Monday, February 1, 2016

Change of Publishing Plans, New Blog and Avoiding Old Sci fi Tropes

Three aliens gathered under a flying saucer.
Photo Credit:

The problem with writing science fiction today is keeping up with the increasing speed that technology advances at. Unlike those eras before internet, technology was not as quickly advancing and so it was easier to keep up with it to reflect future technology in writing speculative fiction. But now that much of computer technology is becoming more complex it is able to develop at faster rates and it will develop at even faster ones yet. Because of that, many authors are concerned that it’s harder to write new sci fi without getting stuck with old tropes and so I’m going to talk about that but first I want to bring to light some slight changes in my own current work.

Changes in Publishing Plans and a New Blog

I’m slightly postponing the publishing of The Hidden so I can first publish some of its stories individually. Therefore I’m taking a few of the stories that I planned to include in my second short fiction collection and will self-publish each as its own book. I’m doing this because The Hidden, which I’ve been planning for almost a year now, is turning out to be a bigger hurdle than I originally thought. As much as I’ve self-published a book before, and so am familiar with the process, some of the stories are taking me longer to edit and revise for various reasons and I want to make some available to readers so they don’t have to wait until the whole collection is out which I’m not sure when that will be. I’ll definitely keep you updated where I am with The Hidden each time I make progress. In the meantime, the first story will be out as its own book probably by the end of February. I’ll definitely keep you updated on that as well.

Other news: I’ll be launching a new blog in addition to A Far Out Fantastic Site. The new blog will focus on everything pop culture outside fiction writing and reading. It will feature articles about movies, TV, gadgets, animation, music, video games, etc. Because my area of expertise in pop culture is science fiction and fantasy, the blog will lean towards those genres but will not be limited to them. I want more flexibility to discuss topics that wouldn’t serve the majority of readers here. So I want to be fair to those readers who are more into writing and reading speculative fiction while yet provide an avenue for those who are into other media of the genre.

Avoiding Getting Stuck With Old Tropes in Writing Your Science Fiction’s Charlie Jane Anders, just published her first novel for adults, entitled All the Birds In the Sky, and it is already getting great acclaim. She talks about in her article what she learned in writing the mixed sci fi and fantasy novel. She says that the challenge of writing sci fi today is avoiding old literary tropes and rewriting them to create new stories. However, she says this challenge is a good thing because it forces writers to look for new ideas and find new approaches to old sci fi tropes. She says that this type of challenge comes from TV that reiterates old science fiction themes. Anders talks about the apocalyptic theme used in a lot of speculative fiction through the years especially in books. She admits that her book contains an apocalyptic scene. However, she also says that, unlike most apocalyptic fiction authors today, she puts an optimistic spin on the apocalypse in her novel by showing the potential for a resolution.

This reminds me of a story that I’ve been grinding away at in its revision process but am now finally completing. In this story, the old tropes are gargantuan alien monsters and zombies both of which attack people. The twist: they don’t go anywhere; they don’t move an inch. Yet they will kill people. This may sound like a science fiction version of an Eastern koan, and maybe it is, for now at least. If you want to solve the logic of that “koan”, you’re welcome to do so; just let me know your answer in the box below. But if you want me to give you the answer, you’ll have to wait until I publish the story which I’m not sure when that will be and whether it will be one of the stories that I’m putting in its own book or that I’m waiting to include in The Hidden.

But, you might be asking, isn't rewriting an old trope to make a new one just rehashing an older story? Not really, because we all bring our own experiences to the stories we tell. In doing so we add elements from our own lives, our own unique ways of thinking and perceiving the world; we are creating a new story in the process. Plus, the world is always changing. Society changes, new issues come up all the time. And, as far as science fiction goes, new discoveries and advancements in science and technology are being made more now than ever. These are opportunities for new stories regardless of the literary tropes used in them. Anders talks about this plenty in her article so I suggest you take a look at it. 

I might have a new article at in the sci fi “column” by the end of the week; I’ll let you know in the next post. I’ll also let you know when my new blog launches. It might be ready to go by the end of the week, too. Also, I'll have more about The Hidden and my upcoming short story that you’ll be able to purchase at Amazon. To stay updated, subscribe to my blog in the box to the right that says “Subscribe to this blog!”

By the way, you can purchase Charlie’s novel, All the Birds In the Sky, at Amazon. Just click on the image below to get there! 

Until next time . . .


  1. Let me know when you launch the new blog! That sounds like right up my alley.
    I admire those of you brave enough to self-publish.

    1. Thanks! I'll definitely let you know when it's launched. To get the news soonest, you might want to subscribe to my blog (here, at Far Out Fantastic Site) in the Subscribe box below or you can also follow by email in the box below that.