Trying out a new genre

So what is this new serialized narrative I mentioned on Monday? Well as with many things on this blog it is a bit of an experiment. I write fairly traditionally in the science fiction and mystery genres when it comes to fiction, with particular focus on technology and its impact. But there’s another kind of pseudo science-fiction genre I’ve wanted to try my hand at, the fable.

What is a sci-fi fable?

Well for starters it’s sci-fi without the sci. It’s got some of the same genre trappings as science fiction, world-wide catastrophe, perils of technology, human ingenuity in dealing with adversity, without being quite so concerned with explaining everything with techno-babble. In the case of my own little hypothetical catastrophe, most of the science types are out of the picture, or at least unable to communicate with anyone, leaving us squarely in the territory of telling human stories.

What do people do when their world is turned upside-down?

Probably one of the more popular genre’s of fable is the zombie apocalypse. Sure some of them try to explain it with a super-virus or some such, but for the most part it is a survival story dealing with the humanity of the people involved and humanity as a whole. In some ways some of the earliest science-fiction was more fable than hard science. Take The Time Machine or The War of the Worlds as just two examples. Or Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World.

Now the only problem with these kinds of disaster stories is that they can sometimes be only about spectacle. Or they can mired in the same tried and true locations: New York, Washington D.C., Japan, etc. So where is my new story set?

Oh me-oh, oh my-oh, oh Cleveland, Ohio!

Truthfully part of it is that I found working on Columbus so refreshing to the Surreality story that I wanted to write more Ohio stories. And Cleveland fits a few specific story requirements, while giving me a whole new playground of ideas to cull from. And I was born there too, so neat.

Speaking of Surreality, that still is a main priority, though hopefully these two projects will complement rather than conflict with each other. While I’ll be trying to give you something that is better than a rough draft, it is by no means finished product which is where you come in. I want your feedback. I want you to tell me what you loved and what you didn’t, and where you think the story might go. At the moment this is a very high-concept project, I’m writing down the road just a little bit ahead of you but I promise we’ll get to an actual ending.

And what is a good fable ending? Something that teaches us or makes us think? Maybe. I want to tell you a good story and see where that takes me. Weirdly, I have this feeling this is going to be one of these stories that takes me where I want to go even if I don’t know where that is yet.

By the way, and this is just completely on a lark, are any of you aspiring comic artists? Interested in providing an illustration for each installment (or know someone who would)? Reading all these comic books the last number of months has given me a new appreciation for what the genre can do, and though I don’t have an specific talent for it myself, if one of you out there is interested, talk to me (bentrubewriter@gmail.com). Just to be clear, at the moment there is absolutely no money in it, but you would be credited at the top of the post complete with your website.

We’ll just have to see how this goes, starting next Thursday.

What are your new writing projects for the year?

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