Tag Archives: Science fiction

Genres of Literature – Speculative Fiction


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Speculative fiction

Speculative fiction is included in a broad category, which includes science fiction, fantasy, alternate histories (which may have no particular scientific or futuristic component), and even literary stories that contain fantastic elements. It can also be categorized, in some instances with magic realism. In truth speculative fiction is an umbrella genre encompassing narrative fiction with supernatural or futuristic elements.

The genre ranges from ancient works to paradigm-changing and neotraditional works of the 21st century. It is recognized in the author’s intentions or social contexts within the story versions commonly known. The genre was previously termed historical invention (I personally like this term) as characters from various time periods were within the same narrative. And other terms used were mythopoesis or mythopoeia, meaning fictional speculation.

In general it is the creation of a hypothetical history, explanation or ahistorical storytelling. It is not a ‘new’ genre by any means with the genre being used by ancient Greek writers through to the mid 20th century. In its broadest sense the genre captures both conscious and unconscious aspects of human psychology in making sense of the world, and responding to it by creating imaginative, inventive, and artistic expressions.

Interestingly according to publisher statistics, men outnumber women about two to one among English-language speculative fiction writers aiming for professional publication. However, the percentages vary considerably by genre, with women outnumbering men in the fields of urban fantasy, paranormal romance and young adult fiction.

My current work in progress manuscript is a speculative fiction. Life in Slake Patch is set in an alternative future, where the devastation of a World War resulted in the majority of the male population perishing. This created a world-wide matriarchal society.

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Have you written a speculative fiction story/novel?

Care to share the details below in the comments?

And one last note as I found this delightful snippet of information after I had posted on science fiction on 15th January.

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The story was “True History” by Lucian.

Genres of Literature – Science Fiction


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Science Fiction is a story based on the impact of potential science, either actual or imagined. It is one of the genres of literature that is set in the future or on other planets. The title is often shortened to SF or sci-fi. This genre typically deals with imaginative concepts, such as futuristic science and technology, space and time travel, even faster than light travel but also parallel universes and extraterrestrial life. The narrative can explore the potential consequences of scientific and innovation ideas developed to extremes.

Science fiction elements can include:

  • A temporal setting in the future with alternative timelines or in a historical past that contradicts the known facts of actual history
  • A spatial setting or scenes in outer space, on other worlds or even subterranean earth.
  • Characters do included aliens, mutants, robots and other imagined or predicted beings.
  • Technology can be futuristic or plausible. Examples being teleportation, mind control, ray guns and super-intelligent computers.    
  • Scientific principles that contradict accepted physical laws, such as time travel.
  • New and different political or social systems. 
  • Imagined future history of humans on earth or other planets.
  • Characters with paranormal abilities, such as telekinesis or telepathy.  
  • Other universes or dimensions and travel between them.

Sub-genres include:

Space opera, which is an adventure science fiction set mainly or entirely in outer space or on sometimes distant planets.

Utopian fiction, which portrays a setting that agrees with an ethos believed by the author of another reality.

Dystopia fiction, a portrayal opposed by the authors ethos.

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Time Travel fiction where by utilizing a vehicle of some kind an operator can select a time period and purposefully travel there.

Military science fiction, where there is a conflict between national, interplanetary or interstellar armed forces.

Superhuman stories reflect the emergence of humans with abilities beyond the norm.

Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic 

Apocalyptic fiction covers the end of civilization through war, while post-apocalyptic deals with the near aftermath of such a war. 

Steampunk and dieselpunk, this genres are based on a futuristic technology existing in the past (usually the 19th century) and often set in the English Victorian era. They do contain prominent elements of science fiction through the use of fictional technological inventions.

Cyberpunk and biopunk. This is a reasonably ‘new’ genre emerging in the early 1980’s. It combines cybernetics and punk with a time frame usually in the near-future with dystopian settings. 

Have you written a science fiction story/novel? Care to share?

I have a YA novella, Clickety Click that deals with aliens living in secret on Earth. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/679515  https://www.amazon.ca/Clickety-Click-Mandy-Eve-Barnett/dp/1927510856

Clickety Click

And my latest YA novella, Creature Hunt on Planet Toaria is set on another planet. Launch early 2018.

I also have a steampunk inspired, The Toymaker (7K words) that may become a novella in the future. Time will tell. 

Do you try writing in different genres? What has been your experience?

