Category Archives: Fantasy

SF, Fiction and Fantasy, Western US UK, and Chinese – Cixin Lui

Cixin Liu Remembrance of Earth’s Past SPOILER ALERT!


This is not much of a spoiler given the name of the series. But the slow build in The Three Body Problem, and the other two books, is very well done, mounting tension and fear towards the end of part one. If you might read it, DO NOT READ FURTHER!

CHINESE

Remembrance of Earths Past Cixin Liu
Remembrance of Earths Past Cixin Liu
Cixin Liu’s recent blockbuster best-selling trilogy Remembrance of Earth’s Past (1/ The Three Body Problem, 2/ The Dark Forest, 3/ Death’s End) is amazing, and startlingly original, which is very hard in a meme-saturated SF world.

But one comment. Cixin’s view of the rest of the Universe and the future is utterly negative, with aliens removing competition by annihilating (in spectacular and mind-bending ways) any new civilisation or solar system that happens to be noticed. Not even actually space-faring, just noticed by their monitoring systems. Even the more local aliens who get latterly get quite friendly are actually despicable fiends when it suits them.

Now China is called locally Zhonggou, the Middle Kingdom, the area under the control of whichever current Emperor (previous to unification the Middle Kingdom was a smaller area). They have always had invasions throughout a long history. Hence the Great Wall of China. So this mindset of fear about barbarians, destroyers, outside of home are deeply entrenched.

I say Chinese not Asian as there is only one Middle Kingdom!

CONTRAST

Star Trek
Star Trek on the way out
WESTERN
In Star Trek, or any other colonising empire-style SF, basically, there might be challenges but by using reason, progress will be made. It is always the fiendish aliens and their alien ways that upset the human ‘progress’ or more accurately expansion. Or sometimes they invade (briefly) to get our raw materials, which even includes our minds.

This is obviously a Western mindset. Achieved by ignoring what happens to indigenous peoples (such as native Americans, Australian Aboriginals etc).

Dr Who
Dr Who
COMMENT
Of course this is a massive simplification, but there you go! SF is always of its time and culture. Only a retro-obsessed culture like Britain could think up Doctor Who! And their British Robots (Daleks).
Daleks
Daleks at Christmas

A long synopsis and review of the Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy by Mingwei Song of MCLC Resource Center is here >

Read wiki about the Great Wall of China >

By Samantha Smith March 2017

Review of Writing SF Science Fiction and Fantasy, how to write book

Adam Roberts Writing SF and Fantasy bookWe are about to do a Notes Story Board app with SF and Android files. But since that is taking a while, I read some other how to write books. The best by a long way is by one of my favourite SF authors Adam Roberts:

Get Started in Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy: How to write compelling and imaginative sci-fi and fantasy fiction (Teach Yourself: Writing)

That’s quite a long title. The text is in the usual Roberts style, witty, erudite, slightly challenging. He provides breakdowns of what makes SF and Fantasy different. And even includes a plotting system at the end, to help you think up new ideas and stories. So it is very good on analysis and practical matters pertaining to writing about warp drives, time travel, magic, matrices, and all that. And why you might want to do that in the first place!

You can get the book on Amazon or Ebay for quite a reasonable price.

Here is a link to Adam Roberts sf writer wiki, since his website which is out of date for some reason.

And here is our offer for How To Write Fiction and Film Scripts ebooks >

Robots and Androids in sf science fiction

Robopocalypse SF book cover
Robopocalypse SF book cover
This seems to in the news almost as much as Trump and Brexit. AI, artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, robot wars, all that, everywhere. I suppose the invasion of smart phones has raised the profile of an old field. Robots are hardly new. I just finished the book Robopocalypse by Daniel H Wilson, which was a very good read (it is a epistolary thriller) with a number of vast plot holes. And an unpronounceable title. It was due to be a film, rights bought by Steven Spielberg, but has been dropped recently. I wonder if that is related to industry insiders not wanted to rock the boat, start panics, etc. Or the rather contradictory thesis – super intelligent killer AI mind takes over all domestic and military robots, but fails in war with a few scattered human gangs.

There is a good resource for robots and androids (human style robots) here
Robot and Android fiction information >

I am still writing new pages on SF and Robots. They will appear on here and also as files for our top 5 star story board writers app at

Notes Story Board app >

Novel written on social media

reddit novel
reddit novel
If you get bored thinking about – or dealing with – publishing, you could always part-publish via social media. In the olden days, hypertext fiction was briefly fashionable in academia. This was non-linear narrative via linked pages, with multiple exits and entrances, such that the reader could follow different routes.
Of course this undermines any narrative. Which is usually (but not always) the main point of a story after all.

Anyway below is a link to a long-form text being written on Reddit. It is fairly mixed up, multiple strands, interspersed with random links from other Reddit users (explore with care, these random links are more scary than the main story).

This means loads of comments from other Reddit users. There is no personal information about the author. How mysterious!

The writer is called _9MOTHER9HORSE9EYES9
That might be a pen-name. Or the title.

and the link is:
Reddit novel-thing from _9MOTHER9HORSE9EYES9

SF Fantasy courses online free

Iain M Banks Hydrogen Sonata
Iain M Banks Hydrogen Sonata – part of the Culture series

We are adding more free online SF and Fantasy how to write content over the next few months. To sign up for alerts, just go to our home page. This will include:

  • SF world building – world meaning context, and usually actual worlds
  • Fantasy world building
  • How to avoid – or disguise – Infodumps
  • FTL – faster than light travel – allowed or not?
  • Portals – journey to another world/dimension – from that wardrobe to the Cat in the Hat – they are everywhere
  • Differences between SF and Fantasy

Also:

Writing a series
Making a pilot for a TV or film series
Research – technology and concepts
Research the market – don’t rewrite someone else’s idea
SF Fantasy Characters
SF Fantasy Plotting
SF Fantasy Conflict

Geoff Davis - Nnn Goes Mobile - Cyber VR novel from 1994
Geoff Davis – Nnn Goes Mobile – Cyber VR novel from 1994

And last but certainly not least:

Finding new ideas

Some are specific to SF and Fantasy, as things are somewhat different – or are they?