I began reading science fiction when I was four. I used to sit on my father’s lap as he read, and learned to read along with him. If he was reading E. E. (Doc) Smith or L. Ron Hubbard, he’d change books and we’d read Asimov or Arthur C. Clarke instead. I’m not sure if he considered the content of Smith’s and Hubbard’s books unsuitable for a four year old or if he thought the language was too difficult for me to read. It could have been something as simple as the size of the type.
Either way, science fiction was my first love and, while I read other things, I always return to it. It’s my comfort zone, my safe place.
I’m currently writing a science fiction novel as I do Year of the Novel through QWC. One of the questions I have to answer this month is what comparable books/writers there are to my story. If this was a romance story, I could easily find an answer because romance follows the same tropes. While there are differences with each story, there are always similarities too. Finding a comparable book would be a simple as finding another author with a similar voice or style. Science fiction isn’t that easy.
I don’t write hard science fiction. I don’t have the depth of science background to do it justice so I don’t even try. I also like fantasy stories so my SF, as well as being soft SF, often has fantasy elements. I love space operas, so I often write entire stories where most of the action is aboard ship, with planetary landings being rare and brief. When you add in the romance as well, it’s difficult to find something comparable.
I don’t know of anything similar to my new story, Memory for Loan, and couldn’t find any that combine similar SF features with romance. Some Steampunk novels touch on similar aspects of Victorian England culture and pollution as seen on Tolifax but Memory for Loan isn’t steampunk. I couldn’t find a romantic space opera that had similar elements although the writing of some hard SF authors (Greg Bear, Ralph Kern, Elizabeth Moon) resonates even though the majority of their writing (that I’ve read) is set on-planet.
The inspiration for Memory for Loan came from The Martian (Andy Weir), mixed with Victorian England slums, a concern over global warming and pollution and their affects on the environment, an interest in the idea of terraforming dead planets to make them habitable, melded with a personal background of Star Trek, Dr Who, Isaac Asimov, E. E. (Doc) Smith and Arthur C. Clarke.
The premise of the series is that the planet, Tolifax, has been used as a dump for centuries. The powers on Earth have dumped everything unwanted there, including human beings (especially hardened criminals). The communities on Tolifax are finally beginning to work together and revolt but how can that be successful when the people have no power and the ecology of the planet has been all but destroyed? The rebels set up camp, stage left, taking chunks out of the Galactic Government, centre stage, which fights dirty and for keeps. Enter, stage right, the planet whisperers, and you have the set-up for Memory for Loan.
E E Montgomery
About writing, life, and random thoughts.
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