Science Fiction

Draggy

Posted on February 23, 2010. Filed under: Science Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , |

It’s been a long day, and this is going to be another of those fabulous filler posts. Oh well. I’ll at least post a little about reading since I did some today.

I finished reading Kathy Tyers’s Fusion Fire today. Now I’m preparing to start Crown of Fire, the last in her Firebird Trilogy. So far it’s the only science fiction I’ve really enjoyed, but who knows? I may read some other authors and find myself falling in love with the genre.

That said, the Firebird Trilogy is interesting for a couple of reasons.

First, it’s one of the few Christian sci-fi series I’ve seen. No, it doesn’t go into Christianity, per se. But it does have a lot of parallels with Old Testament stories. For example, the big theme of the race that is featured so prominently in the story is a belief in a coming god who will absolve their darkness. Sound familiar?

A lot of Christian stories I’ve read are all about post-Christ items. For example, Francine Rivers, a pretty well-known Christian author, has a series called the Mark of the Lion. It tells the tale of Hadassah, a young Jewish girl who is one of the early Christians in the days when Jerusalem was sacked following Jesus’s death.

So it intrigued me that Tyers’s story is about the pre-Christ (or whatever the god-character’s name would be) era of this race’s religion. It’s rather fascinating in that it delves into some pretty deep concepts of evil and good and how others view it.

Another thing I like is the relationships. As I’m not that attracted to science in the first place, it helps me that there’s a pretty large focus on the relationships between the characters. Firebird Angelo, the main character of all three stories, has relationships that vary with a number of characters. The most intriguing relationships to me are those of Firebird and her sisters as well as Firebird and the man she eventually falls for, Brennen Caldwell.

Heir to a higher calling through his religious beliefs, Brennen is a totally different kind of person from Firebird. She was bred to believe in her world’s gods: the Nine Powers. They are characteristics that each Netaian citizen should embody. But as the third daughter of the queen, Firebird’s heritage will be one of noble suicide when it is determined that her eldest sister’s daughter is old enough to be confirmed.

Unlike Firebird, Brennen comes from an Ehretan background and believes in a just and loving Singer, the god of his people. It’s beyond him when he meets the suicidal pilot of a space craft he rescued from destruction to understand how Firebird could attempt to kill herself so callously. And, of course, his disbelief grows when he opens the cockpit to find her having swallowed the equivalent of a cyanide pill when her original attempt to explode her craft is thwarted.

And all this happens in the first novel: Firebird.

It’s pretty fascinating, and there’s a lot of good history and background that you discover as you read. My only problem, as has been the case for me, is in reading some of the more scientific bits. It bores me, and I end up starting to fall asleep. I never fall asleep in the middle of a book, so this tells me something: I’m not a fan of sci-fi.

Even so, I’m a fan of this series. We’ll see if I skip over the more technical bits in the third book or not. I’ll probably avoid anything related to sci-fi for a while after this, but at least I’ll be able to give Desteni her books back. She’ll appreciate that.

And, of course, I need to finish reading Card’s how to book by the end of the week in order to prepare for March. But that’s a relatively short book, and I’m more than halfway through at this point. So hopefully I’ll kill two books with one week, or something like that.

Sorry for such a boring filler post. I’ll do better tomorrow. It’s just been a rather long, emotional day. I hope you’re all doing well, though!

-Rae-

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I Am Not Editing – Really!

Posted on February 22, 2010. Filed under: Editing, Fantasy, My Writing, Science Fiction | Tags: , , , |

I got enough sleep last night after all the craziness of the last few days. It was glorious. And it was so lovely to wake up and realize I’d overslept my alarm for the umpteenth time. I suppose getting a job would cure me of that failing or else that failing would cure me of a job. Either way, I feel rested today.

So I thought it would be a good idea to read a bit more of How To Write Science Fiction & Fantasy while I was awake and able to process it. So far I’m really enjoying the book, but it’s also been rather challenging. That’s both good and bad for me.

