Goodreads Sci-Fi/Fantasy Authors discussion

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Writing and Publishing > Is there a SF story theme, plot or subject which you are surprised has not been written about yet?

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message 1: by A.D. (new)

A.D. I was wondering if there are any more new ideas out there or are our SF stories a re-conglomeration of old plots, characters and themes? Have you ever wondered why no one wrote a story about what?


Kjersti but you can call me Captain | 32 comments I think that mine is pretty original...but then again I might be flattering myself...


message 3: by A.D. (new)

A.D. What is the plot or subject matter?


Kjersti but you can call me Captain | 32 comments Basically *draws a long breath* A college student named Katharine gets dragged into a rather sinister plot that hopes to snare a Nobel (or some other high award) Prize for advances in genetics/ botany. One of the campus professors and his associate have essentially created multiple species of plant-life that possess artificial intelligence. Of course, the rumor of these plants is already adrift amid the scientific community and other, unsavory organizations are bent on stealing the Professor's work. Katharine must keep the secret of the project or get...well...taken care of...^^

Of course, there are several subplots, but that is the main idea. Katharine is an aspiring tattoo artist who will eventually make, er, /unique/ and terrible inks with the knowledge from the botany project.

If you care to look, the rough draft of Chapters One Is posted Here:

Ink and Intelligence
http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/2...


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Nope. Of course, all of my books integrate some aspect or subplot of an existing plot. My books are on the group bookshelf. Take a gander. They all stand on their own individually, but are part of a series, called Children of The Dragon, a chronicle of the Xosan, living vampires from the planet Antellus who were human but were transformed by a dragon's blood. I think they are pretty original.


message 6: by James (new)

James (james_p_davis) | 8 comments Extra-dimensional, super-smart raccoons determined to control the international production of corn-dogs in an effort to stock a nearly endless food supply and to collect millions of little wooden sticks to manufacture weapons they will use against their earthly counterparts.

Why not? This book is begging to be written...

Seriously though, everything is derivative of something else somehow, it's in the execution of the idea where originality can be found.


message 7: by Steven (new)

Steven (stevenschend) | 2 comments Re: James' extradimensional raccoons, I can write the 2nd book in that series...when the Ninja Pirate Space Monkeys attack from their Galactic Galleon to let loose a full broadside of beta-cannons on those corndog sticks!

Avast-ye-ye-ye-ye-ye! ;)

And just wait until I tell you about the Hyperspace Hippoes....


message 8: by A.D. (new)

A.D. I like the Captain's title. My books are also on my bookshelf. Though I try to think of something "new", I believe the true artist in the SF genre is the one whom can present hard science which on description, does have some science in basis.
James, you got to write that story! By the way I have written a short story on Soulcast.com blog called "When Peas attack". It sounds something like your idea.


message 9: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) James & Steven, are you sure Kilgore Trout hasn't already done that?

;-)


Kjersti but you can call me Captain | 32 comments Sorry to say Gary, but I'm afraid that #1 sounds terribly familiar.

And what the heck is a succubus.

(Glad you're not really gone btw. ^^)

---Captain


message 11: by Phyllis (new)

Phyllis Twombly (ScifiAliens) | 47 comments Hi, A.d.

When I submitted my first novel to the 'supported self-publisher' they were adamant that my idea hadn't been 'done before.' It's about an advanced group of people who return to Earth because a space virus wiped out their women. Maybe it's all in the perspective, since a lot of science fiction is about humans looking for love and affection (or not, but getting it anyway!) from aliens, rather than aliens being more or less at our mercy.

Once that basic plot was in place, it was easy to write the first novel, Been Blued, and then proceed with the series. I'm currently finishing revisions for the third novel.

Sure, there are some 'old' ideas...what if 'aliens' have been here already to do things like build the Easter Island faces and Stonehenge, what if we're descended from aliens, etc. But every good author must find at least a new perspective. Inspiration is where you find it, and hunting it down definitely counts. :-)

Phyllis K Twombly


message 12: by Jim (new)

Jim Cherry (jymwrite) You know what cracks me up about aliens coming to Earth, is basically they build things that could have been built by humans of the period & no artifacts have been left behind.

