What's Missing in Science Fiction at the Moment?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Rob Sanders, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. Steven L Jordan

    Steven L Jordan I like SF. SF is cool.

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    Well, if you're okay with reading quillscratch... :rolleyes:

    I'm okay with shorter books, but generally, I don't mind books that provide story and character detail that they once would've left out because of publisher's page-count concerns.

    I'm not saying I want bibles, but I wrote a book that came out to just under 150,000 words, and I thought it was a great length. You think that's too much, huh?
     
  2. Chuffalump

    Chuffalump A chuffing heffalump

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    If it's good, then the longer the better I say. A good short story is a joy but I want something to keep me entertained for hours and hours.
     
  3. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    Representations of Technology in Science Fiction for Young People - Noga Applebaum

    http://www.tradebit.com/filedetail....ntations-of-technology-in-science-fiction-for

    psik
     
  4. TraciLoudin

    TraciLoudin Creator of futures

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    Sorry to go back in time a little bit, but... :)

    Rosie, have you tried http://critters.org ? I haven't gotten started yet, but once I get my latest novel polished up, I was thinking of getting involved on there. They may be able to help you pinpoint at what point the big publishers might be losing interest in your story.

    And if it turns out that you don't want to change the story based on their feedback, you could always hire a freelance editor to check things over one last time and then self-publish. It's not the "kiss of doom" people made it out to be a couple years back. You may not make a lot of money from it on the up-front, but it might be enough to get the ball rolling and have publishers take notice later on.

    And you may find that the scifi reading community is more receptive to new ideas than the big publishing houses. Because, as you mentioned, I think they are being very conservative right now, not taking many chances on new ideas.
     
  5. ian_sales

    ian_sales Registered User

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    If you produce good work, it doesn't matter that it's self-published. However, breaking out beyond your friends and acquaintances is difficult, no matter how good your book is. The fact that it's niche, or not commercial enough for a major imprint, is only going to make it harder.

    A couple of small presses expressed early interest in my novella, and I knew it would never be bought by a magazine (it has a glossary, for one thing), but I chose to self-publish it for reasons of speed and control. I don't know that it would have sold more copies, or been bought by more people, if it had been published by a name people recognised. I do know that since I've done it myself I know exactly how hard it is to get people to persuade people to buy a copy...
     
  6. JunkMonkey

    JunkMonkey Registered User

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    Thank you for the steer, Psi. Another movie slides further down my 'I must get round to watching' list.

    I've never seen Avatar and only just watched The Abyss for the first time recently. I thought it the most godawful overblown pile of bollocks I have seen for ages (and I have watched Octoman, Warrior of the Lost World, and a lot of Rutger Hauer films recently).
     
  7. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    Did you watch the theatrical version or the Special Edition?

    The second is about 30 minutes longer and the first has a dumb ending.

    If that is what you think of The Abyss special edition then I gotta hear what you think of Avatar. I probably won't be able to stop laughing for a week.

    psik
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
  8. JunkMonkey

    JunkMonkey Registered User

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    It was the 'special edition'. I bought a two disc both versions boxset in a car boot sale for a quid (I never learn) and swithered about which I should watch...
     
  9. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    What, you don't think the submarine bumper battle made up for that?

    That was so cool! :cool:

    The woman drowning was a neat trick also. But it would have made more sense if she had hyperventilated and helped him swim part way back.

    There are nearly always flaws in stories, especially movies. Different people draw the line in different places as to when the flaws become intolerable.

    psik
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
  10. Rosie Oliver

    Rosie Oliver Registered User

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    Bless you for the tip... However, I already belong to critting group that's been around for several years and I've had bits of the novel gone over by professional writers. In fact my tutor (who is known to be a hard marker) and critting group almost bit my arm for the next episodes! And those I'm still in contact with, want me to write another novel!

    So it really is all down to the publishing industry and market conditions.

    Having said that, it sounds like a very useful group and I may use it for the next novel. Thank you.
     
  11. Rosie Oliver

    Rosie Oliver Registered User

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    Because I've had such positive reactions by those that have seen the drafts (and some of them were plain talking about the faults, which were corrected), I'm unwilling to let the novel go cheaply. That means a good marketing engine, which means a good publisher.

    If I don't get a good publisher, then I won't publish - end of story - in both senses. I know this sounds hard, maybe even self-defeating, but I know it's good writing, has a heap of new science fiction ideas liberally scattered throughout, has some interesting characters (I still can't fully understand why the lady readers fall for Dirk) and has a good plot (I can trace the basic plot back to a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale).

    I made a mistake with one of my published short stories in letting it go cheaply...

