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Bewildering Stories

Kevin Ahearn writes about...

Science Fiction: Head and Heart

Imagine a work of science fiction as a loaded gun. The author’s genius pulls the trigger and science fiction, THE science fiction, that incredible bullet, shoots down the barrel, flies through the air and strikes the reader or viewer smack between the eyes, shatters the skull and then blows up the brain.

Is THAT the science fiction we’re talking about, fanboy?

Too often it is and that’s what killing science fiction.

Back to the gun. The author has left town. It’s not about him or her any more. Science fiction is the trigger that fires the story. It is the STORY that will hit or miss the reader. The best way to the brain is not through the skull, but the heart.

Make the reader CARE about the story. It’s not about science, it’s about us. Which means that science fiction is NOT the story. Nor should it be thought of a genre, but a DEVICE. Shelley, Wells, Dickens, Twain, even Hawthorne pulled the SF trigger to hit us square in the heart. Spielberg and Lucas and Roddenberry did not learn their trade from the wind and the rain.

Working on a story? If you believe that it will be the science fiction bullet that hits the target with editors and readers, odds are you’re shooting blanks.


Copyright © 2007 by Kevin Ahearn

A nice, impassioned reminder, Kevin. On the same theme, you’ll surely be interested in David Marshall’s “Saving Science Fiction City,” which placed very high among the Editors’ Choices in the fall quarter of 2007.


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