On Easter Island why isn't there an old empty phaser or something they used to carve the statues and discarded when they were done? Or Stonehenge no anti-gravity sleds broke down when they were hauling those huge stones? None of their craft broke down? If Roswell and other incidents of the 20th Century are correct those things were fairly fungible. By the way how'd they make it through interstellar space only to blow up when hit by lightning or something but the Air Force can't shoot one down?


message 13: by Phyllis (new)

Phyllis Twombly (ScifiAliens) | 47 comments Hi Jim,

One thing that amazes me is how many people seem to think I 'must have' had an alien encounter because I write science fiction. I gently remind them that it's fiction, not a biography. At least sci-fi authors are sometimes fortunate enough to have other people wanting to play with their imaginary friends. ;-)

As preparation, I used to write fan fiction--my own episodes of Star Trek, Dr. Who, etc. It was a good way to get into the right frame of mind for writing my own stories. You can play around a lot when you have no intention of getting those pieces published. If you choose, you can even write yourself in. How would you cope with meeting a Vulcan or a Dalek? Your characters might, someday.

Phyllis K Twombly
www.ScifiAliens.com


message 14: by Jim (new)

Jim Cherry (jymwrite) Phyllis,
Yeah, that's another phenonema, are you writing about yourself? I've written about vampires, and serial killers among others.

But sometimes the answer is yes I write about myself, not in the way people think, direct experience but different aspects of me. In The Last Stage none of it is my direct experience but some of the more egregious displays of ego can be attributed to me on a bad day, I just let a character vent for me & take the rap.

Jim
Writing under the influence of Rock 'n' Roll! www.jymsbooks.com


message 15: by A.C (new)

A.C And now something completely different: What if those people of Atlantis and other highly developed civilizations fled earth some 10000 years ago because of the upcoming of menkind who are agressive and did not want to share their world with them?
Now - somewhere in the 26th century - the people of Earth are roaming the stars and find 'aliens' only to found out that they are original from earth and that these are the same figures all the elf legends were based on.




Kjersti but you can call me Captain | 32 comments *tries to think of writing in words only six letters long* ..........

*goes fetal for a few minutes*.............

Okay I'm good. But to me, it seems that that'll create a HUGE influx of, well, trash writing, won't it? I mean, if what you're saying is true Gray (and I do not doubt it), authors are having to "dumb it down" for an audience that has no desire to be challenged.

(Note: only seven words that are over six letters. XDD)


message 17: by A.C (new)

A.C Gary wrote: "It won't work, A.C. You have no audience for anything over 7,000 years in the past. According to recent polls, less than half the nation believes in evolution. That's why the sci-fi section is d..."

I am not seeking for an audience or words less than 6 letters. The actual story is set in the future, when the groups meet again.
By the way, when I write it is in dutch and only for a small audience and my own pleasure. I never intent my writings to publish. Here in the Netherlands there is only a very small fantasy-public


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Gary wrote: "It won't work, A.C. You have no audience for anything over 7,000 years in the past. According to recent polls, less than half the nation believes in evolution. That's why the sci-fi section is d..."
Well I'm sorry to hear that, but I'm not going to stop writing well about things other people should know just because less than 100 million people deny the existence of evolution. For them to believe that anyone should write whatever they want to read is the height of ignorance, and censorship for the sake of religious centrism. There are 1.6 billion people on this planet, of which a vast majority disagree with them.




message 19: by Lil (new)

Lil (lilmar) | 26 comments T. wrote: "Gary wrote: "It won't work, A.C. You have no audience for anything over 7,000 years in the past. According to recent polls, less than half the nation believes in evolution. That's why the sci-fi..."

Oh, well, I have to say that I disagree. I would read it. Mind you, I'm only one person, but I would read it. Incidentally, I don't believe in evolution (Darwin's version anyway), but if what I'm reading is scifi or fantasy, then I know it's not based in reality and don't go into it looking for reality. Heck, if I want that, I'll just turn on the tv, there's plenty of crap on there passing itself off as reality.