    So given all this, can you blame me, for digging my heels in on my novel?
     
  12. JunkMonkey

    JunkMonkey Registered User

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    The trouble with that bit was the revival sequence that followed. It would have been a much better film if the character had died and not miraculously revived after all but her ex-husband had given up hope. Nice idea... didn't work. That would have sowed real seeds of doubts in the audiences' mind as to whether the rest of the characters weren't going to get a Hollywood happy ever after ending. Mind you, the 'estranged couple who built the (whatever) and hate each at the start of the film and rediscover their love during the course of the movie' trope is one that has had me throwing handsets at TVs before.
     
  13. Omphalos

    Omphalos Orthodox Herbertian

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    I watched this movie way back when I was much was possessed of a much less sophisticated crapometer. I loved it then. Nowadays I have a state of the art device, and stuff like The Abyss never makes it through.
     
  14. ian_sales

    ian_sales Registered User

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    You've tried it at the various open doors publishers have? Angry Robot have had a couple, and I think HarperVoyager, or someone like that, are having/about to have one. Most small presses are backed up for a couple of years, and even then you wouldn't expect them to sell more than 500 copies (and frequently considerably less). If you've not submitted to John Jarrold, I recommend trying. He's my agent, and he's always looking for new clients. He is very picky though.

    Meanwhile, of course, it's time to get started on a new project.

    As for letting a story go cheaply... Exposure is worth far more than the money you get paid. First, people start to recognise your name, then they start to remember it, then they start to look for it... And then they ask you if you'd like to send them something...
     
  15. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    How much time would he have to waste getting a limp body through that hatch?

    The revival was too melodramatic but I still liked the movie overall.

    psik
     
  16. Rosie Oliver

    Rosie Oliver Registered User

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    Unfortunately I had not completed my novel for the first open call for Angry Robot. Their scope of the second call meant I couldn't submit my novel. :mad: The details of the Harper Voyager open call are here and am considering it:
    http://harpervoyagerbooks.com/harper-voyager-guidelines-for-digital-submission/

    For reasons I won't go into here, I've been put off approaching John Jarrold.

    You're right about starting a new project... I've already starting exploring new ideas by putting them into short stories. One of them turned into a real nice big surprise. :cool: But I do need to get the current short I'm writing to work in order to have enough for a follow-on novel... it's a case of seeing how it goes.

    Good luck with the 2nd novella in your series.
     
  17. NotePad

    NotePad New Member

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    I know this is an old thread but when I came across it I felt the need to add my 2cents and possibly bring it back to life.

    Personally, I feel there is a lack of popular philosophical, surrealist SF. I'm not a huge fan of the current trend of long, multi book hard SF series'. Fantasy has the same trend going on.

    Whatever happened to the Philip K. Dick's? The John Brunner's? As well as the JG Ballard's and Christopher Priests? (Although I could never get through either a Ballard or Priest novel because I find their prose styles unbearablely purple, but I admire their ideas from afar).

    In fact, if anyone knows any authors to prove me wrong with, I encourage you to name them :)
     
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  18. Rosie Oliver

    Rosie Oliver Registered User

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    Christopher Priest is very much still alive and publishing novels (I bumped into him at my hotel at Loncon 3). He published 'The Adjacent' in April this year.

    If you are talking multi book hard SF series, I have a suspicion it'll be space opera. A lot of this is fantasy disguised as science fiction (e.g. Star Wars series) or westerns disguised as science fiction. There are other hard science fiction novels that are of a more serious nature and would probably verge on your interests.
     
  19. Bodhi

    Bodhi &%*^(% 0010110

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    PKD was a unique mind. His ideas bordered on the edge of what was rational or acceptable. His prose weren't always beautiful, but nonetheless came out functional.

    I have an uneasy suspicion that the PKDs of today are out there on psychiatric meds and they've been sucked into regular family lives and/or 9-to-5s. Who knows, maybe they found their calling in a more lucrative field or enterprise. Maybe they just haven't been called to writing. Modern forms of storytelling are much more focused on other forms of media than written prose, and so it's likely you should spend your time looking towards the movie/TV business. Possibly these creative minds are somewhat restrained by Hollywood producers.

    It (SF) is also a continuously evolving field and the era that produced the PKD was a unique time in history when the ideas of the so-called East started to diffuse into Western consciousness. I only talk about this because I am somewhat of a PKD worshipper, but I recognize that the man had a formula that worked and certain recurring themes.

    Anyway, what are your favorite PKD stories?
     
  20. JunkMonkey

    JunkMonkey Registered User

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    Ubik! My first and favourite of all his books.
     
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