The bulk of Science fiction stories take place on Earth or beyond our world. Stories centered on our big blue marble provide a comfortable and familiar setting. If we are writing about a galaxy "far, far away", we can flex our creative muscles in terms of setting. A whole new universe may need to be designed replete with aliens, languages, advanced technology and beyond.
No matter where our epic novel is set, all readers must still relate to the story. They need to feel a connection to our characters and setting. The same forces that drive humans must also drive our characters or they will seem alien to the reader (pun intended). They must possess similar needs, desires, and emotions. Create a world that is absurdly alien and no one will identify with the concept. We’re on the right track if we can remove the sci-fi element from our story and it still works as mainstream fiction.
Most sci-fi is merged with another genre to create a compelling story. As an example, let's look at some sci-fi movie mash-ups. At their heart, we have westerns (Serenity, Outland), horror (Alien, Event Horizon), thrillers (Minority Report), acion-adventure (Aliens, Total Recall), romance (Starman), and even comedies (Spaceballs). Science fiction books are no exception. Most take a common genre, listed above, and add their own spin.
Science fiction writers abide by the same rules, focusing on character development and storyline. The only difference between mainstream writers and us is we get to satisfy our inner geek!
- Alex J. Cavanaugh
Blog: Alex J. Cavanaugh
Thank you, Alex! Fantastic information! Make sure to click over to Alex's blog and keep up with the release of his novel.
A little more info: the artwork is by Stephan Martiniere, and you can reach more of it by clicking his name, or though Alex's blog.