I've never read Hemingway or a lot of what is considered "great" literature. I tried Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World and absolutely HATED it from start to finish. I did finish it, but it was a struggle because it was so depressing. When I read, I don't want to come out of a book feeling bad, I want to come out relaxed and refreshed. The book that makes me that way(for instance, "Secret of the Sands," which I finished recently). I don't care who calls what I read "shallow" or unintellectual, I read what I want because it appeals to me, not because it's on someone's recommended read list.

I don't want to read a book that's written as if I don't understand large words, if I run across a word or concept I neither know nor understand rest assured I'll look it up. I like to be challenged when I read and the book that challenges me is usually the one I want.



message 20: by Lil (new)

Lil (lilmar) | 26 comments No, I read it once and that was enough. I didn't like the characters, plot, or anything else about it. I appreciate the suggestion, but why should I read something that only depresses me and ends on such a horrible note? I'm sorry to say I did not find one thing about it that would make me ever want to read it again.

I originally picked it up when our daughter brought it home to read for high school literature. i was curious, so I read it. If it had not belonged to the school it would have been what I call a "wall-banger" book, the type that makes me feel as though I wasted the time it took to read it and makes me want to throw it against a wall.

I read "Lord of the Flies" in school and have read many other classics, Homer, Tolstoy, Chaucer, I even have a copy of Caesar's speeches (in Latin w/English translation) I also like history books, ancient world being my favorite. I like most classic literature, but that book will never make my re-read list.


message 21: by M.C. (new)

M.C. | 24 comments "I was wondering if there are any more new ideas out there or are our SF stories a re-conglomeration of old plots, characters and themes?"

Hi Ad,

There are books exploring new territories in fiction! They're called speculative fiction, with subgenres such as steampunk.



message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

My books certainly fall into the category of speculative fiction, but they also fall under science fiction, fantasy, vampire fiction, historical fiction, action and adventure, with mystery and detective thrillers also in mind. I list them under science fiction because my characters originate there. And Gary, I fell sorry for you because you have chosen to run an uphill battle with the truth of your senses. You can't convert me to your narrow world view. If you choose not to read my books, it's no pimple on my back. Others will because they have more open minds, and are willing to look at new ideas. I agree with most of the others on this thread that not all good literature depends on a happy ending. In that case, you could dismiss Romeo and Juliet, or Titus Andonicus, or any other story which ends tragically but has an important message or point to impart.


message 23: by M.C. (new)

M.C. | 24 comments Hey T,

It can be difficult to categorise a novel but alas, it must be done for submission :(

Try to limit the genre to 3 subs: historical fantasy thriller.

Fantasy encompasses vampires, adventure is a given for epic fantasy, and sci/fi must have applications of true science...so you have peaked my curiosity.

Whether new or old, retold tales; literature classification is rather elist and excludes genre fiction, I'm afraid.


message 24: by Tim (new)

Tim (dallinar92) | 7 comments T. wrote: "Gary wrote: "It won't work, A.C. You have no audience for anything over 7,000 years in the past. According to recent polls, less than half the nation believes in evolution. That's why the sci-fi..."

Sorry just something that kind of bugged me. There are over 6 billion people on this planet.


Kjersti but you can call me Captain | 32 comments I'm sorry that we're inspiring so much hate against your message, Gary, and I'm pretty sure you were only trying to help, but the rest of us don't seem too keen on this piece of advice. Quite a few seem to be concerned with the joy of their writing, and hang the audience.

As for Hemingway, I hate him with a burning passion. One of his books was on my Enlish summer reading list and I just about stuck a spork in my eye and twisted through the whole thing. Also, you must note that we also appreciate authors such as Hawthorne, Poe, and Walt Whitman. Then again, we're crazed authors, so...

Oh, and by the way, XDD is a laughing smilie. Turn your head to the left. Sorry you had to wash dishes. And put on some clothes!!


message 26: by Nick (last edited Dec 16, 2008 08:09PM) (new)

Nick (ndoerrabbott) | 2 comments James wrote: "Extra-dimensional, super-smart raccoons determined to control the international production of corn-dogs in an effort to stock a nearly endless food supply and to collect millions of little wooden s..."

