Personal Science Fiction Writing

Vonda Fantana

Did you ever watch Star Trek? Do you still?

When I was 10, I wanted to be DC Fontana, or Vonda N. McIntyre. They were both seminal in creating new ways to examine the heavy, important issues we face in society but may not agree upon the issues in our own lives. Science Fiction is a venue that lowers the stakes, making it possible to talk about injustice and social inequities without a stake on the hand.

I was immersed in stories for over a decade, the plot structures of science fiction, anime, fantasy, and more than 100 volumes of the Mary Higgins Clark, Jane Austen, and Edward Rutherfurd, LeGuin and Butler, McCaffey and Rice. To this day I remember loving a science fiction about a judge-like human who entered a planet with his Spice-like eyes and could see the truth. My friend’s father told me it was a very poorly written book, but I remember the concept to this day. I was also very afraid of vampires that could read our minds lurking outside city windows. Always the city, why would a vampire bother with the suburbs?

When I was 13, I realized how hard McInyre and Fontana worked for their place in the writing world. How hard they worked in a world that didn’t respect their presence in their crafts. Animated Star Trek! If it had been live action, we would respect it to this day.

When I was 20 I started trying in earnest while also making a place in the world. I taught. I also tried to write. To that end, I wrote. I wrote such bad science fiction of all types. It was gloriously terrible. Through high school I had friends who put up with the writing and those who joined. It was all practice. I stopped to do the mechanical parts of subbing anime.

By 40 I began writing academically in a major way. I was considering a PhD, getting a couple masters because that seemed to be outside my personal capabilities with the personal life concerns I met. I was published in the state Library Association a couple times.

Writing for academic purposes and taking care of children at scifi conventions (and doing a panel) changed my voice, perhaps forever. Someday I hope to come back to writing about the deep concerns of humans in an accessible way for all readers. For now, I think I will continue to try to change the world through the youngest learner’s experiences and grow their ability to empathize and connect.

I also want to make people love stories. We’ll see.

mystery Science Fiction

Cat Rambo, Helene Tursten

A search for cozy mysteries became a week of crime with retirees.

TLDR: So funny! Read this serial killer novel.

An octogenarian, hard of hearing and often stooped over, finally has the life she wanted. She lives in a large apartment rent-free, travels public transportation on a pensioner’s permit, and eats the meals that make her most happy. Maud travels Europe alone now that her sister has passed, and she spends her days quietly. Maud is a picture of quiet retirement. And so she would remain, except when she is interrupted.

Maud is a serial killer. Don’t get between her and that sweet retirement life.

This series of vignettes follows the troubles that Maude encounters, how she solves them by getting the offending person out of the way, and in one case, the officers trying to solve mysterious murders that happen around her. The tongue-in-cheek writing style keeps the mayhem fun.

TLDR: Shockingly good space story: cooks, sentient ships, and conscription.

Niko was the organizer in her mind-hive conscription military outfit. Niko and her lieutenant got out by becoming artists: the elite and respected level of society. they took most of their crew with them. Their art? Food Prep.They run into a princess and Niko’s history with a scary mob/pirate king type character and have to find their way back to their normal lives.

Cat Rambo's Book Cover: You Sexy thing

The title is the name of a ship. Think over-the-top-pleasure vessel names like Rocky’s Retirement or the Cindy Lou Who.

If you like heist novels and Becky Chambers space romps, this is a book for you. Cat Rambo has always moved between genres, but this foray into a new space opera series is a perfect novel to jump into. I can’t express how right this book is for this moment in our collective space opera reading, not-really Post Covid society. Do yourself a favor and read this book.

December Reads: Cat Rambo's You Sexy Thing, Helene Tursten's An Eldery Lady is up to No Good, Martha Well's All Systems Red, and The Little old Lady Who Broke All the Rules all in audiobook cover

I don’t review eveyrthign I listen to in the week, but here’s the run-down if you want to get in touch to talk about them. I’ll come back when I have time to talk about the books that really struck me as fun.