Science Fiction narratives can be cowboys transplanted into space; they can also be an exploration of the possible. There are many sub-genres. Some of these have come to embed themselves in the public consciousness in a way that I couldn’t have anticipated in my early SF reading days, four decades ago:
- First Contact with Alien Intelligences
- Post-Apocalyptic Future
I find these intriguing because either, or both look like plausible bets sometime in the near future.
Works that involve first contact with alien intelligences raise a whole series of questions that are existential at both the personal level and the level of our species.
- Where do our ideas and technology on, for example evolution, God, the origin of life; sit in the big picture?
- Could we be manipulated and not see this?
- How would we actually react to first contact with alien intelligences?
- What would aliens be like?
- Why would aliens not acknowledge attempts to contact them?
- Our hominid cousins are extinct. Does that say anything about us?
- How we might get along with creatures that were wiping us out?
I write because I think it cool to bring authenticity into fiction. I don’t do Cowboys-In-Space. Not yet anyway. I’ve read much in that vein and it can be entertaining, but that’s not what I want to portray. Instead I dip into history, culture and science; for example Dark Matter, Evolution, the Street Urchins of Paris, Nuit Blanche.
For the depiction of post-Apocalypse life, a deprived upbringing that is well-remembered, surely can’t be a disadvantage.
I wrote A Guide to First Contact to explore this.