It was the year 30,000: How to kill interest

quillThough my book exists in the realm of science fiction, I’m actually a realist. When a book sets itself up in a future so far advanced that it seems unreal, I’ve already set the book down and moved on. Unless you are an absolute visionary, and I assure you – that is rare, then you simply aren’t going to do it justice. Picking a setting that would, in reality, have almost no correlation to the world we live in today makes for an impossible task. If Arthur C. Clarke and William Gibson can’t pull it off – you, my dear mortal, have a razor-thin chance.

History has proven this parallel, time and time again. I’ll use a popular example: Star Trek. The more advanced the show moved into the future, the less interest it managed to garner. This has nothing to do with gender, ethnicity, race, or even story for that matter. It was all about connection, or lack thereof. If a reader can’t place themselves into the fiction, they lose interest. We are all vain individuals, and it’s always about us.

Being brought up on bombastic, and intense science fiction where laser cannons destroyed worlds, alien races mingled with humans and the universe itself was always on the brink of destruction is largely to blame. What authors seem to forget, is that we were children when we devoured those experiences. As adults, the reality of the world we have to live through on a daily basis makes those fairy tales very hard to buy into.

What makes a good movie, and what makes a good book are completely different things. You can be mesmerized by the visual spectacle of the on-screen effects while absolutely nothing is happening – Books have no such luxury. You have to engage the reader, and the best way to do that is to put them in a world they can believe in.

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2 Comments

  1. I absolutely agree with this advice! Writing from what we know is usually the best approach, I think. The Star Trek example was also very appropriate (I’m a fan of the Original Series).

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    1. Thank you. Likewise, I am a fan of original series, though I wasn’t when it actually aired. Then, it was something my dad watched, and I grudgingly endured – too ‘talkie’ and not flashy enough for me. Funny how life comes full circle…

      Like

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