02-10-2007 02:31 PM
"She met him on a long, slow, morning run into the Kazakhstan countryside. Loping into a chilly sunrise over slowly-rolling grassland hills, the derricks of the Cosmodrome illuminated like golden fairy palaces off to one side, she heard footsteps approaching from behind."
The SF icon in this story is Space. The setting for most of the story is on the I.S.S. (International Space Station), while the story is about my protagonist (a female astronaut who becomes the I.S.S. commander during a crew rotation) and her reaction to a potential terrorist threat raised by a billionaire passenger.
What's at risk is not only her reputation and responsibility as I.S.S. commander (she has to determine if the threat is real), but also the future of the space program, since a successful terrorist attack might well result in its end. But she also likes the passenger and finds it hard to believe that he'd attack the station. So there's internal conflict within her and a potential danger to the station without.
I'll not reveal the resolution until I've written the first draft completely, but I have one in mind.
I've read each of the other postings on this thread and find that there are a lot of great ideas out there--rediscovering earth colonies, meddling with the human genome, discovering psi powers. I'm going to comment on some of them, but not all, because my time is limited. I'm a full time language arts teacher and have papers to grade and lessons to plan.
I started participating in this workshop because I needed the challenge of producing work and critiquing work. But I've only got so much time to read and write, so I will pick and choose my spots and hope you understand that. I may participate more often during breaks and on weekends than during days.
My goal here is not to explore new SF ideas so much as work on SF story-telling. I've had a lot of great ideas, but after years of putting them on paper, I realize that Sturgeon was correct when he stated that story-telling is as least as vital as coming up with great ideas, and that's why this story in particular focuses more on character than on a fresh idea.
I hope you'll enjoy it anyway.
02-10-2007 03:05 PM
02-10-2007 04:29 PM
The story idea itself sounds great, however. Is this near-future writing, or far-future? (I am assuming near-future.) It's a neat premise. I read of people already buying tickets to go to space, and think of them as being awfully rich and maybe a little spoiled or something, but it never occurred to me to think of them as a terror risk. And yet it makes sense, once you've presented the possibility.
Will we get to read it when you're done? :-)
Good luck writing and teaching at the same time!
02-10-2007 07:14 PM
02-10-2007 09:23 PM
I totally support your resolve to do what you can. I think that is the key to working in this kind of group. It can be pretty overwhelming trying to respond to everything. This group is large enough, that if one person doesn't respond, someone else probably will.
On your paragraph, I have a suggestion which would help focus the attention of the reader and make them ask questions. If you try
"On a long, slow, morning run into the Kazakhstan countryside, loping into a chilly sunrise over slowly-rolling grassland hills with the derricks of the Cosmodrome illuminated like golden fairy palaces off to one side, she heard footsteps approaching from behind."
I tried not to change your words, just modify the order slightly. Now, I think, when someone reads that they are wondering who is approaching. Instead of wondering who is running also, you might think about replacing "she" with the name of your character. Then, poof, your story is off to the running start you are trying to accomplish, I think.
I'm definitely interested in reading more.
02-10-2007 09:35 PM
02-11-2007 11:15 AM
That's a good and a fair question. Much of SF deals with the future, aliens, spaceships, and other symbols that can't be mistaken for anything but SF. As a reader, I've often hungered for those things in an SF story.
Sometimes I don't. Some of the best SF is technologically spare and brushes the borders of other genres. _The Man in the High Castle_, by Phillip K. Dick, is one of my all-time favorites, and has no technological premise at all. Its premise is simply, What if the Axis won WWII, and not the Allies? (There's a whole subgenre of SF that's alternate history. Why place it in SF? No one knows, but it fits.)
In William Gibson's recent novel, _Pattern Recognition_, the character lives in today's world and works as an advertiser. Her ability (not a psi power) is the talent to see brand essence (a concept from marketing science). She uses her 'power' to solve a mystery in the book. SF or not? Well, you can buy the book on the SF bookshelves of B & N.
This particular story I'm writing ends at the International Space Station, following a trip up in a Soyuz, with both characters wearing spacesuits at the climax, but I'll be the first to admit that these things exist today, and you could write a realistic story and submit it to Evergreen or Glimmer Train or one of the other traditional literary, non-SF markets.
The future has caught up with SF in many respects. Spaceships and spacesuits are no longer a guarantee of exclusivity for SF.
Some writers even use SF tropes to create traditional, non-SF, literature, writers like Kurt Vonnegut and John Updike. Ursula LeGuin, the editor of the Norton Anthology that we're reading, has been placed both within and without the SF tradition by critics, depending on their prejudices.
In short, the borders of SF aren't well-established, and there's a lot of action out on the frontier. Hope that helps.
02-11-2007 06:41 PM
As for your story, why bother set it in a space station and not include the science. Science fiction has two things that readers consider 1)the story 2)the science. If you don’t consider science then you are giving yourself a big hit right off.
What is the orbital mission? How long is it? What is accomplished and what does that have to do with the story? Why is the terrorist billionaire even there?
02-11-2007 07:46 PM
02-12-2007 06:21 PM
02-13-2007 03:45 PM
02-14-2007 04:03 PM
03-01-2007 11:16 PM