Monday, 12 October 2009

Write what you don't know

Tim Stretton has recently been keeping quite a detailed record of his wranglings with embarking on writing a new historical fiction. What I've ben interested in is his reading matter. He is digging into his genre, in an effort to find out more about his chosen period, sure, but also as they're the type of books he likes to read.

As close observers may know, I am in the throes of writing an SF novel (am about halfway through the first draft, and have a very able advisor for the more technical elements of the book), but my science fiction reading, especially in recent years, has been pretty limited, and what I have read, outside of Interzone, I've found pretty dull (Stephen Baxter, Greg Bear...) I never have really been a big SF reader, more fantasy. I've never read Asimov, or Zelazny. What gives me hope is I remember reading some while ago that Neil Gaiman always wanted to be a science fiction writer, as that was what he loved, but ended up writing fantasy.

Part of this new book is set in post-almost apocalyptic Britain where I'm on firmer ground--thank you 2000AD et al--but the other section is set in a, for want of a more appropriate phrase, virtual reality.

Outside of Neuromancer, I'm not much of a cyberpunk. I toyed with the idea of reading Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, and also gave Charles Stross' Halting State a go recently, but these books are built, really, around gaming, which is something that, obviously others have done already, and also doesn't interest me much. But, perhaps more to the point, I find them a little intimidating. They make me wonder if I can really pull this off.


David Isaak said...

Zelazny wrote a little bit of straight-up sci-fi, but he's really verging more into fantasy. I think you'd enjoy him--Lord of Light is one of my favorite novels--but I doubt he'd help you come to grips with the field.

For that matter, I haven't read many thrillers. I just happened to write one. Ao I wouldn't worry about it.

Neil said...

Oh, well if he's fantasy, then I can read him without cause for concern. Actually, the SF I've read is older stuff, I guess pre-90s.

Actually, I've read a fair bit of space opera and billion of years away stuff to, like M John Harrison and Justina Robson, but that's so far out there--like Iain M Banks I suppose--that's it's far enough away to be almost fantasy. It's the round the corner plausible stuff, that'll be outdated in the next forty years or so that's the issue--my main grounding in this is Back to the Future II, although maybe that's not such a bad thing...

Neil said...

Not that I mean the 1980's are really old or anything, David, you understand.