Monday, December 20, 2010

Rediscovering an Old Love

Like many authors, I started reading at an early age. I read everything - mysteries, historical novels, biographies, classics - but I especially loved science fiction. I still remember how intensely I entered the world of the Mushroom Planet. As I got a bit older, I discovered Bradbury, Asimov and Heinlein. The intellectual challenge of the Foundation Trilogy kept me up at night. Stranger in a Strange Land deeply influenced my views about sex and spirituality.

In the early nineties, I belonged to a science fiction book club started by a friend. That introduced me to new voices: Sherri Tepper, Oliva Butler, James Tiptree, Kate Wilhelm. Unfortunately, those monthly read/eat/talk orgies stopped after only a year. Since then, I haven't had the opportunity to read much scifi. For one thing, I've been busy writing my own fiction.

In the last few months, though, I've rediscovered my old love, as an author as well as a reader. One of my friends and colleagues writes fabulous scifi with an erotic slant. He has inspired me to try my own hand at the genre.

I'm now working on a near-future M/M novel about gender and politics (and love, of course). I also just finished the first draft of a novella I plan to submit to an anthology called "Seeing Stars". That story, "Bodies of Light", takes place on a star ship engaged in a mission to colonize a distant planet. Hard core scifi indeed!

I'm having a wonderful time exploring my old flame. However, I've come to realize that scifi is a particularly difficult genre to create - perhaps not as hard as historical fiction, but close. The reason? In scifi, the details really count. You're creating an alternative world, but you don't have a free hand. If you want to write realistic scifi, as opposed to fantasy, your premises must be grounded in fact and your explanations need to be consistent. I found this particularly true in writing "Bodies of Light", which as a background in quantum mechanics. (But don't worry! It's much more sexy than it is technical!)

In celebration of my rekindled interest in science fiction, I've posted a story on my website, an edited version of one of my first attempts at the genre - before Lisabet Sarai existed. You can read "The Ambassadors to G79-3" here. Compared to my current work, it's rather tame, but even back then (about twenty years ago, near as I can tell) I had erotic notions.

I haven't submitted either of my scifi works yet. I feel a bit like an amateur tackling this genre, despite my decade-plus publishing history. I don't know if I'll be successful. But I'm certainly having fun!

2 comments:

Tiffany said...

I never had anything in particular against science fiction novels growing up. I read books from a wide range of genres but I was never quite adventurous enough to jump headlong into something so very different from what normally satisfied me as a reader. It wasn't until I was an adult and I began reading erotica with a scifi slant that I discovered what I had been missing. I began to look for more erotica of that type (and I found a LOT more than I expected) and shortly thereafter I was searching my local library for any science fiction novels I could find. This is quickly becoming my favorite genre all around! Its not an easy genre to read, so I can imagine that writing it is much more difficult. I'm glad you decided to give it a try though :-) I'm sure the results will be wonderful!

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, Tiffany,

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment.

If you like "speculative erotica" I highly recommend you check out Circlet Press. They pioneered the genre and have some wonderful titles in their back list (I hope that they're still available.) Just Google
"Circlet Press" and if that doesn't help, add "Cecilia Tan" (the founder).

Happy reading!

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