I’ve been crushed at work for the past few weeks, so I haven’t had much time to write original content here, or even to visit other blogs. My company hired three new people to take over some of my duties, but showing them the ropes increased my workload in the short term.
Fortunately, this guy stepped up to write an article for the PDC:
That’s SFF author CS Boyack, who writes his own blog at Entertaining Stories, and alternates posting with other authors at Story Empire. Because he just released a new near-future sci-fi collection of short stories (The Enhanced Leauge), I asked him to do a guest post about writing science fiction.
I’m a fan of Boyack’s “Experimental Notebook” short story collections, which I’ve reviewed here and here. They make great reading around Halloween, and if they were available in paperback I’d tell you to pass them out to trick-or-treaters.
I’ve purchased a copy of The Enhanced Leauge, and I’m looking forward to reading it when I finish my magazine quest. Now, I’ll turn things over to our guest, who will tell you more about the collection, and his thoughts on writing sci-fi:
Thanks to the Commander for having me over today. I want to talk about my newest release, and write to a requested theme. I love a challenge, but this post may come in two parts.
The new book is called The Enhanced League, and it explores one year in the life of a fictional baseball league. This is a collection of short stories and anthems that serve to tell an overarching story. These are all human interest tales, but there is a science fiction basis behind the book.
This league is one where anything goes. Players can use performance enhancing drugs if they want, and the teams provide physicians to monitor their players. This opened the door for a prosthetic arm, the arm of a pitcher. That’s where the science fiction part comes in.
Science fiction comes in hundreds of flavors, and there are all kinds of debates over what qualifies as real science fiction. In my mind, they all are. As an author, I needed to find my own niche in this world.
For purposes of discussion, I’ll avoid all of the sub genres, and focus on two points of contention. Hardcore science fiction where all of the science is based in plausibility and could actually happen in the future, and soft science fiction where the technology already exists and characters are living in this environment.
I love both kinds, and don’t put weight on one over the other. I write better soft science fiction myself. My stories are about characters and their arc more than creation of some new world-changing technology.
If you think about it, cellular telephones were unheard of twenty-five years ago. If an author from the late 1980s were to write about our era, they might just have everyone using cellular technology without delving into how it all works. I think that’s a decent explanation of soft science fiction. My characters might jump on a space transport, or use a time machine, but they weren’t involved in creating it. It’s part of their every day life.
I fare better at what I call twenty minutes into the future science fiction. This allows me to look at current events, and break them into a cautionary tale or consider the step beyond today’s discovery. It’s kind of a what happens next mentality.
This is the kind of background you’ll find in The Enhanced League. It isn’t quite the six-million dollar man, but it’s not far off. It’s kind of funny, $6M was an exorbitant amount in the 1970s, but today many baseball players make that and more under modern contracts. This brings me to another point. A lot of science fiction will wind up dated somehow. A sci-fi author can drive himself crazy worrying about such things. I think we have to write what we feel, with passion, and hope for the best at some point.
I hope some of you are inspired to check out The Enhanced League. It’s a heck of a deal at 99¢, and if only one or two stories click for you it’s well worth it.
The Enhanced league is a collection of short stories and anthems centered around a year in a fictional baseball league. It has a slight science fiction background. This league has a lot more pomp than you might be used to, and nobody seems to care if the players use performance enhancing drugs.
Stories involve existing heroes, up and comers, and falling stars. While there are the obvious stories that take place on the field of play, there are also human interest stories that take place around the baseball gyrations. These stories involve scouting, trades, ruthless business decisions, and even relationships.
I enjoyed researching and bringing you The Enhanced League, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. — CB
If you want to keep in touch with the author, I think you’ll enjoy his above-mentioned blogs, and you can also follow him on Twitter. One of his characters also has her own Facebook page. Here’s a short author bio:
I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.
I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.
I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.