Tired of more of the same? Try more of the STRANGE.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Review for Insurgent by Veronica Roth




Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Strangemore Rating: 5 Stars

All right. Start it up "We Will Rock You" style, now.

Clap, clap, stomp. Clap, clap, stomp. Clap, clap, stomp. Clap, clap, stomp.

We are, we are DAUNTLESS
We are, we are DAUNTLESS

Beatrice, Now called Tris, Made a big change
Playing on the trains, She became a Dauntless one day
She's got mud on her face
A parental disgrace
Now she'll be kickin your ass all over the place

We are, we are DIVERGENT
We are, we are DIVERGENT

Tobias is a Dauntless, Divergent
Shoutin' to them all, We can take on the world today
Erudite got blood on their face
We'll put them in their place
Into the past, out of our Fear Landscapes

We are, we are INSURGENT
We are, we are INSURGENT

Come on!

We are, we are INSURGENT
We are, we are INSURGENT

The Rundown

Okay, I'm sorry but I am NOT going to give you a summary of this book. I knew nothing going in and I loved it that way. Everything was a surprise and I think maybe that's how it should be. Plus, you know you want to read it anyway.

And if you haven't read Divergent yet... WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! Shoo! Go read it NOW.

The Plot and World-Building

This world in Insurgent is darker and even more exciting than Divergent. Each chapter raises the stakes until you're all in. The characters in this book are so much more alive than in any other book I've read recently. They have such fascinating layers and depth that I feel I could never uncover all he secrets they hold. Luckily, Veronica Roth is amazing at helping us do just that. The characters are masterfully unraveled before our very eyes. Insights unlocked that I'd have never seen coming.

The same goes for the storyline. There are things happening in this book that I wouldn't have once guessed. And I consider myself pretty adept at figuring out storylines. Every new plot twist is a welcome surprise. Every new bit of info is an exciting reveal.

I was very pleasantly surprised that the romance storyline DID NOT overwhelm the majority of the plot. This was a book about society and about war and about dealing with everything that comes with both of those. That's what dystopian fiction is supposed to be about.

The plot expands greatly upon what we know about the society and it's background, which in the first was mostly nil. I was thrilled with the way the information was revealed and what it means for the future of the series.

The Characters

Tris really FEELS the emotions brought on by the deaths that she believes herself to be responsible for, even when she had no other choice. In fact, she feels her feelings almost too much. A lot like the way people really do in even less dire real life situations. She's just an ordinary girl in an extraordinary situation. At least, that's how she sees herself. She doesn't at all realize how strong and extraordinary she really is.

As much as I love Katniss from The Hunger Games, I never really felt her inner turmoil the way I do with Tris. My stomach clenches when I think of what she's gone through so far. If I think about it too much, I'll get nauseous.

On another note, I have a tiny gripe about the passages involving Four's looks, like this one: "Some girls might focus on the way his ears stick out, or the way his nose hooks at the end." Plus, many other little ones about his spindly long fingers and gaunt face.

Wow, move over Fabio! Lemme at him!! GOOD LORD, this woman really does not want us to find Ol' Toby attractive, does she?  I appreciate that he isn't your typical "hero" type, because let's face it - not every guy has long blonde waves and gleaming teeth. But not every girl finds that kind of guy attractive either.  It doesn't have to be one or the other. I would like a bit sexier description of him from time to time. You know, something that doesn't make it sound as though he looks like Beetlejuice.

For example, most people wouldn't call Edward Scissorhands himself a classically handsome man. If you tried to, you could make some of Johnny Depp's characters sound pretty hideous in a text description, but he somehow manages to transcend the gloomy and unique nature of those characters and bring them to life in a way that makes them sexy and intriguing. I just would like a little something like that in the description of Four in the future.

The Romance

First off, yes, I still call him Four. Tris switches off between calling him Four and Tobias in the book. Lately, I've found myself calling him Tobias in my head but when I write it, it usually ends up being Four. I mean, that's what he was called throughout almost the entire first novel... but the name Tobias is starting to grow on me.

