Science Fiction for me is a wonderful genre because in a way it allows a writer to explore every genre. In 1974 Norman Spinrad said that “Science fiction is anything published as science fiction.” And even earlier than that (1926) Hugo Gernsback (the founder of the science fiction genre) wrote that science fiction was the Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and Edgar Allen Poe type of story – a charming romance intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic vision […] Not only do these amazing tales make tremendously interesting reading – they are always instructive. They supply knowledge […] in a very palatable form. New adventures pictured for us in the scientifiction of today are not at all impossible of realization tomorrow.” There are plenty more great quotes on the definition of science fiction to be found if you look for them but just these two, I think, encapsulate the idea that science fiction has no set list of features. Science fiction is what you wish it to be. There are no written or unwritten rules that it should contain space or that it should not contain a story line of romance. With that in mind I have been considering just what it means to write without limitations and to write genres I am less familiar with. Without the limitations I am free to write in features of other genres, I am free to test the boundaries of both science and fiction, free to explore what is at the heart of every great novel.
An exploration of humanity seems to be what we as readers search for. As humans we desperately search for explanation and understanding to what we are, why we are and if we are destined to repeat the past or rise up a better people. This exploration of humanity can be subtle or overt. It can ask the big questions on how humanity lives or it can present you with “true” characters that live “true” lives and experience those things we think of as innately human. I want to hope that I can do both. I want to think I can question the good of humanity and present characters that are “human”.
If you have been reading my novel so far you’ll know that the humans have been having a tough time putting into words what love is. This emotion, this feeling, this thing that drives humanity forward seems so difficult to put into words and yet it is what we spend our lives talking about, thinking about, reading about, watching. Is the best way to explain love to show it unfolding? To show all that love brings, the good and the bad? To show the little things that make and break bonds of love? If humanity is defined by love then if I want to explore humanity I can’t avoid it. How do I do that well?
Do I sit down and return to Jane Austen, the queen of romance? Do I watch every chick flick ever made (though many seem to follow the same plot lines)? Must I only write of my own personal experiences? The only thing I can be sure I will definitely not be doing is following in the footsteps of E.L.James…
After a great deal of thought about what makes a real and compelling representation of love is not the big gestures and grand declarations of love. It is not the romance of those cheesy films. It is the truth. It is that love hurts, it breaks us. But it mends us and it is formed by the little things. It is the little things that readers and viewers notice, it’s the little things that kick start people routing for a relationship to set sail. And in both real life an literature it’s the little things that mean so much.
I saw something recently that I can’t help but feel is the prefect representation of all of this. I really want to share it with you guys because I think maybe they explain it better than I ever could.
(I won’t hold it against you if you don’t cry, that was just written on the video by someone else)