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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Don't Judge A Book By Its Genre

I just can't help shuddering whenever someone tells me, "I don't read science fiction!" I'm sorely tempted to respond, "So what type of science fiction have you tried?"

I realize that all brands of SF are not everyone's cup of tea. I've read widely and have my own likes and dislikes; however, I have come to know that all novels in the genre are not alike. ( I'm not talking here about other media, such as TV, movies, comic books, etc. ) You can't judge all SF novels by the one or two you may've already read.

For instance, if you're a fan of fantasy, you might enjoy reading Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern books. When I read the first book, Dragonflight, I assumed it was fantasy--after all, dragons! McCaffrey later confirmed that the series was SF as her people originally came from another world where there were no dragons.

A lot of SF is "hard" science fiction; in other words, it's based on hardware and scientific principles and theories, real or imagined. In that category are many books by Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven's Ringworld, and Hal Clement's Mission of Gravity.

To tell you the truth, I prefer what's known as "soft" SF: novels which concentrate more on character development and relationships rather than hardware. I'm particularly fond of Zenna Henderson's People books, which are about a race of human-like characters who come to Earth as survivors of a world that's been destroyed. These books are emotional, spiritual, and often heart-wrenching. I love them!

"Space opera" is another related genre, among others. Unlike SF, it tends to be action-oriented with little to no character development. (Think shoot-'em-up in space! ) My novel Galaxy Rand is unabashed space opera.

The brand of science fiction that I usually write ( such as my Tartarus Trilogy ) definitely falls into the category of soft SF, although I try hard to keep my tech and space-facts as accurate as possible. If you've read any of it, you know I concentrate on the plot, as well as on character development and emotions. I do toss in some action/adventure, a bit of romance ( not X-rated! ), an epic love story, mystery, and political intrigue.

So if you are one of those who has always thought science fiction isn't for you, you might think again. I'm sure there are books out there you'd not only enjoy, but come to love. Take my advice: don't judge a book solely by its genre. Read widely and don't be a book-snob!

Whatever you do, keep reading and keep on writing,

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