Author and scholar Natacha Guyot recently interviewed me for her #SciFi Women Interview series. As the name suggests, Natacha’s interviews focus on female creators (authors, artists, designers, etc.) in the science fiction genre. In the interview, I talk about some of my early sci-fi influences (including Resident Evil and Sliders), as well as the versatility of the genre. You can read the full interview on NatachaGuyot.org.
While I have done several fantastic interviews in my short time as an independent author, the #SciFi Women Interview was definitely one of my favorites. Because my current series, Desertera, belongs on the “soft” side of science fiction (steampunk/dystopian) and some of my future projects land firmly in fantasy, I often feel uncomfortable identifying with science fiction alone. However, answering Natacha’s questions reminded me of two important things: 1) how much I love science fiction and 2) that I actually have some street cred in the genre, both in nerdy passions and Desertera, however “soft” it might be.
For me, science fiction is the genre that allows the most “truth” in fiction. By pushing the boundaries of reality into an altered state or a potential future, authors can provide a critique of humanity and/or a cautionary tale about society that doesn’t deter readers. If you hold a mirror up to someone’s face directly, they’re unable to separate themselves from the reflection. But if you place a mask over their features, they can be more objective, while still aware of the truth beneath the façade.
Despite its criticisms and pessimistic exterior, as a whole, science fiction remains remarkably optimistic. A central theme that runs through the genre is the triumph of humanity over evils (be they aliens, technology, or other people) and the inherent goodness of humankind (or at least the protagonist). I’ve always understood the message of the genre to be: humans make mistakes and bad things happen, but they don’t have to stay that way.
Even if my desert dystopian land flirts with historical stylings and a feels like a fantasy kingdom, I hope that central theme still resonates.
But I do know one thing: I definitely need to write a straight science fiction (or maybe fantasy …) story next time around. I owe it to my favorite genres (and myself) to explore their creative playgrounds properly. And who knows? Maybe I’ll take you along for the ride in 2017 …