Science Fiction – As Both Reader and Writer

Sarah Hoyt has had a series of blog posts about the state of Science Fiction, starting with this one called “Bring Back That Wonder Feeling“. All I can say is YES YES YES! Do yourself a favor and go read it.

Done? Good, now I can comment (and yes, this is modified from the comment I made to the blog post).

I loved this post. It reminds me of the essay written by Kris Kathryn Rusch years ago about “the barbarians at the gate.

I adore science fiction, grew up on it in the 80’s by reading from the local libraries, which, thank goodness, still had so much of the old stuff shelved with only some of new agenda stuff filtering in. It created a deep love, as did the fun and campy TV and movie science fiction starting with Star Wars, then Buck Rogers, the original Battlestar Galactica (not the new “Shoot them all and put them out of their misery” incarnation), and later stuff in both film and TV.

But, as a reader, I found fewer and fewer SF books to buy. Finally, by the turn of the century, I pretty much stopped other than a handful of authors. I knew this wasn’t a reader issue, as so many I talked to who enjoyed the genre complained about the same thing. It had to be coming from the editors in charge of the gates. So, as a reader, I reluctantly shifted the majority of my reading to other genres, mostly romances and mystery cozies.

The thing is, as a writer; I couldn’t write what I viewed as ‘SF depressing please-kill-me drivel’ to get through those gates. Just could not. I kept hoping for a swing towards the fun stuff I remember enjoying, yet the years kept going by without signs of hope.

As a writer, I kept writing the kinds of stories I loved. Fun adventures, good (and yes, the kiss-of-death happy) endings, main characters who make mistakes, romance, fantastical settings, and a sense of hope. The type of stories I wished I could go out and buy. I knew I couldn’t sell them in the current climate, but the creative side of me didn’t care.

I still remember a night four years ago in the Forward Motion Writers chat as a group of us were doing word sprints (writers actually writing while in chat. Now, that’s an amazing concept! ūüėõ ). I was literally crying while writing, sitting in a chatroom full of published writers, telling the others I knew there was no publishing market to sell my work, but I couldn’t stop writing. I was sunk, I knew it, but I just had to keep moving forward because I had to feed the writing part of me that had stories to tell.

Now fast forward today. I’m glad I kept writing, no matter how heartbroken I was about it in the past. When the world of publishing changed, I was able to join in with a backlist of never seen work inspired by the old sense-of-wonder stories. The stories I thought would never see the light of day are now out there. I’m having the time of my life as a writer!

I’m ecstatic as a reader, too. Suddenly I’m buying books in my favorite genre again! Not from the traditional gatekeepers, who keep putting out stuff I can’t stand. The works I’m buying from are put out by the authors themselves or the new small presses that have sprung up. I hope they keep putting the books out, too. There are other readers out there like me (and the commenters I see on this post) who are willing to spend money on this type of science fiction. The old gatekeepers can’t fight this rising tide!

It’s a great time to be a reader AND a writer!

____________________

J.A. Marlow

Coffee Cup Dreams New CoverCoffee Cup Dreams

She wasn’t supposed to wake up when dead‚Ķ

During what should have been a simple operation, Tish Douglas died. And yet, she also awoke‚Ķ in what the doctors called a ‘psi event.’

Despite having no memory of the incident, it means she’s required to go on a life-time course of debilitating drugs designed to reign in her supposedly new psi gifts. She’s left with the option of existing on Earth in a drug-haze, or leave the planet.

When an opportunity for a good paying job on a space station known as Redpoint One is offered, she jumps at the chance. Even though she doesn’t have any experience as a ‘maintenance engineer.’ Even though the station sits in the middle of nowhere, a still-operating construct of a long-gone alien species.

Between pirate attacks, intelligent repair robots, and maintenance emergencies, Tish must find a place for herself.

All complicated by a growing attraction to the one person on the station she can’t have: boss Arthur Getty.

A stand-alone 48400 word, 193 page (approximate), science fiction romance novel.

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