Having Orson Scott Card’s take on this area of fiction has been rather invaluable for me. I finished reading the chapter on world creation today and am currently reading the story construction chapter. It’s fascinating because there are so many facets that need to be considered in order to write a well-rounded, thoroughly planned, adequately articulated novel. Granted, a lot of those are things that become subconscious, like deciding your genre and then adding in elements that are typical to that genre in order to fit with the conventions. But there are a lot of questions this book is raising for my own story.

For example, I have to wonder if my world is really developed yet. Do I have an organized system of government for my country? Is the magic involved fully scientific and fully ‘magical’ at the same time? Does it make sense? Are their articulated rules on how the magic works?

My answers to each of those questions are the same. Yes and no.

Card’s challenge to think through these expectations of readers is really causing me to want to get into the nitty-gritty development of my world regardless of the story I’ve written. I want to go back and pin down all the variables that make up even the details of the world that will never be written into a story.

It’s kind of exciting and kind of exhausting at the same time. But I’m thinking it’s a good idea to begin working on some of those extra details now while I have the opportunity and before I begin editing that first draft. That’ll make it easier for me when I go back to identify the areas that need to be explored, fleshed out, and detailed. Or nixed altogether.

And, despite the fact this book was written for authors of science fiction and fantasy, I think it can provide guidance for writers of any genre. Just check out the third chapter on story construction. Card begins with a discussion of the distinctions between ‘heroes,’ main characters, and point of view characters and throws out ideas for just how those characters can be the same and different depending on the story.

Perhaps this is a plug for the book, but I’m enjoying it. In fact, I’ll probably go back to reading it some more after I finish this. But it’s beneficial, challenging, and thought-provoking in all the best ways. So I’m going to stick with it.

-Rae-

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Posting for the sake of NaBloPoMo

Posted on February 21, 2010. Filed under: Books, Musings, Science Fiction |

Today has been a really long day. I’m pretty much exhausted cause I had so much to do. However, I managed to get through, and now I’m pretty much posting because I said I’d post every day in February and I haven’t missed a day yet.

With that said, I’ll at least keep on target a little. I’ve read a bit more of Fusion Fire by Kathy Tyers tonight, and I’m a wee bit confused. That might be due to my limited sci-fi knowledge, but regardless, I’m not getting some of it.

Maybe this is why I don’t like sci-fi: it forces me to think and reason through what the author’s saying.

Either way, it’s kind of annoying. I like the series, and I’m going to finish it, but some things are harder for me to grasp than others. Maybe I’m just stupid. Or I just don’t understand some of the elements of science fiction.

And I’m currently having to babysit a puppy who is attempting to find any and all possible chew toys in my bedroom. Shoes included. Books, too. And as I have a plethora of both on and around my floor, I should probably find a toy for the dog.

Anyway, that’s my subpar post for the day! I’m just proud for getting through the concert and posting to begin with! I hope you all are doing well, and look forward to my return to regular, lengthy posts tomorrow!

-Rae-

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Writing about Reading about Writing

Posted on February 20, 2010. Filed under: Books, Editing, Musings, Science Fiction | Tags: , , , , , |

I’ve been wanting to make this title for a post ever since I first thought about getting out some writing-related books to read. Of course, I had to hold off until I officially started reading one of said books, and that wasn’t until after I have purchased one of said books. Confused yet? So am I.

Anyway, I’m currently in the middle of a reading spree of books that might possibly help me in editing my novel in March. I have no idea whether they’ll be of great help or not, but I’m going to try them and see. I’m looking forward to some of them; others are pleasure reads that I can finish shortly and move onto the next book.

So my pleasure read at the moment is Fusion Fire by Kathy Tyers. Again this is the second book in the Firebird Trilogy. It’s a good book so far, and since I’d already started reading it, I’m picking it up where I stopped reading. It’s not that hard to get back into, and I hope I’ll finish it soon.

As far as writing-related books go, I’m reading Orson Scott Card’s How To Write Science Fiction & Fantasy after purchasing it the other night with my dad. So far it’s had more emphasis on writing sci-fi, which I can understand given Card’s background. (Though he has written for both genres.) However, he offers a lot of insight on world creation and other elements.

