Wednesday, April 14, 2010
I've learned something over the last couple of days. I am not good at trying to force certain elements of a story together. I have been trying to write a short story for the online magazine that Gav over at NextRead is trying to launch, and my story suuuuucks. The submissions had to fit within a certain theme and this issue's theme was science fiction fused with myth. Sounds easy right? And given the latest trend of fusing fantasy & sci-fi, you'd think I'd have plenty of inspiration. But it just wasn't working out. The problem I had was my own interpretation of myths. My favorite kind has always been good old Greek mythology. I've been fascinated with it ever since I was a kid. I remember picking up books on mythology as early as fifth grade. I can't tell you how many times I watched the original "Clash of the Titans" growing up. And even though they were completely mythologically inaccurate, I was a bit of a "Hercules" and "Xena" addict. So I naturally gravitated toward Greek myth when trying to write my short story, but I really got caught up when trying to add sci-fi elements. How do you put a gun in the hand of a god? Or give them a reason to need optical implants? Or space crafts? I know I didn't have to put the constraint on myself that the characters I was working with actually be gods, but I thought I could make it work. Only not really. Science fiction isn't my strong suit. I'm kind of weird in that I like to read fantasy and watch science fiction, so I don't speak the language in print. Occasionally books with sci-fi elements will tickle my fancy. I really liked State of Decay by James Knapp, a book that put a really good spin on the zombie genre but was firmly grounded in science. But when I try to add a modern twist to a very old mythology, I end up with urban fantasy. So it leaves me wondering whether science fiction can really be fused with other genres and still remain true to form, and not just something out of a "Star Trek" episode. I have so many books right now that cross genres. I have a giveaway that is a mash-up of "Jane Eyre" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" for Pete's sake. But nearly all of the books that I can think of that incorporate fantasy & sci-fi elements fall under the urban fantasy umbrella. I'm probably over-thinking this as usual. But it was grinding at me as I was writing the story. I didn't know if Gav was going for urban fantasy and I kept thinking that I needed to keep the sci-fi elements more crisp while staying true to the mythology. Is that even possible? Well, of course it is...but can you still, really, call it science fiction? I probably have way too much time on my hands if I'm dwelling on this.