Why I Write Science Fiction and Fantasy

So, we’ve established why I write. Why do I want to write science fiction and fantasy in particular?

It’s a fair question. My day job (not to mention my academic work) required regular writing at multiple levels of sophistication. At times, that was enough to keep my mind occupied enough.

Mostly, though, that was when the writing was a new thing. I suppose you could say I gradually built up a tolerance until a 300-400 word nonfiction blog post every day or so, plus a weekly 750 word article and occasional longer academic and/or professional work no longer cut it. And, of course, there was that time two months ago when my employer ceased to exist. The current day job work isn’t nearly as writing-intensive for the moment, which opened up last month’s NaNoWriMo as a great jumping-off point to revive my fiction writing.

None of that explains why I tend to work in these particular genres, though. For that, we have to look at what kind of fiction I tend to read most often. This falls pretty squarely into genre fiction; the day-to-day life of my significant other, my friends, my family, and myself is enough to ward off the escapist appeals of most literary/realist fiction. Science fiction and fantasy offer some of the most interesting stories for my particular tastes.

Within the sff/speculative fiction world, I have more specific tastes that inform what I write. In both science fiction and fantasy, I find myself drawn more to the sociological aspects than hard science, deeply developed secondary worlds, or magic systems. I like my space opera soft and the rest of my science fiction near-future. I like my fantasy urban and more original than the well-trod territory of fae/wizardly/shapeshifting PIs. That’s not to say I don’t read other stories, but those are where my interests are strongest. I think it’s no surprise that when I write fiction, it tends to fall into those subgenres.

Ultimately, I think speculative fiction (as many others have pointed out) offers some of the best opportunities to explore important social ideas. I try to make sure my fiction reflects that. Whether I’m successful will be for editors and readers to judge, but I write what I like, grappling with sociological ideas I know. The most familiar tools and tropes for that are in science fiction and fantasy, which is why I write in those genres.

Today’s fiction word count: 1906 (yesterday was 1753).