Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Feeling Spacey? With Guest Blogger: K.M. Tolan

Space Opera, anyone?

Join us today as guest author K.M. Tolan discusses the science fiction genre!

Space Opera. Why did I end up writing in this secluded little niche? It is a fair question for me to ask myself as I wrap up a fourth book. From a marketing perspective, science fiction lags well behind romance and fantasy when it comes to e-books. Then you have the sub-genre of space opera – a little sister to those stories dealing with speculation and hardware.

I guess I fell in love with characters – the staple of space opera. I love putting characters into settings that do not yet exist, but are plausible just the same. Being a hopeless geek, I also love gadgets and the “Gee, what if?” stuff, but not to excess. No, don’t ask me to write out painfully detailed schematics of how this or that ship manages to cheat physics – just accept that it does. I may test your credibility, but not break it.

What interests me is that pre-teen girl staring through the window on the second deck of my ship. Her eyes are wide, the blue arc of a new world filling her vision. What is she thinking? What change will evoke the march of a child into young womanhood on a world where plants sing and the rain kills?

There you have it – the mix of a familiar coming of age theme with something quite different. Her name is Helen Cresly, by the way. Oh, she will be known as Hanya (She who sings back) when her parents finally find her after the crash. She won’t be their little Helen anymore. She also won’t be human...not quite. Hanya will still seek love, and an understanding of her place within an all but forgotten life. She will also hear the singing...and the beckoning.

This is space opera. If the images come to your mind as they have to mine, and you can see a young girl running through an alien forest trying to find herself, then you will understand why I write this stuff. The ideas are timeless, and they can be applied to settings of so infinite a variety as to defy one’s expectations of an outcome.

Writing about Helen will have to wait, though. I only thought her up a few moments ago.

A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks for joining us today at the Boost! I'm a fan of Sci-Fi and enjoyed reading about the genre today. Will you share some details with us about Rogue Dancer which I understand is the second in a series?

Here's an Excerpt from Rogue Dancer:

After a hot evening meal, she stood outside the fort watching an orange sun sink beneath waves of grass. In its place, the sky filled with the flowing purple majesty of the Curtain, the swirl of stars and gossamer filaments casting its own hues across the land. “Didn’t think I’d be seeing Kioranna so soon.”

“Didn’t think I would be out here at all,” Paleen added beside her. She rubbed her arms beneath a coat similar to Mikial’s. “Cold wind.”

“Not much to break it out here.”

The Ipper stared toward the darkening village. “Do they really hate us?”

“Care to go over and ask?”

Paleen shook her head. “I’m not going near them.”

“That’s part of why they hate us,” Mikial softly answered, her breath coming in steamy puffs.

“Our Taqurl ancestors fashioned them to be a slave race, and we still call them Servants to this day. They are fading out here, Paleen. Most of the babies they have will be Qurl, and end up given to the nearest Holding like I was. They hate us for that too.” She let out another long breath. “Your sect is actually withholding information. It’s about as unprecedented as my getting replaced.”

Paleen returned an undaunted scowl. “Mikial, when you shoot a dart, that’s it. Say what you want. Do what you want. It doesn’t matter because the dart’s going to go where you aim it. What if that weren’t true? What if you had to watch everything you said and did afterwards for fear you would miss that mark?” Paleen reached up and put a hand on Mikial’s shoulder, turning Mikial to face her. Her ear fans flicked in agitation, some of the fear crossing over to shake Mikial’s own fans and thoughts. “ sect doesn’t dare even breathe right now.”

“Then what are you doing here?”

Paleen’s smile softened the worries. “Swimming beside you, silly. Like I always have and always will.”

“My sect wants me to kill this other Suria.”

Paleen nodded. “You will do what you have to, Mikial. It is as simple as that.”


Margaret West said...

I'm a Sci Fi boffin. I love it on TV and in books. Great blog. I read it with relish.

Sandra Cox said...

This sounds like a great read!

paulab said...

I'm a Sci Fi/Fantasy fan, but I've never really understood what space opera is. Thanks for clearing that up :-). Wishing you great success with ROGUE DANCER. BTW, Helen sounds like she has a great story to tell!
Paula Gorgas