in college I took a science fiction literature class and was hooked. Reading it was a totally different thing than watching TV shows or movies. For the most part, science fiction and fantasy themes reflect what's happening in our current world. Like all stories, sci fi stories are about the human condition, only they use science fictional settings to tell the tale. Storytelling is how we share information with each other.  

When I came up with the idea for the Hathor Legacy series, I wanted to show what could happen if a corporation took the place of a government. How different would things be for the citizens? I also wanted to talk about hierarchies in society, and how humans will (in my opinion) always find a way to separate "us" from "them."

But instead of being preachy or trying to make sweeping statements, I wrote a story about human beings in a future world. They struggle with the same questions and doubts we do here on Earth. Of course, they might have more technology and are scattered across different solar systems, but they are asking the same questions. Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose in life?

Of course other genres like Fantasy or Paranormal can do the same, but I think often science fiction gets overlooked. It gets characterized as something for children, or defined by shows or movies that focus on special effects over storytelling.

Writing in this genre allows authors to go beyond the contemporary beliefs and mindsets in order to invent new worlds, customs and cultures. I just hope that while readers are being entertained, they can also think a little bit about the world we live in. Perhaps they can see a different point of view or learn something new about themselves.

Science fiction provides the ability to speculate on, "what if?" Yet the stories are rooted in our shared experiences as humans here on Earth.

If you're interested in checking out the Hathor Legacy series, it's available as a three-book box set. 

On The Planet, Hathor – A Powerful Corporation, A Psychic Security Force & A Conspiracy https://books2read.com/u/b6QQBx


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