Monday, October 28, 2013

The only rule is that there are no rules!

I've come to realize over the course of the last couple of days that I've been too focused on the idea of rules and standards in fiction genres.  For example, there's a brick wall, in my mind, between the genres of fantasy and science fiction, and never the twain shall meet.  Fantasy requires magic and elves and unicorns and things, and science fiction is lasers and rocketships and terraforming other planets.

But that's not true, is it?  At least, not necessarily.

Here's a prime example: the late Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series.  Here's a world where they have dragons and people who telepathically talk to dragons!  Fantasy!  But it turns out, as you get into the series (spoiler alert!) that the people on Pern are humans, descended from Earth colonists.  Science Fiction!  Holy carp gills!

I'm certain that there are other examples, but that's the one that's coming to mind just now.

The reason I'm having this mental struggle is because I'm developing the world and the background for the story I mentioned in my last post.  I was lying in bed last night thinking about it, and trying to decide whether I wanted to stay with a traditional fantasy setting or switch to a post-apocalyptic dystopia.  Then I had a brief exchange with @Lorata on Twitter, and she made this comment about fantasy books that included modern tech like guns and electricity:

"all of mine have electricity, trains etc. there’s absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t"

And so I lay in bed, considering dystopian futures and magitech combo worlds until I fell asleep.  And when I woke up this morning, something in my brain said, "What about steampunk?"

And the more I thought about it, the more excited I got.  And then.  Then, dear readers, then I started thumbing through my Planescape manuals.  And all  I'm going to say is, I really should not be allowed to look at D&D books when I'm supposed to be studying for exams.


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