Opening Day, Home Runs, and Lazer GunZ

It’s that time again.

Baseball is starting and I’m stoked! To quote the film ‘Moneyball’:

How can you not get romantic about baseball?

I’m sure many of you hate baseball. You are excused from any opinions.

With the start of baseball comes the Spring, and with the spring comes an urge to create. I don’t know if it stems from the newness all around us (wild flowers, wildlife, no more ice everywhere…) or simply from some sort of ingrained genetics that make it that way. Whatever the case, Spring brings forth all kinds creativity. Channeling this can make or break a writer at the screen, and in the market.

 

Write Write Write

I’ve always found this to be some of the best advice any writer can receive. Even if a project is put off or lost, continuous writing keeps the juices flowing. I have found no less than 20 stories whose existence I had forgotten, but are examples of continuous writing. Maybe the stories are silly. Who cares?! They can be about unicorns who fart cheeseburgers, the point is to keep writing through a slump, and (since we’re going with a Spring newness motif here) eventually create something that’s awesome.

Watch Baseball

Or go for a walk. Whatever. Between writing stints you have to take a break. Or every story is going to have a unicorn that farts cheeseburgers. I don’t know why I’m on that today, but hey what can I do? It’s one thing to have a silly story lurking that has to get put down before something good comes out, but it’s a whole new level of scary when all of your stories have the same silly things in them. After the fifth unicorn story, it’s time to take a break. I know that I will be frequenting Whataburger field in Corpus Christi, TX and, sigh.., Globe Life Park in Arlington, TX. I sigh because they sold the naming rights and now it just sounds lame. Go Rangers. And Hooks.

Write Sci Fi

No brainer here. The best genre ever invented. Everything from genetically engineered sharks to sentient space computers. Science Fiction is so fascinating because it brings out the best and worst qualities of man all in one sitting. This genre will forever sit atop others, even if the NYT best seller list won’t accept true genius. Sci Fi is about questioning everything, and coming out with heinous answers and even more threatening questions.

Be Weird

Not necessarily cheeseburger farting unicorn weird. But don’t be afraid to push the limit. There’s always somewhere new to go, and it doesn’t have to be weird in a bad way. Make it weird in an interesting way. We need to push the envelope and take sci fi where it has never been before.

 

If you haven’t yet, be sure to download my book of six word science fiction for 99¢ on Kindle, and leave a nice review

How weird can it get? Pretty weird

I just finished reading Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s Sci Fi epic The Mote in God’s Eye.

I don’t necessarily agree, but Robert Heinlein said:

“Possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read”.

It was alright.

Actually, the story had a bit of a cycle. It was three pages of absolute garbage, and then a page or two of sheer genius. I seriously had to fight to get through the beginning. There’s a lot of background information to get through, and it takes forever to get through it.

The end result is actually pretty good though, as I said before, so I wanted to cover some things that make this novel a worthy read and some things we can pull from it as Science Fiction writers.

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW

 

Absolute Weirdness

If nothing else, the ideas in this book are absolute gold. In most ‘first contact’ type books, the aliens come to Earth and are warlike or way more advanced than humans. Not really so in this one. For one thing, the humans go out to find the aliens in this one because the aliens went crazy and tried to go find the humans…you have to read it to get that.

Aside from the unusual meeting, the aliens are SUPER weird! I was honestly blown away by how original the aliens were. They are asymmetrical, breeding dependent, and live in a ridiculous caste system that they genetically engineered. Yeah, go check this junk out. On top of that, there are leftovers from all of their genetic experiments, which reveal the true nature of their species to the humans.

Plot. When it finally got there…

For all of its shortcomings in execution, the plot was actually pretty good. The Moties (the aliens) are actually aware of the humans existence, but have no way to leave their system. They actually try to hide their breeding problems from the humans in order to leave their planet! The humans discover all of the deception however and set up a military blockade. The unfolding of the plot is somewhat slow and labored (at one point, you the reader get told all of the Motie secrets but have to wait for the rest of the characters to catch up) but it really is very clever.

Accessible Hard Sci Fi

This book is definitely nestled in the hard sci fi genre. They accelerate in gravities, the military is very prominent in space, and explanations are given for everything from Motie physiology to how the airlocks work on multiple ships. And yet there’s enough action off of the ships to give it a little lighter feel. One of the things that gets buried under the Moties’ weirdness is the humans own societal systems at work. There is a somewhat complicated love story and all kinds of resentment on both sides.

The characters get a little hard to sort at times, mainly because there are so many of them, but they are generally accessible. I felt sympathy and empathy with a lot of them, along with anger and astonishment at some of their decisions. All in all it was way more enjoyable than this garbage I tried to read.

Interesting Futurism

If you don’t know, I’m a Christian. More specifically I’m a pastor. So the thing that stood out to me the most in this book was the religion. There was talk of the Motie religions, and a few offshoots within human religions, but there are definite human traditions at work. The Christian Church is still going strong and one of the characters is a sort of Muslim. I say sort of because he fights his upbringing in his head the whole time. I simply found it interesting that the authors projected these two religions forward. Most authors don’t bother with that. Something to think about.

 

If you haven’t read the book, don’t worry I didn’t spoil too much. In fact, the first half will make you forget everything I’ve told you, so go pick up a copy! It’s definitely an interesting read.

It’s summer time, and I have two things going: reading list and baby watch. My wife is due in July, so I will be reading a lot of books while I wait for the baby. On top of several non fiction books I have lined up, i will be reading Ender’s Game and Rama II this summer. Join me? Or send some suggestions? Whatever you do, keep writing!