June 28th, 2011
Sequels written to well loved science fiction classics by the children of the original writer never turn out right therefore you can safely ignore them. It’s a rule that saved me a lot of frustration, but I think I might break it for Jennifer Pournelle’s Outies, a sequel to her father’s and Larry Niven’s The Mote in God’s Eye. If the novel is as interesting and intelligent as this article makes it out to be, this could be a very good book:
What do you want the reader to get out of your novel?
JP: That monolithic viewpoints tend to drown out available options. That “first contact” is not a singular event. That urban sustainability depends upon ecological sustainability. That local people are not necessarily incompetent. That religion is as much about organizing principles as about belief systems. That the “hard science” in science fiction isn’t (or should not be) limited to physics and rocketry – to genuinely do “hard science,” you need to get your biology, geology, archaeology, anthropology, etc. right too.
Pournelle herself is an archaeologist and here she’s hitting a lot of my buttons — science fiction with a genuine grasp of the complexity of human history is rare and even in modern sf a lot of planets still feel no bigger than a small island…
A novel to look out for. Thanks James.
Categories: science fiction