It’s a five chapter, short book, but it’s making me think a lot about my own world. What is it that makes it a fantasy? What is it that could stand more rules and structure? What requires a bit more development? These are all questions I’m thinking about as I read Card’s book.

I like his style. So far I’ve been pretty impressed, and now I’m kind of wanting to read Ender’s Game and Hart’s Hope as he mentions both those novels in the book. He uses them as examples for his world creation process. I’ve never read any of his novels before, but I’m thinking once things settle down and I’ve shaved off more of my reading list, I’ll invest in a few of his novels and see how he writes fiction.

At this point in the game, I’m pretty sure he’ll impress.

But I’m going to have to end this little post because it’s been a crazy, hectic day, and I have quite a bit to do. I have a choir rehearsal for a concert in less than thirty minutes, am trying to speed up the bake time on tamale pie, and need to get my contacts out because they’re bugging me.

Oh, and I went to the home and garden fair today with my dad. It was really lovely, and I managed to purchase some seeds to start an herb garden. I also got two planters: one has lavender that you sow yourself, and the other has peppermint that’s getting ready to sprout. I’m rather excited about it myself. I got thyme, basil, and Italian parsley seeds as well. We’ll see how it works!

Comments? Thoughts? Snide remarks? Let me know!

-Rae-

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Slow Post-er

Posted on February 15, 2010. Filed under: Books, Editing, reading, Science Fiction | Tags: , , , , |

This has been a rather lazy day. It’s now a little before 7:30, and I’m just getting around to posting for the day. On a side note, anyone who can tell me how to get the blasted time stamp feature changed on my WordPress account would be very helpful as it’s now saying I’m saving the draft at 12:23 a.m.

Even so, I don’t have a lot to say today. I’ve been reading all Lauren Willig all the time, but I’m considering a slight change of pace after I finish reading the current novel.

After thinking about it, I’ve realized I should probably prepare myself for the first round of editing before I get into it. So I’m going to pick up some of the books on my list that rank closer to the world of fantasy.

Next on my list to be read? I’ll be finishing off Kathy Tyers’s Firebird trilogy. It’s sci-fi, but the technical aspects of it will be helpful because I seriously need to bone up on my technology descriptions.

I’ve read Firebird and started reading Fusion Fire several months ago. For what it’s worth, this series has held my interest in a way few sci-fi series do. And I’ll be honest, I couldn’t stand C.S. Lewis’s space trilogy, consisting of Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength.

I tried to read the series, but it was just too foreign to me. Perhaps I was too young; I think I first started reading it in middle school. Either way, the sci-fi did not work for me. And I’m a Lewis fan through and through.

With that said, I like Tyers’s world. It’s an odd combination of sci-fi and fantasy because the two genres can easily be said to be intertwined. I don’t care as much about the science of her world because I’m not scientifically minded. If it didn’t make sense, or, as my dad says, if the physics didn’t add up, I most likely wouldn’t notice. But I’m perfectly at ease examining her development of characters and gradual drawing of relationships. The plot helps, too, of course.

However, I’m pretty sure I’m going to make this series the last I read in the sci-fi genre. Why? The science bores me. If I have to read about how spaceships fly or the genetic qualities of a particular space gem necessary for survival on four-fifths of a galaxy’s planets, I’m going to fall asleep.

Yes, sci-fi can be well done. Yes, I’m sure it’s very interesting once you bypass all the nitty-gritty details. I’ll be perfectly happy to allow everyone’s opinions, but for myself, the next time I pick up a sci-fi book, I’d find it just as enjoyable to skip over the monotonous details and simply read for the plot.

Ah well, I suppose I’m not cut out for sci-fi. It is rather specialized. Or niche-oriented. Take your pick. Either way, I do recommend the series by Kathy Tyers. It’s lovely so far, and eventually I’ll finish it and write a review on it. (Then I’ll give the borrowed books back to Desteni.)

What is everyone else planning to read next?

-Rae-

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