Thursday night is Relaxation Night due to a combination of things happening early in the evening, then Project Runway coming on and remaining on my television until nine-thirty PM. There are only two or three more episodes of that show remaining, so I’ll soon be back to working on Thursday nights–and by working, I mean writing.
The way things work our, I’m looking at a lot of editing and formatting throughout April, with an occasional article here and there posted just to keep my hand in. I’ve looked at my Idea File (I do have one), and I’ve not seen too much that is blowing a draft up my skirt, at least not yet. Yes, they are my ideas, but what seemed like a good idea one moment doesn’t always translate into, “I gotta write this now!” As I’ve found, you gotta let an idea stew a bit before you jump into it, otherwise it’s going to die stillborn.
But what do I want to write next? I’ve been into the horror and the fantasy the last two novels, so I need something different. But what? Science Fiction? Erotica? Maybe Science Fiction Erotica, where In Space, No One Can Hear You Orgasm Unless You’re Really Loud.
I have been thinking of trying to write some science fiction that’s more in line with what’s considered “hard”, which means there’s no energy weapons that vaporize people, no gravity fields that make your space ship layout look more like the Queen Marry 2 than any tall skyscraper you can bring to mind, no super-duper space drive that will get you from Point A to Point B in a matter of hours.
There’s a term for that in the community: Handwavium. We’re talking a complete disregard for any of the laws of physics, where we can travel faster than the speed of light, or we can use an electromagnetic field to deflect light, or we don’t worry about heat when we’re using weapons that can take out stars. Most of the science fiction from the Golden Age was like this, mostly because there were a lot of things we simply didn’t know at the time, but these days most writers have a better understanding of the universe, and they know what can and can’t be done . . .
Yeah, but we still like stories about getting from one star to another, and doing it in a way that doesn’t make us wait forever for our characters to make the trip. Star Trek wouldn’t be nearly as interesting if it took an entire season of fifteen shows (actually twenty-two back in the day, but that was back in the day) to travel from Earth to Vulcan, which in terms of the scale of the galaxy is like me walking to the end of the driveway to get the mail. The Dominion War becomes a lot less worrisome if it takes the Jem’Hadar six months to travel from the Bajor Wormhole to DS9–and Starfleet won’t show up for eight months after that.
There is something intriguing about staging a story in a world where most of what happens in a world is more or less real. Sure, you can stretch science and engineering a bit to make the world a little move interesting: you see that happen now and then where the space habitats are little too nice, the ships a little too fast, the terraforming a little too quick. And yet, the reality is just enough that it feels like a world that isn’t too out there, that’s it’s just real enough to be a place that could happen.
Now all I have to do is come up with that world–
And write it out.