To be honest, I was afraid that Tris and Four's relationship would go down the cookie cutter route. I couldn't be more thrilled with the direction their romance has taken. They have real issues that they work through. There is no angst purely for the sake angst. It's all based on their present and past situations. If you're looking for a lovey dovey, pink fluffy unicorns dancing on rainbows kind of relationship, then sorry but you won't find that here. Sorry to burst your cotton candy bubble gum bubble. And yes, I know I'm evil. *sly grin*

There's angst and arguing but NO love triangle with the main character. At least not one that was discernible to me. If there was one, it was a ninja assassin love triangle.

The Verdict

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book in this series. Insurgent was an incredibly delicious, exciting, and emotional read! But mostly, it just flat out made an impact on me.

The other night I was watching Merlin, which has newly been added to my list of all-time favorite TV shows, and there was one particular moment where a character shows a redonkulous amount of bravery in a certain heartbreaking scene which cannot be named, and I literally thought to myself "That's so Dauntless." That's the power of the world that Veronica Roth has created. When a story becomes part of pop culture, when it is so unique and recognizable that it can be spoofed or merchandised, and when it's terminology works its way into your everyday life - that's when you see the true power of literature. I believe that this is one of those stories.

Oh and by the way, I want a T-Shirt with the Dauntless faction symbol, so... someone get started on that ASAP. *snap, snap*

Now go forth and win a copy of Insurgent. But wait there's more! A signed copy of Divergent to go along with it!


Monday, April 2, 2012

Insurgent and Divergent Giveaway


Well, I had a super exciting weekend - I played some Mass Effect 3 and caught space hamster. But more importantly, I got an ARC of INSURGENT! Eeeeheeheehee!! (That's the noise an excited space hamster makes. Just thought I'd enlighten you.)

This gorgeous box showed up on my doorstep with Insurgent all over the cover.

So I open it my box and what do I see? One big ole' eyeball, a looking' at me!

It tells me what I've always suspected to be true. I am ERUDITE. It's no surprise to me that I am a member of the Erudite Faction. Not because I'm evil and want to take over the world. Although.... Well, maybe a little bit for that reason. But mostly because I'm far too curious for my own good.

I know what you're thinking. Well, good for you, Lyndsey, but what's in it for me? Or maybe you weren't thinking that, and I'm just far too skeptical. (Ooh, there's another good ole' Erudite trait.) But anyway, if you weren't thinking it before, I bet you are now! (See I have mind control powers, too.)

So here's what's in it for you! I have a brand new copy of Divergent signed by the author herself, Veronia Roth, as well as a lovely pre-ordered hardcover copy of Insurgent. I'm giving the set away to one lucky winner. Here's how it works:

  1. You must be a follower of Strangemore to enter.
  2. You can earn extra entries for liking Strangemore on Facebook, following @StrangemoreBlog, and daily tweets.
  3. You will earn 10 extra entries for pre-ordering a copy of Insurgent. If you are selected as the winner, I will contact you with plenty of time to cancel your pre-order. I assume most of you will be buying the book anyway, so by pre-ordering, you'll get the extra contest entries, PLUS if you don't win, you'll still get the discounted pre-order price, which is usually a good amount cheaper than if you wait until it's already out.
  4. The contest will end a week before Insurgent's release to allow time to arrange for shipping to the winner!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review for Masque of the Red Death


Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Strangemore Rating: 4.5 Stars

Masque of the Red Death is oh so deliciously dark and twisty!

4.5 stars!

I adore dark, fantastical and overly dramatic stories. Who's with me? Let's go kick some flying monkeys, everyone! Kidding, kidding. Please guys, treat your flying monkeys with respect. Oz just wouldn't be as much fun without them.

