Tuesday, October 31, 2006


CSSF Blog Tour

Knights in science fiction?

Um.... errr....

With swords and everything?


What, some sort of laser sword, perhaps?


No. Next thing you know you'll be giving them magic powers and stuff. It'll never work.


CSSF Blog Tour

OK, we know that Dragons, Knights and Angels is just a name, and that stories appearing in it don't have to feature dragons, knights, or angels. After all, as Johne Cook says in the DKA vision, that would be silly. Which really is tempting for someone like me who happens rather to like silly.

But that's another post. Or perhaps a DKA submission. Or a NaNo project, even.

This is the blog tour, and an opportunity for me to take the subject and ramble off on a tangent. If you want to know about DKA, go off and read Mirathon. You want intelligent discussion sparked by the subject, Becky's got it. You want to try and cram dragons, knights and angels into sensible science fiction, well, I'll give that a go. But bear in mind, I do like silly.

So, dragons.

At first glimpse the exclusive domain of the fantasy tale, how do we get these mythical creatures to play a sensible role in science fiction?

This would be one of those areas where sf and fantasy overlap, as in Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern sequence. Here a world which wouldn't look out of place in a fantasy novel is created by colonists from Earth, who create a race of dragons by genetic manipulation. Sounds like science fiction to me.

As a child, I was briefly fascinated by the 'science' of dragons. The biology of how such a thing could actually exist. That was before I knew anything about biology, of course, like how boring the lessons were. But it is science, and if someone were to dig up a dragon's remains somewhere, you could have fun exploring the science of dragons. You could always dig up a live dragon, in a Reign of Fire sort of way.

So how do we bully all this into a Christian story? There's plenty of Biblical monsters to choose from - the Leviathon from Job, Jonah's big fish (well, have you ever seen a dragon?), and dragons (be they physical or metaphorical) in Revelation. You could throw Christians to the dragons like a Roman Emperor. And the 'dragon as a representation of general nastiness' theme was donw by Frank Peretti a while ago in The Oath.

'Here be dragons' they wrote on maps in days of yore, and who knows, maybe those early spacefarers will use the same phrase, harking back to their ancestors, to denote areas of as yet unexplained danger. The dragons could be anything. And that (he says, miraculously returning to the point) is the way DKA see them. Johne Cook says:

To my way of thinking, dragons represent the mystical, the unknown world, dangerous and magical and huge beyond reckoning.

And in science fiction, that leaves a lot for the imagination to play with.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Introducing the October CSFF blog tour

Yes, it's time for the increasingly popular CSFF blog tour again. This time round, a whole bunch of people will be commenting on the Christian spec-fic webzine Dragons, Knights and Angels. I'm on sort of a mission now to find out how any of those three entities wind up in science fiction stories - I'll report back tomorrow.

In the meantime, why not pop over and take a quick peek, then come back and see what these nice people have to say about it:
Jim Black
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Kameron M. Franklin
Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
Leathel Grody
Karen Hancock
Elliot Hanowski
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Joleen Howell
Jason Joyner
Karen and at Karen¹s myspace
Oliver King
Tina Kulesa
Kevin Lucia
Rachel Marks
Shannon McNear
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Caleb Newell
Cheryl Russel
Mirtika Schultz
Stuart Stockton
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Frank Creed
Christina Deanne
Lost Genre Guild
John Otte

Monday, October 23, 2006

The recipe for perfect telly sf

  • Take one of Joss Whedon's spare Hellmouths, and place under a British city. Say, Cardiff.
  • Add one part X-Files and two parts Men in Black.
  • Create a Scooby gang including at least one technical guru and one, um, Xander, led by a mysterious, handsome (apparently) stranger with a dark side. If he once died and came back mysteriously immortal, so much the better.
  • Give them a Batcave, whose entrance is protected by a Somebody Else's Problem field from Hitchhikers.
  • Place the mix into a pre-heated sf universe. (Note: Doctor Who is popular at the moment.)
  • Make occasional throw-away references to this show, but do not depend on it.
  • In fact, distance yourself from its key fanbase by taking a distinctly adult sf plot (say, Species) and plundering it for Episode 2.
  • Before serving, take the name of the parent show and sprinkle the letters over the title sequence.

