May 21st, 2012
My perfect SF novel, the kind I love to read, and that I’ll probably always be struggling to write, contains:
-One or more heroes who use, primarily, their intelligence to reach toward their goals.
-Spaceships in space.
-Aliens, usually to serve as a mirror for ourselves.
-Big stakes, at least life and death, and some action so it isn’t simply cerebral.
-Something original I haven’t seen before.
-Engaging writing that doesn’t draw attention to itself in service of a fast-moving plot.
-Few or minimal mistakes. I primarily see science mistakes, but obvious errors of fact destroy my suspension of disbelief.
I blame at least some of this on growing up with Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and the like. I have a need for the new and the alien, and the phrase “space, the final frontier” is embedded deep in my hindbrain. Computers and robots, steampunk and alternative histories, apocalypses, time travel…they’re just okay. Nothing wrong with them, but for a novel to be perfect for me, everything’s better with a spaceship.
How about you?
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