The Rundown

Araby Worth lives in a chilling death-ridden world, where every day is a struggle to keep from contracting a deadly plague. Dead bodies litter the streets and air-filtering masks are necessary to keep the plague at bay. A villanous Prince rules the area but lives outside the threats that exist within the more poulated areas. Araby spends most of her time out in a club named Debauchery and encounters two sexy and mysterious boys. Yet even more mysterious is what's going on in the city. Rumors of an uprising threaten the safety of those within the city and then the attacks begin. Annnnnnd, love triangles and villainy ensue. Whoohoo! Damn, this is a difficult book to summarize.

The Cover

I really appreciate when the publishers put so much love into even the advance copy of the book. The cover looks beautiful in the photo but in real life it is outstandfendupulosus! Don't even ask me what that means but, I kid you not, it's exactly the word I think of when I look at this cover. Because a "real" word just wouldn't do it justice.

Lately, a lot of books with gorgeous covers haven't been quite as beauteous on the inside. So I was expecting to not like this one. When I would look at it on my shelf, I could picture myself reading it in the future and clearly see the disappointed look on future me's face when it turned out to be less-than-outstandfendupulosus. (Also, I think that if Richard Simmons was a dinosaur, outstandfendupulosus would totally be his scientific name.)

The Characters

This book reads like a crazy twisted dark cartoon version of dystopian gothic fiction. The characters are over-the-top and full of dramatic intrigue.

I fell for every one of the characters. They all have a delightful mix of good and evil. Except for the villians who are so fantastically evil, almost cartoonishly evil, that it makes you want to yell "Prepare for trouble! Make it double!" As for the other characters, glorious shades of gray and questionable actions fill the pages of this book. Moral ambiguity, yay!!

I am enamored with Araby. I don't love that she seems committed to remaining chaste at the start, but I do love her reason. It's not based on religion or peer pressure but a real complex emotional stance, and that is all I'll say for now.

The love triangle is my absolute favorite of recent books. Like Araby, I had a hard time choosing where my loyalties are and jumped back and forth between the two. Neither guy is exactly the hero type, not the kind you'd take home to your mom, but that's what I loved about them. She truly cares for both of the boys and doesn't lead either of them on just for the heck of it.

Who loves bad boys? Lyndsey loves bad boys! I do, I do, I do-OO. If you like bad boys, you'll love the two love interests in this book. If you like love triangles, you'll love to hate making a decision between these two guys.

The Pacing and World-Building

This isn't heavy on the steampunk or the dystopia, but there are lights elements of both weaved throughout the world. If anything, I'd consider this "gothic" instead of "steampunk." It's definitely a colorful and dramatic tale.

In the beginning, I was luh-huuuuurving the pace. I was thinking that there was no way way this wouldn't end up being a favorite. Then in the middle it began to lull a bit. Still a constant forward motion, just a little more slow going than in the beginning. I started to have some doubts, but it kicked into high gear toward the end. What a thrill ride!

I've been itching to reread this ever since I finished and that doesn't happen to me often! Don't they have a lotion for this? It's driving me crazy! MUST. REREAD.

The Verdict

I haven't been this excited about a first book in a series since Divergent. The world-building is extravagant and consuming. The pacing is even and exciting. It's such a compulsive read. I felt compelled to keep reading and compelled to reread. I still do.

I've been trying to write this review for a while. Trying to make sure I properly express my excitement over this book. I haven't been able to get it out of my mind since I finished and have had a hard time with other books because I want them to be as much fun as this one!

Masque of the Red Death is a stunningly dark novel by Bethany Griffin. It's a whimsical mix of gothic dystopia, brought together with gorgeous prose and intriguing characters.

In short, I LOVED it. Wheeeeeee! Fun fun fun.



Saturday, February 11, 2012

Review for Partials by Dan Wells


Partials by Dan Wells

Strangemore Rating: 4 Stars

A Partials-themed Acrostic!

Pregnancy obligations for the young like in Bumped.

Amateur military of Falling Skies.

Rioters and mercenaries threaten way of life like in The Survivors.

The MC is a bad-ass female scientist like in Bones. 

Infertility woes of the women on the Lost island.

Artificially created humans similar to Cylons from Battlestar Galactica.

Lots of myths being busted.


