Friday, April 18, 2008

Fashions in science fiction writing

I'm reading Mary Gentle's Orthe at the moment. It was published in the 80s and is a leisurely, descriptive book about an ambassador to another world. It reads more like fantasy than science fiction to me, although it has space travel and a futuristic version of our Earth.

I'm enjoying it but it is very different from the kind of science fiction I grew up with - the more laconic writings of, say, John Wyndham or the early Brian Stableleford books, of which a particular favourite is Critical Threshold.

I'm wondering what the fashion is now. Most of the writing advice seems to be to get into the action as quickly as possible and to keep it coming. I think there needs to be a balance between too little description so no one knows what is going on and too much description so that the reader is bogged down. Maybe every reader has a slightly different idea of what they want.

I think I'm going to write the kind of story I want to read and hope that there are other people around who will want to read the same kind of story.


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