Please welcome Karen A. Wyle to the blog! Karen is the author of Twin Bred, a novel that takes an interesting take on inter-species conflict.
I’ll start with a caveat. I do not always write science fiction. For many otherwise fallow years, I wrote picture book manuscripts. More recently, between my current release and the sequel (still in rough draft), I wrote what I suppose is general fiction, if a novel in that category can take place in my fanciful notion of an afterlife.
That said, I am proud to write science fiction.
I don’t remember when I started reading science fiction, but I’d guess I was around ten or eleven. I have been reading it ever since. The day I met my husband, twenty-five years ago, we talked for two hours about Robert A. Heinlein and assorted other SF authors. As you might suppose, our marriage exposed me to even more of the genre.
How do I love science fiction? Let me count the ways. . . .
Science fiction explores how human beings – whether acknowledged as such, or in any of innumerable disguises – react to the unexpected. How do they – how would we – cope with the fulfillment of anything from dream to nightmare? How will the future we anticipate surprise us? How will we surprise ourselves when we confront it?
Science fiction’s imaginative settings allow us to examine familiar themes and problems with a fresh eye. (Star Trek, despite its flaws, was often excellent at using the trappings of science fiction to explore issues like racism, war and peace, patriotism, gender identity, ambition, love versus career, et cetera.) I am a lawyer; I am writing a series of short stories which will eventually include legal issues raised by certain future technologies. I have long been fascinated by twins: my novel Twin-Bred features fraternal twins (carried by host mothers) belonging to different species. I have been deeply interested in parenthood since becoming a mother: I can create aliens for whom parenthood is in many ways different, and in some fundamental ways the same.
Science fiction paves the way. Its authors, often scientists themselves, extrapolate from current technology and knowledge, and make educated guesses about what we will be able to invent. Often they guess correctly. It might be easier to identify the scientific advances of the last sixty years that were not predicted in science fiction than to list those that were. By working within the constraints of scientific theory, science fiction honors those who have spent their lives helping us understand our universe (and any meta-universe which may include it).
Finally, science fiction gives the would-be builder of worlds a place to play. While fantasy does the same, science fiction imposes certain constraints – and as many a poet would testify, some constraints can actually spur creativity. At any rate, I find satisfaction in knowing that what I have imagined, or what another author lays before me, could possibly exist. Science fiction authors differ in how hard they strive to ensure that the physical features of their planets, aliens, and technologies fit within our current scientific theories (or at least, scientific hypotheses held by at least one adventurous scientist out there). No scientist myself, I still try fairly hard. I use my husband, whose scientific knowledge runs broad and deep, as my technical adviser – but if I really want to make the sky green, or put multiple sails on the sailboat, or whatever, and he is skeptical, I just keep researching until (with luck) I find some more or less plausible basis to do so. On the other hand, unlike historical fiction, where the possibility of error lurks behind every detail, the amount of research need not be too intimidating.
I’d love to see comments about what visitors to this blog like most about science fiction — or about any problems they have with the genre.
Can interspecies diplomacy begin in the womb? After seventy years on Tofarn, the human colonists and the native Tofa still know very little about each other. Misunderstanding breed conflict, and the conflicts are escalating. Scientist Mara Cadell’s radical proposal: that host mothers of either species carry fraternal twins, human and Tofa, in the hope that the bond between twins can bridge the gap between species. Mara lost her own twin, Levi, in utero, but she has secretly kept him alive in her mind as companion and collaborator.
Mara succeeds in obtaining governmental backing for her project – but both the human and Tofa establishments have their own agendas. Mara must shepherd the Twin-Bred through dangers she anticipated and others that even the canny Levi could not foresee. Will the Twin-Bred bring peace, war, or something else entirely?
Smashwords (various ebook formats)
Visit Karen at www.KarenAWyle.net for an excerpt.
18 thoughts on “Guest Post: Karen A. Wyle – Why I Love Reading and Writing Science Fiction”
Hello, all! I forgot to tell Charlie that the paperback of Twin-Bred is available on Amazon as well.
(And the link is http://www.amazon.com/Twin-Bred-Karen-Wyle/dp/1463578911/ref=tmm_pap_title_0.)
Sorry, some of the links weren’t working as expected. Operator error! They should be fixed now.
Awesome post, Karen! You mentioned a lot of reasons why I fell in love with science fiction as a kid and still love it to this day. Growing up, I loved the ‘what if’ and imagined many great space adventures while exploring the nature of humanity. This is also what made me love Star Trek and many other sf shows. I also love exploring our current society through a futuristic or alien lens with commentary that offers a different view of seeing things we are used to or already have a POV on a la Philip K Dick’s works. Such a great genre!
Thanks, Rae! Who are your current favorite SF authors?
I’d have to say Beth Revis and Clare Dargin. They would probably lean more on the SFR end of the spectrum (and with Revis, it’d be YA) but I really loved their approach to the genre while adding a bit more of a love story to expand on the human aspects. 🙂 I notice a lot of great SF titles are coming out of the YA genre nowadays.
I like science fiction for its seemingly infinite possibilities and the wide variety of its sub-genres.
Fave sci fi authors include: CJ Cherryh, Phillip K. Dick, Octavia Butler, Paolo Bacigalupi, Arthur C. Clarke. I could go on and on.The list is pretty long.
Twin-Bred sounds fascinating. I too am very interested in parenthood/motherhood in science fiction.
I love Octavia Butler’s work! Wild Seed may be my favorite of her novels. (Kindred was beautifully done, but tough to read/live through.) I was sad to hear that she’d passed away. I’m currently waiting for her book Dawn to become available at our local library.
Great post. Nothing better than science fiction and fantasy.
Like you, one of my favorite things about science fiction is that nothing is impossible if you can explain it well enough without boring a reader 🙂
There are twins on both my side of the family and my husband’s (My daughters might want to consider that when planning their families many years from now 😉 ) so I’ve got an interest in twins as well. This looks like a good one 🙂
Are your daughters twins?
No, but my husband’s mother was, and I have a brother and sister who are twins as well as cousins. I keep teasing them that throwing twins is a possibility. No idea how it works genetically, but I figure with two X chromosomes where multiple ovulation might be present, they could be in for something 😉
BTW, my usual email address is malfunctioning, so if anyone wants to contact me directly, please use email@example.com.
I have always loved that SciFi allows us to look at cultures and human relationships in new ways. There are issues and aspects of our human existence that we can’t look at clearly until we take away the modern day context. Set the story in an alien environment and suddenly our preconceived notions can be discarded for a fresh look at things.
Thanks for the great post, Karen!
SF isn’t my go-to genre, but if someone hands me a book and says READ THIS, I would. I read for the story, whether it be aliens or other worlds or historicals or about cowboys. If it’s a good story, I’m happy.
I like SF because it is the ultimate ‘what if’? As somebody else said, you can dream up anything – provided you can come up with some plausible way of explaining it. Other galaxies, other universes, alternative realities. With the new theories coming out of quantum physics you can knock yourself out. Take Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series – plausible genetics with a low-tech society. Great stuff. Then there’s Asimov’s Foundation series and Robot series. Love it. I love ‘Star Wars’ too. Spaceships, cool aliens and all the politics of home.
When it comes down to it, SF takes you away from the mundane, to other worlds. Which is why I don’t like dystopian SF.
Abigail & Greta – thanks for sharing your thoughts!
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