Sunday, September 22, 2013

Science and fiction

I love science fiction. I love the tropes and the exploration of the what if scenario. I love hard sci-fi, where the physics of the world create the drama and I love space opera, even thought it might as well be fantasy.

I don't write science fiction, though. At least not often. I'm far more likely to create a fantasy setting than a science fiction one for the simple reason that I like science too much. I get far too wrapped up in the world building and forget about the human drama, which makes for pretty boring stories.

I have definite world-builder's disease.

It's a shame, too, because there's so much human drama still to be explored. To pick on my own science, climate change has a huge impact on populations, yet it's not something that's very often a feature of books. Part of that is scale, I'm sure. It's easy to tackle a single event--a flood or drought, hurricane, tornado, or tsunami--but the human lifetime is too short to really register climate change. Historically, climate change has more often been the driver of extinction, yet apocalyptic fiction tends to utilize things like plagues, nuclear winters, and meteorites to kill off the majority of the human species. Again, the scale is the issue here. Climate change is slow and a relatively slow famine isn't sexy.

There's also nothing to be done about one.

My plan over the next who knows how long is to post a weekly feature talking about something I've seen in the science world that I think would create interesting drama, or at least flesh out the world of a story. At worst, it's an excuse for me to spend some time talking about cool science ideas I think are underutilized or too poorly known.


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