SnakeAppleTree On Science Fiction
There is too much really good science fiction out there, to realistically be able to read it all. Even if it is all you do with your life and you are a really fast reader. The original masters of sci-fi foresaw this outcome and did not write prolifically. They were better quality writers too. They had more to say, made more of an impact on the readers imagination, and did it with both finesse and succinctly.
After the mid-eighties it became ‘the thing to do’ to write a lot of bland science fiction which does not really say very much at all and which requires epic masterpiece door-stopper multi-novel series to wade through. There are perhaps a handful of exceptions. It gave the generations who grew up watching Trek Wars something to do. Most of it says the same thing as other writers in slightly different but equally as lengthy processes.
This has been the governing recognition of my own humble approach toward writing science fiction. The kernel of an idea fleshed out decades later during revisions and edits, before anybody see’s it at all. Admittedly, some of the best of my own works did come through me for their specific goal of being published by Bright Metallic magazine, for its niche audience; before so many other sf writers jumped onto that bandwagon and swamped it with so many applications that the magazine folded under the weight of demand. It proved that there are far more sf short story writers out there than anyone can hope to ingest.
This is the best advice for anyone starting out or already writing science fiction: Minimalize it. Do not write science fiction for the sake of it, because the tv companies will whip your ass with the same idea before you get to show anybody. Find something better to do with your time, such as reading more of it only to discover that whatever you wanted to write about and thought was innovative and new, has already been done to death and better than you ever could.
Nobody is going to read your stuff. And if they do, most of the readers will think its crap compared with everything else already out there. This is the most difficult thing to realise about being a sci-fi writer. They did everything we could ever think of already way back in the nineteen-fifties. By the nineteen-seventies the next wave did everything we didn’t think of ourselves yet, but you never heard of those because you aren’t dedicated enough to the genre to have found them and read them. And most of them were crap too.
A handful of names do still stand out. Those, strangely, are not authors who identified themselves as mainly science fiction writers per se, but who turned to the genre as a sideline because it was appropriate for getting their other ideas out. Writers who most of their work was sociological, contemporary and/or historical.
The one exception - and it truly is the only one exception worth discussing, is Philip K Dick. His books, not the 'wtf is this shit?' tv series. It is going to be another fifty to a hundred years yet before his precognitive vision becomes old and outmoded. But then as was said of both Star Wars and Blade Runner: “The Future is Ancient.”
Having said all that; in case you are interested, some of my sf short stories can be found HERE
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