Human beings NEED stories. For whatever reason, every society that we are aware of has had stories, and storytellers, and this fulfills a deep, psychological lust within us all. There are no exceptions.
In this age of instant access, almost every aficionado of every genre is constantly in an anxious state of waiting for the next episode, next book, or next movie in their favourite franchise. The number of people who are frustrated beyond belief at waiting for the next Game of Thrones or Walking Dead is, in a sense, epidemic. Frankly, the industry can’t keep up with our demands, and when they do release what we want, we descend upon it with the ravenous appetites of the desperate.
The worst part of these feeding frenzies is that, in the end, most of us are left afterwards with a bitter sense of disappointment. The fans of the original Star Wars trilogy never cease to complain about the prequel trilogy; the fans of the original Star Trek still complain about the existence of the reboots, and they both are outraged at the plethora of novels they have read which the latest TV show renders non-canon.
But there is a lot of great stuff out there, and so we endlessly search for our next stunning romance, the next transcendent fix, for our addiction to STORY.
I don’t know about you, but I have read a TON of the great science fiction and fantasy literature out there… and there is a huge volume of fantastic stuff to read. The industry has, over the years, been involved with real, creative genius more times than I can count, and I do my best to read them all.
But there is a problem.
Take the sub-genre of high fantasy as an example. Tolkien wrote the Lord of the Rings, widely regarded as the definitive masterpiece of the genre, and has been given all of the acclaim and accolades that suggests. However, it was originally published more than a half a century ago, and still, a huge majority of the high fantasy out there is STILL trying to recreate the Lord of the Rings. Let me tell you something: YOU CAN’T RECREATE GENIUS. Even someone with genius equal to Tolkien’s, equally visionary and living today, would write a very different story, and rightly so. Tolkien had a lot to show us, and the best way for a writer to honour that, and just maybe recreate some of that wonder, and power, and rapture is to take what he’s read and learned from Tolkien, and use that to WRITE HIS OWN STORY.
Second example: in ‘hard’ science fiction, the most popular subgenre would no doubt be that of Star Trek, and rightly so. Gene Roddenberry had a powerful vision, one that was at odds with the zeitgeist of the day, one that fit the angst and crises that were effecting people at that time. But the number of people out there today, publishing stories about a slightly different Federation of Planets, with slightly different alien races fighting slightly different perils, is STAGGERING. Authors who have no knowledge of science, but who can, in the best Trek tradition, fill in a blank space with ‘techno-babble’ that fits the plot, are all well and good, but in this age of instantly accessible information, had hardly be said to compete with that level of genius.
The industry, unfortunately, being made up of big, multinational companies with hundreds of investors and publicly traded stocks, are forced to go, as often as is possible, with the ‘safe bet’, which unfortunately means recreating old ideas. They can hardly show proven sales statistics with new ideas, can they? So instead of fostering the limitless myriad creativity of the amazing talent out there, they demand a re-hashed version of a concept which is, granted, genius, but also six decades or more out of date, and what genius they have access to is diluted in a deluge of tired metaphor and re-hashed plots, with cookie-cutter characters in mindlessly repeated conundrums.
Independent authors are that pool of amazing talent. Unlike the industry as a whole which is always looking for the ‘next’ Roddenberry or Tolkien, they are firing out the new ideas now that big industry will take up in twenty years’ time, and no doubt will claim for their own when they do. You want genius? You want raw, interesting characters, in truly confounding dilemmas, pitted against deeply disturbing villains? Search out an independent author, and you will find it.
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Published on June 12, 2017 16:57
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Extremely Large Thoughts

Cameron S. Currie
The epic tale of an independent author and his struggles with independent authoring, publishing, and the relentlessly driving whip of the need to entertain the avid and discriminating reader.
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