Why do you read Spec Fiction?

In the course of an interview for MilSciFi.com, they asked me if science and technology played a major or secondary part in my novel. My response was:

Science and tech are certainly present, and indeed are major plot points, but they’re props, background. To be honest, I loathe sci-fi that reads like an owner’s manual or doctoral thesis. To me, science fiction is about people responding to advancing technology and scientific discovery. It’s the struggles of interacting with the applications, the implications, that I find so fascinating. In my opinion, science should be a catalyst, not a character, in genre fiction.

Now I realize there are plenty of readers who enjoy and expect a high dose of hard science in their fiction, so different strokes, etc, and while I make an effort to include geek-speak, uber-tech, and even gun-porn in my stories, I firmly believe fiction is about people’s struggles, failures and triumphs. I never want the hardware to overshadow the wetware. (so to speak)

I’ve commented on my fanboy fascination for cyberpunk in general, and William Gibson in particular, but opening up the question to all genres of horror, pulp, fantasy, sci-fi, I am curious to know why you read speculative fiction, and what elements are you drawn to/do you look for?


2 Replies to “Why do you read Spec Fiction?”

  1. I fell in love with speculative fiction when I was a young reader. After discovering it, all other fiction seemed to bland. I like the unusual. In my opinion, we experience “Man falling in love with woman” in our everyday lives. When I read, I want something beyond ordinary.

  2. I agree, and only add my fascination continues when the writer’s ordinary characters are confronted by extraordinary circumstances. How they act and adapt, and retain their humanity (or not) is – for me – the essential struggle.

    Now add to that entertainment/escapism, world-building, word-smithing, and I confess there are only a handful of things I prefer over devouring a good book.

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