Enjoy Torchwood. I did.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

miscellaneous bloggery 7

Yes I know. I'm copping out more frequently than I'm writing proper entries. So sue me.

But to stay remotely on topic, I like these, pointed out by Elliot recently. They just sent my little writer's mind into a bit of an idea-frenzy... maybe something new might be on the NaNo cards yet?

In the open space has some thoughts on another TV sf show that hasn't made it into my life yet, Battlestar Galactica.

If you haven't wandered over to The Lost Genre Guild yet, here's the link. (There I go, diverting my readers to somewhere that does this Christian sf comment thing so much better than me...)

And for a smile, Mir suggests The Town Drunk, and having just briefly perused a couple of stories, I have to agree. If I can knock up a faintly amusing Christmas story in the next two weeks, look out for me there in a couple of months... don't hold your breath though.

Maybe I should start a little series of Hitchhikers or Red Dwarf posts. I also might nick Becky's idea and explore the many sub-genres within science fiction (which I kind of started way back when, before I started running out of time to blog properly...)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What was I thinking...

...when I signed up for NaNoWriMo?

I was actually thinking I've got all these WIPs on the go, but none of them really seem to be going anywhere... so I thought I'd join in, in the hope that it would inspire me to knock one of these half finished ideas together into something approaching a usable first draft.

At the moment the idea I'm planning to use is the sequel to Countless as the Stars, but my main problem with this is that I only know it as 'the sequel' - it doesn't have a title, nor any sign of developing one any time soon. I can see myself getting hung up on that and not writing anything until I have a title...

So I may well have a change of heart in the next couple of weeks and pick one of my other ideas (most likely a comic fantasy, because they don't even have to make sense!). Most of them are little more than ideas and characters at the moment - I've titles without stories too, come to that - so either way the actual writing will be started from scratch.

I've never done a NaNo before either, so the whole thing is a new experience for me. Hopefully I won't get too involved in technicalities or forumming and forget to actually write anything.

My plan is to plot my NaNo progress on my other blog, so that I can continue uninterrupted coverage of Christanity in sf over here. But now that I write that, it also seems pretty unlikely.

Anyway, on the bookshelf, by popular demand (sort of) is near-future bilogical thriller with prophetic nuns The Patron Saint of Plagues. Expect a review sometime after NaNo.

Monday, October 09, 2006

So many books!

My copy of Firebird has arrived, and currently sits between Barth Anderson's The Patron Saint of Plagues and The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell.

Also on the reading list is a tatty second hand copy of Lord Foul's Bane, (The First Chronicle of Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever) by Stephen Donaldson, which I picked up cheap having had it recommended to me eons ago.

I haven't decided which to read first yet though. If anyone would like to suggest which they want to see a review of first, I'm open to a quick straw poll :)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

miscellaneous bloggery 6

The sixth in an occasional series in which I realise I haven't posted here all week because it's my little girl's first birthday and I can't be bothered to come up with anything original to write about.

The new, David-Tennant-shaped Doctor Who has landed in the states. Mir looks forward to season three, and In The Open Space reviews the season opener. Did you guys not get the Christmas Invasion? Or are they saving it for Christmas, when it will be all out of sequence and not make any sense at all?

Oh yes, and in other Christian sf developments, the Armchair Theologian proposes a Christian version of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. I can't believe no-one thought of that before! (Notice how he and Carmen both mention Brian McLaren? Is it Brian McLaren week and I missed it or something?)

In other news, Mir mentioned haiku earlier, a largely irrelevant fact which I mention only because I like haiku too.

Normal service may potentially resume next week.