The Rundown  

The world has been decimated by an airborne virus that killed 99.9% of the population. The virus was released by beings called Partials, genetically engineered soldiers that look just like us but with 10 times the strength and stamina.

The Partials have let the few remaining humans live in peace as long as they don't cross the border into Partials territory. Every female of age is required to be pregnant as often and as soon as possible. The current reigning government, the Senate, figures that if the citizens have enough babies, some of them will eventually be born with a natural immunity to the airborne virus that fills the air around them and decimates their newborn population. After a decade of births, this still has not happened. Every baby dies within mere hours.

Our main character, Kira, has this brilliant idea that the scientists should focus on discovering how the immunity really works and figure out why the remaining adults and the Partials are immune. 

And now for an intermission of Lyndsey Thoughts: 

Me: Wait a tic - Kira thinks of this?! No one else in a decade, not even the Senate, has thought of that? 

Other Me: Duh, Lyndsey. She's the main character. Of course, she thought of it! 

Me: Right. I guess she's pretty smart then. 

Other Me: Also, the Senate is full of bozos. 

Me: Okay, thanks for clearing that up, Self. 

In order to investigate the Partials immunity, they need to find one that will help them and the chances of that are pretty much zero. So they have get a hold of one somehow. Here's where it gets interesting! Veddy, veddy interesting!! 

The Enevitable BSG Comparison 

At first, I expected to be comparing this to Battlestar Galactic as I read. And sure, the storyline and background of the two share a lot of similarities, but Partials and BSG are two completely different beasts. I was completely caught up in the science and the questions of this book. Battlestar Galactica is so epicly character based, and I can't imagine it any other way. Characterization was not a strong point of Partials. I never heavily connected to the characters, but I was SO captivated by their surroundings and their story.

The tone of this book felt more like a science-based procedural crime show set in a post-apocalyptic world populated by cyborgs and a few remaining humans. This is Battlestar Galactica if Battlestar Galatica had been written by the writers of Bones. 

Characterization and Romance

The weak link in Partial's chain was it's characterization. It's written in third person and I found it difficult to truly hear the voices of the characters. In fact, the only one I ever emotional connected to was the one that wasn't even human: the Partial that we meet later on, Samm. But considering that I am actually a cylon, you could say we share a certain kinship and all.

The Senate, Kira's arch nemesis, is full of people who are delusional and one-dimensional, seeming to be so set in their ways that they don't care if it destroys them.

Romance does not play much of a part AT ALL in this novel. It's an extra, meandering about in the background, sipping it's vente chai soy latte and speaking in a fake British accent. In fact, I couldn't have been less interested in the so-called "romantic" storyline between Kira and Marcus.  But even so, this book and it's story managed to transcend it's characters.

Does this put the SCI in SCI-FI? 

This is pretty hard science fiction... for YA. Don't get me wrong, I've definitely seen harder. 

Did you know that robots now play ping pong? And have ROCK HARD ABS?! Humina humina.

But that's usually in adult fiction, so this is a welcome move into the realm of young adult novels. Partials is an excellent choice for fans of "sciencey" science fiction. (That's me!) Kira spends time actually asking questions and analyzing data. And I loved every minute of it. Amazingly and most importantly, I felt like I understood it all.

I don't really know anything about how viruses work. But when reading this book, I am operating on the assumption that the author writing about viruses knows at least more than I do. That being said, I felt Dan Wells did an amazing job at breaking down the science, especially toward the end.

I had a lot of questions while reading. Why do the babies get sick only after they are born? If the virus is airborne, why couldn't the babies survive in a filtered clean room? Conveniently enough, Kira had a lot of the same questions and managed to answer many of my concerns.

I've recently come to the realization that my obsession with literature stems from a quest for knowledge. I constantly feel the need to learn and grow and change. To see and imagine new things. I feel like this is one of those novels. One of those novels that attempts to push thinking forward, that focuses on the questions of life, as opposed to the problems in it.

