Guest Post by William L. K.
A Note from BigAl: Despite encouragement from many friends who kept suggesting, “you should start a book blog,” I kept resisting. My typical response was, “why does the world need another book review blog.” When I finally allowed myself to be convinced, it was with the thought of having more than just reviews. In the almost immediate crush of book submissions those ideas quickly fell by the wayside – it also convinced me that possibly there was a place for another book review blog.
However, I still wanted more than just reviews. One of those ideas was posts that prompted broader discussion about the world of books, rather than specific books. Although not my primary reason for writing it, the post on negative reviews turned out like that. The guest post by Donna Fasano on the romance and chick lit genres did the same. Inspired by Fasano’s post, sci-fi/fantasy author William L.K. whose books “The Voice” and “Eye of the Storm” I’ve reviewed recently offered up this post for our consideration. If anyone else, author or reader, has an idea along these same lines and is interested in writing a guest post let me know.
I’m amazed by the amount of readers I meet that refuse to read science fiction. The response I usually receive is a preference for ‘character’ over ‘bizarre, frightening creatures and places’ that have no foundation in reality. In my opinion, this is an interesting conceptual flaw because the best science fiction I’ve read never focuses too heavily on external surroundings.
As a sci-fi/fantasy author (and huge fan of the genre), I’ve read an enormous amount of science fiction. I do agree; science fiction that puts too strong an emphasis on setting can many times fall flat. However, the core for any story, regardless of the genre, is strong believable characters. Frank Herbert and Arthur C. Clarke are two great examples of how to create supreme character development. They are absolute masters at spotlighting real human characters, with real human qualities.
Living on this planet, we will obviously experience euphoric moments of extreme pleasure and tragic circumstance that defy understanding. It’s always been my belief that we have a psychological need to connect to the drama in a character if we are to care at all about the plot. Don’t get me wrong, of course plot is vital, but is it really what drives us to a story? At least in my own personal writing, I have found that plot is simply the manifestation of a character's believable dilemma, and subsequently, the triumph or failure over any given obstacle.
Good science fiction must be based in the perceptive analysis of our own reality. There has to be a passionate connection to the personal situations we deal with in our everyday lives. Once that is established, does it really matter where or when the story takes place?