Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Why Science Fiction? Guest post by Jamie Sheffield

Following, a guest blog post Jamie Sheffield wrote for me as part of the "Writers Robin Round".
I also have written a blog post for him. My post on his blog.
Here is what he wrote:
When I first talked with Micha Fire about each of us writing for the other's blog, she suggested I write a ‘food for thought’ article about Science Fiction. I was initially unsure of what to talk about, but have been thinking about it for some time, and have some snacks for thought about SF. 
Science Fiction is a genre that encourages the exploration of ideas or questions or philosophies through the application of various elements that support (and even require) the readers’ suspension of disbelief in ways that would not be reasonable in other types of fiction … some of the elements include:
Alternate timelines resulting in a changed history or future
Other worlds, outer space, the center of the Earth, etc.
Non-human characters - aliens, mutants, robots, etc.
Futuristic technology/scientific advances - devices or altered scientific principles
Different social or political systems or structures – post-scarcity, dystopic, post-apocalyptic, etc.
Evolved abilities like telepathy, pyrokinesis, mind-control, and teleportation
Building a story and/or world around one or more of these elements of Science Fiction allows the author (and by proxy, their readers) to explore thoughts and ideas and moralities outside of those presented by the ‘real world’. At the end of the day, it’s the exploration of these ideas, more than the special effects that makes great Science Fiction work for me. 
“Ender's Game” is a great example of astonishing technology and the threat of alien beings forcing the reader to focus on questions of morality and warfare and responsibilities to individuals versus society.

“Jurassic Park” grabs readers with a fast-paced story teeming with ferocious, cloned, dinosaurs, but the questions of scientists’ responsibility to carefully manage the power and knowledge gleaned from their predecessors ‘ work is what stays with you, long after you have finished reading the book.
“Dune” brings readers to a richly detailed universe that is hugely distant and different from ours, and allows readers to explore the concepts of power and scarcity and control and uprising and political intrigue and interdependence in the course of a rich and rewarding story.
“The Yellow Pill” is a brilliant short work that pulls readers into a discussion of perception and reality and the ways in which people choose to deceive themselves in order to go about their daily lives. 
I've read hundreds more novels and shorter pieces that use the elements of Science Fiction to help the reader crack open the accepted views of reality and normalcy, to allow us to look at some aspect of the world or our lives in a unique and telling manner; sometimes the best way to look at something is to turn it on its head, and that’s what Science Fiction allows readers and writers to do.
The stories that have changed my life the most, and stayed with me the longest have all been Science Fiction.

Jamie Sheffield

Short Bio
Jamie Sheffield lives in the Adirondack Park, and when he's not writing mysteries set in the Adirondack Park, he's probably camping or exploring the last great wilderness in the Northeast.  He has been a Special Education Teacher in the Lake Placid Central School District for the last 15 years.  Besides writing, Jamie loves cooking and reading and dogs and all manner of outdoor pursuits.  "Here Be Monsters" is his debut novel.

Other info and pictures and such can be found on my website at:
My website is

And yes, I agree that reading Science Fiction, no matter if it is old ones or newer releases, can open your mind to see things differently. 
So, as writer with an open mind, I tend to write in Science Fiction style, however I do not stay strict to the genre. It might as well contain Psychology,  Romance, Speculation, Utopia, Fantasy or even Magic fiction ideas. Sometimes even Thriller or Horror though that is not so much to my likes. 
I'm more of a happy, optimistic writer; sharing the good and positive in this world. 

Happy reading, Science Fiction if you want. =))