 

CORVIDAE BLOG TOUR – Rhonda Parrish…


As part of a blog tour, I am interviewing the authors and the editor/anthologist involved in the project anthology, Corvidae. Published through World Weaver Press. This will post as I am on vacation….Today I launch with the Pulbisher: Rhonda Parrish.

CORVIDAE-cover-

A flock of shiny stories!

Associated with life and death, disease and luck, corvids have long captured mankind’s attention, showing up in mythology as the companions or manifestations of deities, and starring in stories from Aesop to Poe and beyond.

In Corvidae birds are born of blood and pain, trickster ravens live up to their names, magpies take human form, blue jays battle evil forces, and choughs become prisoners of war. These stories will take you to the Great War, research facilities, frozen mountaintops, steam-powered worlds, remote forest homes, and deep into fairy tales. One thing is for certain, after reading this anthology, you’ll never look the same way at the corvid outside your window.

EXCERPTS:

See additional document in the PRESS KIT folder.

CONTENTS:

Edited by Rhonda Parrish

“Introduction” by Rhonda Parrish

“A Murder of Crows” by Jane Yolen

“Whistles and Trills” by Kat Otis

“The Valravn” by Megan Fennell

“A Mischief of Seven” by Leslie Van Zwol

“Visiting Hours” by Michael S. Pack

“The Rookery of Sainte-Mère-Église” by Tim Deal

“The Cruelest Team Will Win” by Mike Allen

“What Is Owed” by C.S.E. Cooney

“Raven No More” by Adria Laycraft

“The Tell-Tale Heart of Existence” by Michael M. Rader

“Sanctuary” by Laura VanArendonk Baugh

“Knife Collection, Blood Museum, Birds (Scarecrow Remix)” by Sara Puls

“Flying the Coop” by M.L.D. Curelas

“Postcards from the Abyss” by Jane Yolen

“Bazyli Conjures a Blackbird” by Mark Rapacz

“Seven for a Secret” by Megan Engelhardt

“Flight” by Angela Slatter

BOOK LISTING DETAILS

SERIES:

Rhonda Parrish’s Magical Menageries

ISBNs

Trade Paperback:

ISBN-13: 978-0692430217

ISBN-10: 0692430210

Official page:
https://www.worldweaverpress.com/corvidae.html

ANTHOLOGIST BIO:

Rhonda parrish

Rhonda Parrish is driven by a desire to do All The Things. She has been the publisher and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine for nearly eight years now (which is like forever in internet time) and is the editor of several anthologies including Fae and B is for Broken. In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been in dozens of publications like Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast, Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (2012) and Mythic Delirium. Her website, updated weekly, is at rhondaparrish.com.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Sharing stories. I really like creating characters and scenarios and worlds and then sharing them with other people. It’s even better when the people I’m sharing with enjoy the story as much as I did and tell me so–I am not without an ego LOL

What do you enjoy most about editing?

I love coming up with a theme and then seeing all the amazing ways writers explore that theme. They always, always, always come up with things I never would have ever dreamed of. I also really enjoy working with writers to help make their amazing stories even stronger. It’s incredibly fulfilling to have someone trust you with their work and walk away feeling as though you not only justified that trust, but helped them make the story better. I will never get tired of that.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Um. No. I don’t think so.

What book are you reading now?

I just finished At the Water’s Edge: A Novel by Sara Gruen which was well-written and kept me up late turning the pages, and began reading The Toyminator by Robert Rankin. The Toyminator is the sequel to The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse which I really liked so I have high expectations for it J

Do you see writing as a career? 

Absolutely. Writing and editing both, actually. Happily for me they work very well together and each feeds the other. What I mean is being an editor has definitely improved my writing, and being a writer has helped me as an editor. Win/win. If only I could turn off my inner editor while I’m writing first drafts…

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

Mostly I drink, and not what you’re thinking either LOL While I’m happy to indulge in an alcoholic drink or three sometimes in the evening I never drink alcohol when I’m writing. I don’t have a moral objection to it or anything, mostly the timelines don’t line up. Alcohol is an ‘in the evening’ thing and writing is a ‘during the day’ thing. However, when I’m writing there’s usually a Diet Dr. Pepper within reach or, if my focus has been especially lacking, sometimes a Red Bull.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Probably right here… though hopefully with a few more titles on my ego shelf LOL I don’t know if I’ll still be editing Rhonda Parrish’s Magical Menageries anthology series ten years from now (though you never know LOL) but I’d definitely still like to be both writing and editing. Bonus marks for myself if I’ve got a couple/few novels out as well J

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

The first draft. Seriously. Oftentimes I get so twisted up in my own head that I become paralyzed and don’t write anything. It’s a serious problem. I’ve found tools for working around it and my strategy is basically ‘Do whatever you need to to get the words on the page’ but still… first drafts kick my butt every time.

