Why I Write Science Fiction & Fantasy

scifi syllabusIf you follow me on social media, you may have seen this month’s exciting announcement: for the second semester, The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1) will be taught in a university classroom.

This time, TCD features in a Science Fiction & Fantasy literature class. When I saw the syllabus, I nearly cried. To have my book read alongside such legends is an incredible honor — and one I do not take lightly.

In fact, it got me thinking…what is it about Science Fiction and Fantasy novels (and TV shows, movies, video games, etc.) that I love so much?

Why, out of all the genres, have I chosen to commit my creativity to Sci-Fi and Fantasy?

Well, I think the answers are one in the same.

First, I’ve never had a good story idea that doesn’t fall under one of these two genres. Yes, I’ve got a contemporary romance bumbling about my brain. Yes, I’ve conceived of a historical fiction tale, and even a crime novel or two. However, again, I don’t think these ideas are worth pursuing, and more importantly, they don’t really excite me.

But the apocalypse? Steampunk gadgets? Fantastical lands with mythical creatures? Now they rev my motor.

So why do Sci-Fi and Fantasy appeal to me so strongly? It’s how I was raised. A few flips through the family photo album and it becomes pretty obvious: young Kate dressed as Xena the Warrior Princess for Halloween, college Kate getting the Supernatural tattoo, present-day Kate rocking out to the Buffy musical episode soundtrack…I could go on, but I’ll spare you.

contaiment zoneUpbringing aside — the best part about Sci-Fi and Fantasy? There are no real rules. The only rules are the ones you create for yourself. This character has X-ray vision? Sure. The fuel source on this planet is a primordial sludge? Heck yes. A giant steamship is moored in the middle of a desert? Obviously.

As a writer, I can do whatever I want. My only limits are my imagination and the prescribed order of the universe I create. Beyond that, the novel is my oyster (or alien or demon or talking hedgehog).

And as a reader or viewer? Sci-Fi and Fantasy offer the ultimate escape. What can take you away from your everyday troubles more than a trip to Rivendell? What can make that exam or that work drama seem less significant than the Mad Max apocalypse? And what’s more fun than dressing up as a comic book character of your invention and attending a rock concert? But that’s another story…

So, yeah, sign me up for a lifetime of engineering new worlds, weaving complex systems of magic or religion, and creating lovable (or hateable) inhuman characters. I’m on it. And if I’m ever tempted to stray over to romance or thriller, maybe I’ll just slap some fangs on my brooding heart throb. I hear that works well.

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36 thoughts on “Why I Write Science Fiction & Fantasy

  1. Helen Jones says:

    That is so awesome about your book being taught at University! Well done you 🙂 And yes, I’m right with you in that I don’t seem to get any story ideas that don’t involve some element of fantasy (other than a historical story I have bumbling around in my head). Fantasy just makes real life so much more interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. amo says:

    I agree. Especially about making up your own rules – it’s one of the reasons my stories are fantasy rather than historical time travel; I just couldn’t be bothered to do all the research to get the historical details right!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. tpolen says:

    Congrats – that’s some might hefty talent you’re listed with! I agree with you about sci-fi/fantasy. I live normal life every day – I like the unusual and fantastic when I read.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Alexander Thomas says:

    Your last point is simply the greatest reason to write in these genres. You can do everything that any other contemporary genre can do, plus spaceships and dragons. People often forget, but the main thing which makes Fantasy or sci-fi so interesting, is how despite these alien worlds and people, besides these mystical powers we could never posses, somehow, we still relate to these people and places.

    That’s the real magic, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

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