Many post-apocalyptic novels are problem based, not question based. They encounter a problem and they push through. In Partials, Kira encounters a question and she answers it. A problem is just something that you have to work through and solve. You either solve it or you don't. A question is something that opens up a whole new realm of possibilities. Questions are often accompanied by their own problems, however. This is a story about solutions. Solutions to the questions asked and to the problems that come along with it.

The mark of a great science fiction author is having the ability to make the reader believe that they are a freaking rocket scientist. Or in the case of this book... A virologist. Write it so well that the reader is sciencing that science right along with the main characters. Dan Wells certainly excelled at doing just that.

The Pacing

I started this book with a straight face. Twenty five percent in, I was pursing my lips in question. Fifty percent in, I was nodding my head in agreement. Seventy five percent in, I was grinning with excitement. At the end, I was passed out from exhaustion and amazement.The story moves along consistently, but not at a breakneck pace either. It has quite a bit of action and a constant crawl of information.

The Verdict

Partials is a dense post-apocalyptic delicious dessert, swirled with dystopian undertones, and topped off with dark military themes. Who wouldn't want a piece of that?


Well, what do you know? There's actually a BOOK for that!

I worry that it may have a hard time finding an audience as a young adult book because it is so heavily grounded in science. Sci-fi in YA excites me, and this book was a great start to what is hopefully a new trend in the young adult world.

The story is not character or romance based, but it is high in concept, plot and science. It is also not a standalone as I previously assumed, seeing as it ends on a semi-cliffhanger. It is questioning, yet not too philosophical. Light cerebral sci-fi.

If you're looking at experimenting with science fiction (And, come on, science fiction and experimentation go GREAT together!), Partials would be an excellent place to start.



Friday, January 6, 2012

Responsible Social Networking - A Guide for Authors about Using Social Media


Let's get the formalities out of the way. I'm a reader and a (gasp!) non-professional reviewer. I write fiction in my free time, and I've never considered non-fiction to be a strong point of mine. I'm certainly no journalist, but I review on my blog and on Goodreads because I love books and love sharing conversations about them with my friends online.

There's been a lot of talk in the author community lately about the lack of critical reviews on sites like Goodreads. I'd like to point out that Goodreads is NOT full of critical and professional reviewers. It is full of people of all ages and from all walks of life. Many are working mothers who read every spare moment they get and many are teenagers. Some reviewers are as young as twelve or thirteen years old! Some positive, some negative, but most a mixture of both. To me, this is a marvelous and beautiful thing. This says that fiction is high on the priority list of so many people. This is a good thing for authors. It means more and more books to be bought and read!

When you become a published author, you instantly become a professional. Therefore you must act like one. Your readers are your customers. What is it they say in the business world? The customer is always right. Even when they aren't. Yes, it feels different, because your books are a part of you. But even when you're hurt by something negative you've read about your book, you must remain professional and maintain a professional stance on the situation, or risk alienating and insulting your readers and other potential readers.

This means:
Do not comment on a less-than-favorable review of your own book.
Do not comment on a less-than-favorable review of your friend's book.
Do not ask your friends or fans to comment on a less-than-favorable review of your book.
Do not link or even refer to a specific less-than-favorable review on your profile, website, facebook or twitter feed.

Recently, several authors have berated, belittled, and even gone so far as to publicly bully online reviewers for their opinions about books. Most online reviewers, even higher profile ones, can hardly compete with the level of of exposure or the legions of fans that some popular authors have. When an author, as a professional, comments on OR about (either on the review itself or on their own website) a specific non-professional reviewers words, there is a tremendous imbalance of power which becomes a form of bullying. Singling out a reviewer who reviews on their own blog, Amazon, or Goodreads is in NO way acceptable behavior for an author in any genre, especially in the young adult world where many reviewers are young adults themselves.

Maybe it would be different if a professional reviewer publicly ripped your book to shreds, because in that situation, it would be a more level playing field. Professional reviewers get paid to be critical. It is their job. Most online reviewers do not get anything out of posting their reviews, financially speaking. Most (if not all) review for fun and are not trained in critical evaluation of literature.