What is your favorite book?

My favourite books (this week) are The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle and The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman but there are so many beautifully-written books and stories out there.

Why an anthology about corvids?

I’ve always loved corvids, their intelligence, beauty, playfulness… Once upon a time I wanted to write a single author collection of corvid stories but as time went on and I realised how many other people shared my love of all things corvidae I thought it would be even cooler to make an anthology.

Why scarecrows?

Scarecrows go with corvids like butter goes with popcorn. How could I not have a companion anthology to go with the corvidae? Besides, I’ve got a great deal of love for scarecrows–they hit exactly the right spot on the uncanny spectrum for me.

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

My next title in this anthology series is going to be Sirens (opening to submissions August 15th). Like the other anthologies in this series it will be speculative fiction, probably leaning closer to fantasy than science fiction given the subject matter, but you never know…

CORVIDAE, praise

“Smart and dark like the corvids themselves, this excellent collection of stories and poems will bring you a murder of chills, a tiding of intrigue, a band of the fantastic, and—most of all—an unkindness of sleepy mornings after you’ve stayed up too late reading it!”

— Karen Dudley, author of Kraken Bake

“Magic and corvids collide in this certain to intrigue anthology.”

— Joshua Klein, hacker and inventor of the crow vending machine

“A creepy, crazy kaleidoscope of corvids, Corvidae is what happens when you bring together ingenious writers and sagacious subjects. It’s nothing short of a thrill ride when this anthology takes flight.”

— Susan G. Friedman, Ph. D., Utah State University; behaviorworks.org.

“As sparkling and varied as a corvid’s hoard of treasures, Corvidae is by turns playful and somber, menacing and mischievous. From fairy tale to steampunk adventure, from field of war to scene of crime, these magical birds will take you to places beyond your wildest imaginings.”

— Jennifer Crow, poet and corvid-by-marriage

Corvidae evokes the majesty and mischief of corvid mythologies worldwide—and beyond our world—in a collection that is fresh and thoroughly enjoyable.”

— Beth Cato, author of The Clockwork Dagger

Praise for the series RHONDA PARRISH’S MAGICAL MENAGERIE

“Delightfully refreshing! I should have known that editor Parrish (who also edits the cutting edge horror zine, Niteblade) would want to offer something quite unique. I found it difficult to stop reading as one story ended and another began – all fantastic work by gifted writers. Not for the faint of heart, by any means.”

— Marge Simon, multiple Bram Stoker® winner

“Stories of magical beings and the humans they encounter will enthrall and enlighten the reader about both the mundane and the otherworldly. I devoured it.”

— Kate Wolford, editor of Beyond the Glass Slipper, editor and publisher of Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine

“Seventeen tales… range in feel from horror to upbeat tales about homes where things go right, and are set everywhere from the modern day to mythical fantasy pasts. The best of these stories evoke things from real life – loves and values – and show characters making hard choices that reveal who they are and what they’re made of.”

— Tangent

“There’s no Disney-esque flutter and glitter to be found here — but there are chills and thrills aplenty.”

— Mike Allen, author of Unseaming and editor of Clockwork Phoenix

Authors to look out for are:

Laura VanArendonk, Angela Slatter, Mark Rapacz, Michael M. Rader, Sara Puls, Kat Otis, Adria Laycraft, L.D. Curelas, Megan Engelhardt, Tim Deal, C.S.E. Cooney, Mike Allen, Michael S. Pack, Jane Yolen, Megan Fennell, Leslie Van Zwol, Scott Burtness, Kristina Wojtaszek.

Book Review: Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman


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Herland 1915

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

I first heard about Herland a couple of years after I wrote my first NaNoWriMo in 2009, resulting in the basis of my novel, Life in Slake Patch. The premise of my speculative novel, Life in Slake Patch, is a future matriarchal society forced by a global war’s destruction of the planets civilization and a large proportion of the male population, to take control. This developed a segregated lifestyle maintaining men and women into defined roles. The population is bound by strict rules on activities, living quarters and parings (marriage).

