Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Political Refugees, Head-Tossing Young Maidens, and Other Madness

Tim Pratt, via Steph Burgis, asks writers to post the pet subject they enjoy putting into their work, and list what they'd never want to write about.

Here's some overarching themes and subjects in my fiction:

1. Civil war as subplot

2. Blood. Lots of it. And screams. Loud ones. Nearby.

3. Big, strong women who wield big weapons and have intimacy issues

4. Beautiful male dancers who are uninterested in said heroine. My most popular side-kick template.

5. Queer and bisexual characters, particularly women within matriarchal set-ups, as well as sexless neuter characters, sex-changing characters, and androgynies.

6. War, baby. All-out, bloodthirsty, pistol-wielding, sword swinging, blood curdling WAR. Including genocide as primary plotline, often within a desert setting. Oh yea.

7. Multi-colored and cultured societies. See aforementioned interest in war.

8. Bugs. Lots and lots of bugs.

Here's some things you probably won't see in my fiction:

1. Matriachal societies who end wars by putting together a big book that Explains Very Politely to the Evil People that Peace is Really Better, and Save the Day through their "natural" nurturing and soft-spokenness, proving that if you let yourself be a doormat long enough, eventually someone will become enlightened and listen to you.

2. Hard SF that's primarily about Big Machines that Go Real Fast

3. Anything where the social structure is exactly like it is in America in 2005, or 1985, for that matter.

4. You're not likely to see anything without bugs in it for some time. South Africa has scarred me for life.

5. Psychic cats

6. A women soldier who goes out onto the battlefield, pulls off her helm, and "tosses her long auburn locks." I'm not particularly sure what she's doing with long, unbound hair in the first place (particularly clean unbound hair that will bounce like it does in a Pantene commercial after being bundled up into a helmet and left unwashed for three months), let alone why the fuck she's stopping her horse in the middle of a bunch of dead bodies on the field to toss her head like Jessica Alba (Gardens of the Moon). Which would be why I wouldn't write it.

2 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Sounds good K. Other things that can go missing from SF ficton for all I care:

1.) Time machine BS. Yeah Einstein, this might work in theoretical physics, but it'll really screw up your plotting. Trust us on this one.

2.) Any mention of how robots think. We know this. Some of us have to program the buggers...

3.) Ditto for the 1950's social recapitulation. It was not fun the first time, the 2nd time around is not going to be any better.

4.) Space Buggy worship & fantasy. Yeah it goes how fast Nimrod? 11 Parsec's? How's that in Km/sec? Cause I got this tricked out Honda that would smoke 'yer ass...

5.) Ditto for the fawning maidens waiting to replay some medieval damsel in distress mode.

6.) Too much silly dialog that has the characters sounding just like New Yorkers, or NZ's, or Aussies, or insipid period Germans.

7.) Villains straight out of the old Western model. More Buck Rogers? Been there, done that.

8.) Heroes with the complexity of cardboard cut outs.

9.) Humorless plots & action. Nothing but blood and gore.

10.) A nice neat moral ending to it all. Life's not like this, so why should we expect the future to be as non ambiguous? 

Posted by VJ

Anonymous said...

Anything ever written by Piers Anthony must be destroyed. And all those T&A covers depicting DD-size "warrior" "princesses" in "armor".  

Posted by Andygrrl