I got a little bit exercised today by this article, about the “8 Tribes of Sci Fi.”
Rubbish, absolute rubbish. An ill-considered word salad.
To start with, it considers “sci-fi” which I consider to be the z-movie mentality that pervades tv and pop movies. And it calls the wrong things “sci-fi”. The article might fare better if it were said to be talking about “fantasy”, the umbrella term for science fiction and other related imaginative fields, or about “speculative fiction”, a higher-brow way of saying the same thing.
Read the thing for yourself. Feel free to regale me with your version. Or not.
I used to write science fiction. Hard sf at that, with actual science and moving parts skillfully engineered, and people that could figure things out and solve problems, and wore white, and didn’t have waking nightmares. But that grew stale for me, and I commenced populating my tales with ghouls and goblins and gray aliens and whatnot, until I rediscovered Cthulhu at about age 15 and started to write what I imagined were Lovecraftian pieces.
At that time, I was in the habit of submitting my things. I actually sold a sf novel, but some things in the contractual language were troubling to me and I decided not to publish it. Mr. Brandon, my high school English teacher, marveled at that.
“You publish the book,” he would say, ” and worry about the rest later.”
I figured, if you put out on the first date, you’ll get a rep. I got a few stories published, in little magazines in the Chicago area, and then morphed into being sixteen and having a job and a life. Writing became tertiary at best. Guitar was second. Being able to afford beer and weed was important.
But I still thought about stories, and plotted a few of them, and wrote a little bit during my classes.
The game Call of Cthulhu happened, and I wrote a few scenarios, eventually getting them compiled into a book that sold seven or eight copies. I don’t even have one.
I haven’t put out any dead tree books since. Put out an ebook a year and a half ago, and it’s nearing paperbackdom. That might open the floodgates, as I’ve determined that the way to go for me will include frequent chapbooks, so that I don’t get bogged down in details and can just get productive.
Cuz I’m a tinkerer. I will dilly and dally and the stuff will never see the light of day unless I make a concerted effort to make it so. I wrote/performed/recorded 100 songs last year. I am disgustingly prolific.
And I probably still have a lot of bad writing to do, given that this is my only real determined effort to put myself out there. So let’s get that out of the way too, while I’m invisible.
Fifteen, sixteen years ago, I started combining the two things; hard sf of the Hal Clement kind, with worldbuilding and lots of physics and stuff like that, and Lovecraftian dark fantasy. Had some good results. It’s a fun combo. The Lovecraftian Mythos occupies adjacent stalls with The Yellow Mythos, and I constructed Carcosa as a Deathworld, Harry Harrison-style, with black magick present, and built Xoth, Yuggoth, new versions of ghouls, Leng zombies, deep ones, shoggoths, more fitted to a modern multiversal interpretation.
My agents who move between the worlds are Nyarlathotep and Brown Jenkin. Both have myriad possibilities that haven’t been explored, and make excellent counterpoints to the well-meaning dumbshits I usually people my stories with.
Like the guitar player in “Pnakotic Reaction”, who called up Rhan-Tegoth and a dervish because he wanted some sfx for his show. Humans cannot correlate the contents. It just isn’t allowed.
Eventually the Lovecraftian elements will become less-prevalent. I can see that coming already. But they’re a comfortable base from which to launch something weird. Sorta like doing cover songs…of which I’ll speak anon.