So when I discovered the Herland story, I was curious to read it. Maybe it was my naivety but I assumed the book would be the usual novel length, however it is only 124 pages, so more novella than novel. Due to a series of writing activities – writing a further four novels, publishing two children’s books and an adult fantasy and launching my freelance career, I never seemed to get the time to buy Herland. Well until a couple of weeks ago!

It is surprising how Gilman formed the concept of an all female land in an era when women were seen as delicate housebound wives. Although, Gilman was hardly typical of her time as she was a turn-of-the-century social critic and lecturer. Her short story ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ is probably more widely known than Herland. The style of Herland is of course a reflection of the era’s writing style but even so fascinating and enthralling. Gilman tells the story of a feminist utopia from the viewpoint of a trio of men, who discover it by chance. This was my first surprise as my novel, Life in Slake Patch; written I hasten to add with no knowledge of Herland; from the viewpoint of a young man living in the male compound, Slake.

Gilman’s verbiage can distract the flow of the story, which in itself does not have the modern trait of increasing action and concluding climax. In truth it is monotone rather than stereo, devoid of suspense. However, it has beautifully written exposition giving the reader a real feel of the land and its inhabitants. I feel Gilman must have had an expansive imagination not only because she created a woman only land, but also she obviously thought of the ‘perfect’ woman world, cut free of the stereo type she personally experienced. Gilman goes into great detail on how the fruit trees were cultivated, the traditional meat animals were foregone and the garments the women wore were practical and comfortable. She writes in great detail of their psyche and how the population works together and abides to a thoughtful and exacting structure of life.Her explanation of their history is also creative.

The male narrator explains throughout the book how he and his companions try to impress the women of their male dominated civilization. Over time two of these men find that Herland has a much better way of life, utilizing forethought and planning, which over the generations made the utopia. One man is, however, not convinced and is determined to ‘show’ the female leaders, how they should be mastered.

In our modern age it is probably thought of as a naive story but at the time I would think it was shocking. Women ruling their own world and equal to men! The women of Herland were strong, capable and fearless of the men. Their interest was purely educational, a thirst for  knowledge of the world beyond their fortified enclave. The woman’s way of life was based on motherhood. This was their governing and abiding focus in everything they did, from nurturing the female only babies to caring for each other to sustaining themselves.

The second surprise was Gilman’s explanation of how the women managed to reproduce without men. It is a kind of immaculate conception, (actually a parthenogenesis process), which occurred several generations after all the men were killed and the women cut off from the outside world. One woman gave birth and her daughters also carried the genetic ability to reproduce. In our modern day of science fiction and fantasy rich environment, where anything is possible this seems fanciful but in 1915, I would think it was inconceivable (pardon the pun!) to most of the population.

Although, I bore in mind the era in which it was written whilst reading, Herland is quite exceptional in its concept. Gilman was a woman before her time and I’m sure if it were written today in our accepted style, it would be a great hit with speculative and fantasy lovers.

Charlotte

Charlotte Perkins Gilman  1860-1935

Genre Constraints…


Constraint – definition: the state of being checked, restricted, or compelled to avoid some action

do-dont

Within the multitude of genres in fiction, there are constraints on what is and what is not ‘allowed’ in terms of content or style based on the genre’s ‘main’ heading. See here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_literary_genres

When you are defining your novels, what methods do you use to decide on its ‘genre’? 

http://querytracker.blogspot.ca/2009/04/defining-genres-where-does-your-book.html

Do you decide to write specifically to a particular genre prior to starting a new manuscript?

Or do you write your story and worry about the genre later on? 

As most of you know I am a free flow writer so my story comes first and the defining comes much later. For many authors this pigeon holing our work is difficult and this fact is reflected in the sub-genres that are being created almost daily. We can also use a technique where by we utilize several ‘genre headings’ in our description. Such as the list here: https://www.worldswithoutend.com/resources_sub-genres.asp , which only deals with fantasy and sci-fi. So there is a method open to us to use our genre description as a way to entice more than one ‘type’ of reader.  Romance readers would never go to the horror section first but if the description was something like – romantic suspense – then maybe they would pick up your book.

It is a matter of looking at your story and defining the main theme, even if it is underlining thread throughout the narrative. My novel, Life in Slake Patch is an alternative world order but basically has a young man trying to change the ‘laws’ so he can be with the woman he loves. It can be described as speculative fiction but romantic speculative fiction is better.

My novel, The Twesome Loop also has romantic elements in it but also has a reincarnation element. How would I describe that one? Suggestions welcome!

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