Going Local When Times Are A’ Changing
I like Dan Berger’s essay “J.R.R. Tolkien: Myths That Never Were and the Worlds They Become.” I agree with his argument that, maybe, it is time for fantasy to move beyond Tolkien’s mythological and historical underpinnings and find new ways of writing fantasy. Indeed, I’ve felt the desire to write science fiction and fantasy inspired by the American experience. To be honest, I want to go one step further and explore the speculative potential of my native state of Texas. But, as is my psyche, I’m in flux as to how I want to tackle America and Texas in fantasy and science fictional form.
In my last post about my writing, I revealed that I have four projects on my plate. In the succeeding weeks, one of those projects has grown exponentially in the planning. From a single novel to a tetralogy, now the damn thing is a damn trilogy of trilogies. To be honest, I love this development. It allows me to write an epic contemporary fantasy without worrying about running out of subjects for other possible fantasy projects. These nine books will be the fantasy kitchen sink. Everything will be included, or at least mentioned or implied to exist.
So, how does this affect the rest of the four? Well, Sebastian Ulrichs is screwed unless I incorporate his story into the nine books. (Which I likely will). Two Cities is still going strong because that story assumes an Earth devoid of any magic confronting a city from a secondary world with magic. So, it is free. What about Bright Light, Deep Shadow? That one will have to be retooled. But I don’t think I will have too much of a problem with it.
I may retool Bright Light, Deep Shadow into a science fiction story. And expect many more to come.
To be honest, I’m starting to gravitate more and more towards science fiction compared to fantasy. In a way, I’ve always preferred science fiction, but I’ve found fantasy the easier genre to write and write about.
The assumption of a science fiction/ fantasy binary, though, is a dangerous one. I still like both genres, though my heart belongs to science fiction. I just need to take the leap into writing it.
How does this relate back to going local in writing science fiction and fantasy, though?
Well, all of these projects or nascent projects explore my concerns for and about America and Texas. What does it mean to be American or Texan? What is my place in a world where I feel I don’t belong? Etc. There’s enough to, likely, fuel a hundred novels. Not that I’ll try.
I want to say so much more, but these ideas are so new right now. Both the fiction and the theory.
I just know that I can’t wait to discover the answers.