Should we really have to remind authors that these are not professional reviewers? They are teens and pre-teens! They are working men and women! They are stay-at-home moms! They are book lovers!! All who have more important matters to attend to than being publicly harassed about their opinions and statements on a review that they posted for their friends and followers to read.

About Negative Reviews on Goodreads

Per Goodreads policies, all reviewers are entitled to review however they see fit and say what they will about the book and the characters within it, as long as they don't personally attack the author in the review. That kind of review would be removed by the Goodreads staff. (The staff does not do the same for comments however. Comment moderating is left up to the user who started the forum. Some choose to use this ability and some do not.)

Yes, many members of Goodreads -- present company included -- write both positive and negative reviews where they curse occasionally, make inappropriate jokes, and just generally have a grand ole' time amongst friends. But that's what Goodreads is for. Is profanity and book, book cover, or character bashing on a review unprofessional? Perhaps. But it's also a perfectly legimate review as far as the Goodreads staff is concerned.

Responding to Negative Reviews

If someone says something in a review that you absolutely feel is a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of your book that needs to be cleared up, maybe write a calm and respectful article on your own website explaining your work. Do it with grace and dignity, without naming names or specifying specifics. Focus on what you believe are the merits of your book, it's characters, and their story.

But under NO circumstances should you comment on that person's review. Do not call out a specific reviewer. Don't pretend it's your prerogative to ruin a reviewer's reputation, even if you feel they attacked your own. Do not resort to name calling. Do not even imply that there is a singular review that you are responding to, because someone will go looking for it, someone will get their feelings hurt, and you will without a doubt lose potential readers because of it.

Also, try not to insult the online reviewing community at large, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Be careful of what you say and how you say it when referring to reviewers.

Of course, you certainly can do any of these things, but I would highly recommend that you don't, especially if you care at all about your reputation and your readership.

The Effect of Negative Reviews

A lot of authors, even mega-hyped ones who've already sold tons of books or received huge advances, seem to think that a severely negative review will somehow cripple the sale of all present and future copies of their book, but let me clear this up. It won't.

Even if readers find a negative review interesting, it will hardly dictate whether or not they buy the book. Sometimes, a negative, mocking, or even harsh review can intrigue individuals enough that they purchase the book based on that alone.

In most cases, a negative review will not stop readers from researching your book. If anything, a disproportionate review (whether it's overwhelmingly negative or ravingly positive) will lead people to seek out a balanced review so they can more accurately weigh the merits and failings of the book. Readers know that a fair and balanced review is exponentially more likely to truly help them decide whether or not they want to read the book.

Despite the attention and comments negative reviews on sites like Goodreads might get, if someone wants to read your book, they will. Furthermore, an author who responds to a non-professional negative review will lose readers, not gain them.

In Conclusion

All hope is not lost if you receive a negative review. Everyone gets them, even the greatest writers throughout history. The good news is that you'll also receive positive reviews! Many will grow to love your book and characters as much as you do. Especially if you are gracious to those who invest time and money into your books!

I'm not at all saying not to interact with readers. We love discussions about books with authors, and many authors maintain active accounts on Twitter and Goodreads, even becoming close friends with the people they meet. By all means, continue doing your thing! Just do it respectfully and all in the name of fun and for the love of fiction.

Regardless of how it might look to you based on some negative reviews, reviewers LOVE books and authors tremendously. We are all greatly disheartened and disappointed when we see authors we respect behaving immaturely and, most importantly, unprofessionally.

Please authors... Social Network Responsibly!

And if I could, let me direct you to some posts from a few authors who do it best:

Julie Kagawa's Blog Post - Authors and Negative Reviews

Courtney Summers' Blog Post - How to Deal with Writing for Public Consumption

Hannah Moskowitz's Open Letter to Those who Review on Goodreads

Also, here's a fantastic article about the effect of online negative reviews: 

Fiction Writer's Review - When are you Big Enough to Handle the Bad Review?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Review for A Monster Calls


A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Strangemore Rating: 5 Stars

I don't believe that you can ever learn everything from a single story. 

