Superheroes, Fantasy, and Science Fiction
I think I’m falling out of love with superheroes right now. I just can’t muster up the excitement. Not even Earth 2. Right now, I’m decidedly more into manga, again. Sometimes, I curse my fickleness.
But, honestly, the superhero genre is only tangentially related to the point of this post. The real problem is a conundrum I’m facing when it comes to science fiction and fantasy.
I want to write science fiction as much as I do fantasy. I love both, I’m passionate about both. But fantasy just calls to me. It just seems more, I hate to use the word, “natural.”
Perhaps the issue is one of outlook and interest. I’m a natural at history. And it is so easy to adapt the history I read into ideas for new fantasy projects. This is not to say that I cannot adapt those same inspirations to science fiction, but my natural inclination is to fantasy.
Maybe it’s how I think about science fiction. Maybe I’m too concerned with applying the realism of science. Maybe I’m trying too hard to predict the future. And that shouldn’t be what I obsess over. I should be looking at making it fun and exciting even has I try to hammer whatever themes I wish to explore.
What concerns me is varied. For one thing, getting the science right, even if it is only structural support. I am also deeply concerned with depicting a culture that has believably progressed from our own.
Now, I prefer space opera and cyberpunk to harder schools of science fiction, so how truly concerned I should be is up in the air. But I hate to make mistakes.
And it is so much easier to muck up science compared to magic. . .
So far, I haven’t touched on possible combinations of the two. I do have a love for science fantasy. I’ve blogged about my love for this mash up genre (even as it is arguably older than science fiction and fantasy proper).
I have a lot of projects I want to write. Hell, I have a bucket list of genres I want to get to. And science fantasy is at the top of my list. But how do I approach it? How do I get the science and the magic to play nice? Or should the the uncertainty be between advanced technology and obviously not as advanced cultures?
I keep thinking about knights on motorcycles. How do I get it to work? Well, I could create a modern secondary world where the social upheaval caused by World War I never happened. I could see the German Empire expy using such forces. And perhaps the British as well. Another option would be a post apocalyptic setting where humanity has descended into another feudal system. Or maybe mash up biker ethics with a notion of chivalry and loyalty to a feudal type lord.
But could I introduce knights on motorcycles in an expy of 1381 England? Honestly, no. This is, honestly, one of my big problems with Dune. How the fuck does a feudal system exist in space. And to exist for ten thousand years (more if you read the prequels)?
Clearly, don’t ask my opinion about medieval stasis (or really cultural stasis) because that will set me off on an epic rant. Yes, it is easier to create a world that hasn’t changed in x thousands of years. But it is freaking dull.
And in that, I think my science fiction side comes in. Even as fantasy comes naturally to me, my outlook is decidedly more science fiction friendly. I’m not enamored of monarchy and romantic visions of peasants. I do have a dark take on that period. But I’m not grimdark. Tragic, yes. Grim, dirty, and occasionally disgusting? Fuck no.
I’m a worrywart at heart. I shouldn’t be too concerned with this at the moment. Hell, I’ve got a ton of other projects on my plate. But I like to think and plan ahead.
And who knows? Maybe I’ll figure it out in the near future? Nothing is set in stone, after all.