Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What I Won't Write

If you've read any of my books, you might have noticed a few things missing that most books have today. In fact, what you see missing was absent from a lot of science fiction books from the 1950's and earlier.

What am I referring to?

Mainly gratuitous sex, violence, and profanity.

There's a reason for these things are missing from my books. The main one has to deal with my beliefs and how I live my daily life. As a result, the books I write become quite a challenge in a world where vulgarities and gore abound. The challenge to write the story is small compared to the challenge of selling a story devoid of this content.

Most readers today are looking for the "realism" of these added items within the plots. Why? I'm not sure.

Let me explain. Most of the science fiction I read is what I would call "classic" science fiction from authors such as Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Philip K. Dick. Now, these authors, as their careers moved forward into the 60's, 70's, 80's and beyond, became influenced by what was acceptable.

For instance, Issac Asimov's Robot series is some of the best reading I've experienced. They were published as follows:

  • I, Robot (1950)
  • The Caves of Steel (1953)
  • The Naked Sun (1955)

The above books follow what I would call my guidelines for writing a book. Even given the title of The Naked Sun there isn't anything sexual in content within the pages of the story.

But fast forward to 1983 when the next book in the Robot series, The Robots of Dawn, came out. In this book, Asimov was comfortable enough to feature sex. Not only that, but the possibility of sexual relations between a human and a robot.

Similar things happened with books written by Arthur C. Clarke and Philip K. Dick. For example, A Scanner Darkly was laced with enough profanities to make Quentin Tarantino blush ... maybe.

Many might think of my point of view as prudish, and you're right. They might even think it makes my books unrealistic. You know, because people time traveling, orphan's having superhuman abilities, and imaginary friends telling a story from their perspective is realistic. ;)

But to me, it is a realistic way to write my stories. Because in my world, that's what I like to read. It's what I like to watch. It's what I like to listen to. It's how I live my daily life.

Maybe you feel the same way. In which case, my books are written for you. And maybe you don't feel the same way. Guess what? The books are written for you, too. Like the bygone days of classic science fiction writers, I follow their formula of old. And that formula can appeal to anyone.

So, in a way, I guess I'm stuck living in the past when it comes to writing stories.