Many tales and many lessons contribute to an individual's personal truth. However, if you're looking for something that comes close to being a one-stop-shop for all your personal emotional needs, this would be it.

A Monster Calls contains breathtaking art by Jim Kay and is paired with a story of heartbreaking artistry from Patrick Ness.

Do I recommend this book? A million times yes and a million times no. How can I recommend something that will will break the heart of every single person who reads it? Yet... How can I not?

What is this book about, you ask? It's about life and, of course, it's about death.

Well. It's about a lot of things.

It's about the small things like making cereal for yourself in the morning and feeling the crunch of leaves under your feet. It's about the big things like losing battles, gaining friendships, getting lost in imagination, and finding yourself in the world. It's about the bigger things like the disappointed look in the eyes of someone you've hurt or the loving look in the eyes of the person who loves you more than anything else. It's about the biggest things like the hopes and fears you have for yourself and, more importantly, for those you love most in all the world.

It's about learning to open up and shed tears over the best and the worst moments of this life, whether you're laughing so hard that you cry or crying so hard that you shake. But mostly. Mostly it's about truth.

If any book ever came close to being everything, it's THIS one.



Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Guest Post by Nansi Kunze


Nansi Kunze, the author of Dangerously Placed, graciously agreed to write a guest post for Strangemore! Below is what she has to say about why science fiction is so compelling. Thanks, Nansi!!

Check out her site at www.nansikunze.com!

Guest post written by Nansi Kunze: Why I Love Sci Fi

As a writer, I’m often confronted with readers’ strange ideas about Science Fiction. Like any genre, there are those who love it, those who despise it and even those who’ve never read any of it (poor deprived souls). But more than most genres, I think, Science Fiction is a hazy concept to many. Some people hear the word ‘science’ and immediately prepare for near-terminal boredom … because science is all incomprehensible technical jargon and lab-coated dudes with no sense of humour, isn’t it? To others, Science Fiction is all like the B grade movies of the 1950s: hideous aliens, guys with ray-guns and female characters whose main use for cutting-edge technology seems to be in the realms of corsetry.

Well, while I’m not averse to stern guys in lab coats and actually wouldn’t mind owning a silver jumpsuit with built-in anti-grav body-sculpting, to me Sci Fi is something quite different. It’s all about technology. And before any of you decide that first group was right about science, let me assure you that I don’t mean the detailed inner workings of time machines or spacecraft propulsion specs. I’m talking about the technology we have all around us: phones, gaming systems, the internet. Technology we enjoy.

Although Sci Fi is hard to define, one simple definition that’s been used a fair bit over the years is that it involves technology that doesn’t yet exist. This means that what I write is just barely Science Fiction. It wasn’t that much of a stretch for me to imagine how Virk – the virtual workplace system in Dangerously Placed – would function, because we already interact online, use avatars in games and communicate audio-visually over vast distances. Sure, it counts as Sci Fi, because as far as I know there are no virtual offices, or Virk Suits that can make you see and feel a colleague’s handshake as if she were right in front of you instead of on the other side of the world … but there could be.

That’s what I love about Sci Fi: the way it could be real. Authors sometimes use Sci Fi to explore what could go wrong in our world. So do I, occasionally, but I much prefer to envisage some of the awesome things we could do with technology. Sci Fi author Neal Stephenson recently wrote an essay about how important it is for authors to write about what we want to do with our future, because our stories inspire scientists and engineers. The great Isaac Asimov was thrilled to discover that his Science Fiction stories had actually inspired the invention and production of the first-ever industrial robots. I love that one day someone might be inspired to make the technology in my books real too (okay, maybe not things like Alex’s virtual-jeans-trying-on system, but then again – who knows?).

Sci Fi is like Fantasy: it gives the writer – and the reader – the opportunity to experience a world that’s very different to the one we live in. But unlike Fantasy, Science Fiction has the capacity to become reality. Magic may not be real, but technology is. Sci Fi shows us the potential we have to make our future as weird and wonderful as we want it to be.

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