Vol II will be a successful resistance to the raccoons, distracting them with deep-fried Twinkies.


message 27: by Lil (last edited Dec 17, 2008 12:06AM) (new)

Lil (lilmar) | 26 comments Nick wrote: "James wrote: "Extra-dimensional, super-smart raccoons determined to control the international production of corn-dogs in an effort to stock a nearly endless food supply and to collect millions of l..."


just eeeewwww, ok, I might not want to read that book, lol. But I've probably read worse.



message 28: by James (new)

James (james_p_davis) | 8 comments "just eeeewwww, ok, I might not want to read that book, lol. But I've probably read worse."

Hey ya' never know...strong characters, interesting plot, surprising twists, etc. It's all in the execution. I used to make fun of the idea of a vampire-slaying cheerleader, now I'm a huge fan (of course, that was TV, but you see my point, heh!).

My main problem with most sci-fi is technology. I've rarely read sci-fi that does it well (well, to my expectations anyway). However, if the story itself is awesome it can make me completely ignore the fact that (for example) fighter-ships in space that have sub-space capabilities are using any form of solid ordinance as weaponry. Does not the technology that makes one bit possible preclude the necessity of the other? Kind of like an F-16 set up with a bow and arrow.

(or , prime example: Light Saber, its existence would seem to preclude the possibility of it ever being invented. Sort of like a scientist discovering how to make miniature black holes and immediately thinking, "This will make the coolest dagger ever!")

And let's see, if Steven is hitting book 2 of the raccoon wars, then book 3 has to be about the raccoons defending Earth against the Ninja Pirate Space Monkeys, allying with the humans, and forming a temporary truce with the Hyperspace Hippos. The Raccoon Nation becomes an unlikely hero in what is obviously an inevitable conflict. :)




message 29: by Phyllis (new)

Phyllis Twombly (ScifiAliens) | 47 comments I like James' comment about 'solid weapons' not being suitable for space. I'm about to continue work on my fourth novel in the series, where almost all the characters are in space and just might have to fight their way through at some point. While I hadn't thought about the makeup of weapons one way or the other, this is extremely helpful. I do try to keep my scifi on a believable level but still slightly beyond what today's science can do. I think in that regard, all scifi is somewhat speculative. Thanks again. You've helped this author.


message 30: by James (new)

James (james_p_davis) | 8 comments Phyllis wrote: "I like James' comment about 'solid weapons' not being suitable for space. I'm about to continue work on my fourth novel in the series, where almost all the characters are in space and just might ha..."

Very cool, I think a "slightly beyond" science is great and expected for any sci-fi, even "way beyond" is good as long as the basis for any science is reflected throughout the society it is applied to. There are lots of examples in our own world, such as recent research into ultrasound technology. In one application it could become a weapon, in other (most recently) it can stimulate brain neurons in very specific ways, in effect (and in theory) creating new memories from whole cloth. Remember "I know kung-fu" in the Matrix? Imagine the same thing, but without the head-jack. Very interesting stuff, though I'll likely be a very old man by the time Neo is taking on Morpheus in a virtual reality danger room. :-/



message 31: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (camillalynnauthor) | 15 comments It won't work, A.C. You have no audience for anything over 7,000 years in the past. According to recent polls, less than half the nation believes in evolution.

ROFLMAO

You've got to be kidding? What do they believe in? That some omni-potent being created the world in 7 days. To me, that's fantasy. I don't know where that 'recent poll' came from, but I guarantee you they didn't send that poll to the whole world. Polls are never accurate because not every person in the world is a part of the polling process.

And writing in words no more than 6 letters long isn't going to get you a best seller. I'm sorry but if I bought a book and it was full of words 6 letter or less I'd toss it in the trash can before I reached page 60. Best Sellers are Best Sellers because they are well executed, not because they are written with words under 6 letters long so my 8 year old can understand.

A.C.
I would read certainly read a book about Atlantis. Matter of fact, I love stories that deal strictly with ancient cultures.

Back to the topic at hand. As far as stories that haven't been done yet, the ones I'd like to see written, I'm writing myself. My first OGN is one such story. The second story in the OGN trilogy is about ATLANTIS (yeah, a 7,000 year old culture), & the 3rd is an end of the world story set in modern day. All three stories primarily revolve around the ancient Egyptian gods, even the latter. I've heard someone once say "There are no new original ideas left to write about." But that's because they have tunnel vision. It hasn't all been done yet. I've too many ideas floating around in my head to even list them all & none of them have been done yet. Granted, Time Travel & the Egyptian subject has been written about, but I've yet to find a single story that even comes close to my OGN.

Just my 2 cents.
Lynn

Ra's Warrior & the Talismans of Time


message 32: by Paul (last edited Jan 03, 2009 05:56AM) (new)

Paul New ideas? Shapeshifting alien lizards have been covertly directing technological progress on Earth since an Egyptologist accidently resurrected several of them when uncovering a tomb in the valley of the Kings. The lizards' goal being to create global warming and increased concentrations of atmospheric CO2, thus making the planet's climate more congenial for them. When they have achieved that, they will resurrect the other thirty milion stasis entombed members of their species from hidden caverns underneath the Sphynx and take over the world. Maybe the racoons are mankind's only hope!!

I do believe that any science contained in science fiction should be solid and any extrapolations need to be plausible, so giving a nod towards HICC probably violates those rules.

If 100 million people don't believe in evolution, that still leaves, in the USA alone, some 150 million who do, so if the 150 million buy my novel (when I've finishe writing it) I shall be content.


message 33: by Marc (new)

Marc (authorguy) | 97 comments Wasn't there a scifi movie about aliens engineering global warming so they could come here and take over?


message 34: by Paul (new)

Paul Doh!

I don't know of one, but perhaps that goes to prove the point that most ideas have been thought of and used before. It's the way they're handled that makes them special / unique.


message 35: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (camillalynnauthor) | 15 comments Marc, I think there was. I just can't remember the name of it.

Paul,
You're 100% right, it's all in the execution of the plot that make them unique.

Lynn

Ra's Warrior & the Talismans of Time


message 36: by M.C. (new)

M.C. | 24 comments Released 2001, 'The Arrrival' is about an alien conspiracy to change the Earth's climate for colonisation. Excellent movie!


message 37: by Paul (new)

Paul Doh! And Double-doh!! Good job I just mentioned the idea in passing and haven't actually started on it yet! So now, I'll have to watch an excellent SF film before making any further judgement.

Sigh...it's a dirty job but someone's got to do it.


message 38: by Gwendolyn (new)

Gwendolyn (drgwen) | 36 comments James wrote: "Extra-dimensional, super-smart raccoons determined to control the international production of corn-dogs ..."

You've got to be careful with corn-dogs. The last time we had a run in with them they turned out to be hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings on a quest for global domination. We tried everything to rid the galaxy of them... ketchup. mustard, mayonnaise... we even tried malt vinegar.

Nothing worked until we dunked them in beer until they staggered drunkenly into a conveniently placed packing crate... which we quickly sealed and had launched into deep-space along with a thousand gallons of lager.

What the heck... It would would probably make a great children's book... all except the beer and getting them drunk part...

Looks over shoulder

Oh, I'm sorry Paul. Did I just give away the plot from your latest novel?

Returns to original comments

Seriously though, the idea that everything is somehow a derivative of something else would mean that there are no original ideas left.

Following that thought...

Because it's made of wood, a wooden whistle is a derivative of a tree... and therefore jazz is a derivative of all previous forms of music.

Say what?"



message 39: by Paul (new)

Paul Throws away 77 pages of manuscript about drunken corn dogs in disgust...

There are only 26 letters in the alphabet, but that doesn't mean that originality can't be tapped from some source. There are only 4.5 octaves that the human ear can detect, but there seems no limit to the music that can be composed...

While all stories spring from just a handful of archetypal themes, it's how you handle those themes that makes a story original or derivative.

Unfortunately, one of the scientists in charge of the corn-dog project was me: in an effort to maximise my personal income, I substituted the lager with urine - which after all is very similar. I reserved the lager for my own use. And now the corn dogs are on their way back, and, boy, are they pissed...


message 40: by Lil (new)

Lil (lilmar) | 26 comments pissed off or on...lol


message 41: by Paul (new)

Paul Hey Lil,

what's this photoshoot with the alligator that people keep mentioning?

Sounds interesting ;)




message 42: by Armen (new)

Armen Chakmakjian | 6 comments I think human history is replete with good stories that if transposed into sci-fi can make some compelling stories. Pick one. For example, take Columbus crossing the Atlantic. Why not a story about 3 ships in search of the a wormhole that leads you to a far off Hindusolaris or something. On the way Chris Colon misses the intended wormhole, hits an uncharted one that makes him travels 300 light years in the wrong direction and ends up "discovering" Cubaluna.

Et Cetera.


message 43: by Lil (last edited Apr 15, 2009 09:56PM) (new)

Lil (lilmar) | 26 comments Lol. The profile picture I use is my favorite from a photo shoot that I did on the Alligator bike about a year and a half ago for a local motorcycle magazine, Scoootergoods (http://scootergoods.com/index.htm).

The bike is handmade from a whole alligator and won several awards at the Daytona Biketoberfest the same year, 2007. The bike was built by Benny of Suncoast Leathers, here in Spring Hill (http://www.suncoastleather.com/Suncoa...)

That's the deal, lol.

*Now back to our regularly scheduled topic*



Paul wrote: "Hey Lil,

what's this photoshoot with the alligator that people keep mentioning?

Sounds interesting ;)

"





message 44: by Rob (new)

Rob (galdrin) | 2 comments Have been invited to come (from N. TX) and spend a week visiting my father in Sanford FL in June. I had seriously considered riding my bike down for the trip ('cause I *really* missed having my bike available last year.

This place - Suncoast Leathers - looks pretty interesting. If I ride down (form TX), I may have to make a run across to Spring Hill FL (that's north of Tampa, right?) and check this fellow out.


message 45: by Lil (new)

Lil (lilmar) | 26 comments Galdrin wrote: "Have been invited to come (from N. TX) and spend a week visiting my father in Sanford FL in June. I had seriously considered riding my bike down for the trip ('cause I *really* missed having my bik..."

Yep. It is north of Tampa, about 50-55 miles.




message 46: by Steven (last edited May 09, 2011 08:37AM) (new)

Steven Jordan (stevenlylejordan) | 30 comments Have you ever wondered why no one wrote a story about what?"

I develop my stories from basic "what if?" premises. I'm aware that I haven't read a lot of SF, so I assume there may be stories similar to some of my own... but mine are unique treatments, so I rarely worry about whether or not I'm doing someone else's story.

Still, I think I've come up with some unique stories, such as Verdant Skies, about orbital city-satellites that are threatened with being overrun by refugees when the Yellowstone Caldera erupts... and a few others that I'm in the process of re-releasing. My stories may have basic premises that have been done before, but I just hope my treatments are original.


message 47: by [deleted user] (new)

Don't forget--it's all in the execution. You could have the most original idea for a story. But if the execution sucks, you won't have anyone who'll read it.


message 48: by Drew (new)

Drew | 3 comments Hi people.
My name is Drew.
I am new to Goodreads.
Anyway, it seems that when it comes to science fiction, mostly everythings been done. It's difficult to come up with some original ideas.
Well, I believe I did.
In my new young adult science fiction novel, George Buchanan Enters the Wormhole, I write about
storylines that you will find refreshing and
compelling.
My novel is available right now on the Kindle for the temporary low price of 99 cents.
Let me know what you think!
I hope you find my book as beautiful as I believe
it to be.
God bless America!


message 49: by Marc (new)

Marc (authorguy) | 97 comments In doing a blog tour for my most recent novel, I realized that one of the reasons I couldn't describe it was because of genre labeling. SF as a genre doesn't have anything to do with ghosts, curses, or werewolves, yet St. Martin's Moon does exactly that. My point being that perhaps some of these ideas are being held back because they don't fit into any of the boxes we have for them. My next novel is about a man who kills ghosts for a living. When I tell people this, they say, "But aren't ghosts dead already?"


message 50: by Norm (new)

Norm (normcowie) | 26 comments Marc wrote: "In doing a blog tour for my most recent novel, I realized that one of the reasons I couldn't describe it was because of genre labeling. SF as a genre doesn't have anything to do with ghosts, curses..."

So he doesn't kill ghosts for a living, he kills them for not living (grin).

Norm
http://www.normcowie.com


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