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10 June 2009 @ 09:26 am
*bemused*  

Yesterday’s rant spawned half a dozen or more “you should write a book” comments (and one “this would make a great art installment monologue” *laughs*).

Truth is, I’d love to.

On one hand I think it’s already been done, and so well that I couldn’t hope to play in the same league. That’s Kim Stanley Robinson’s SCIENCE IN THE CAPITOL series, which consists of FORTY DAYS OF RAIN, FIFTY DEGREES BELOW, and SIXTY DAYS AND COUNTING. I think they’re amazing books with an incredible lyrical rhythm to the writing–they’re like reading Walden, or A Song of Myself–and I think the story they tell is heart-seizingly real. KSR is a scientist, and the thought and science and research of climate change is on the page.

On the other hand, they’re like reading Walden, or A Song of Myself, and all the science is on the page. I love them, but they’re not exactly accessible. And I think their message is so desperately important that I wish to God I felt I could thrust them into peoples’–*politicians’*–hands and say, “Here, here, read this, understand this, this is a future that is not at all far from where we are, it’s a future that’s not implausible, act now while we still can,” but even if I was in a position to do that, I’m afraid people would largely bounce off them.

So yeah, I’d dearly love to try to write a novel that I thought had essentially the same messages but which was maybe easier for people to get in to. I’m not sure I know *how* to. I’m not sure I’d know where to begin, or what plot (short of “the world is ending”) would drive it. A diatribe, after all, is not a story, and me jumping around swearing is not a character. And so, although I write fast, something like that would be a project I’d want to have a significant amount of uninterrupted time for…and I don’t have that time, nor the money to eke it out.

S’cool that people think I should, though. :)

(x-posted from the essential kit)
 
 
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The Bellinghmanbellinghman on June 10th, 2009 04:50 am (UTC)
A diatribe, after all, is not a story

So true, so true. And that's why I'm always wary of books with strong messages (and why I've so totaly given up on Sherri Tepper, once one of my most favourite writers).

On the other hand, Ken MacLeod's Execution Channel does manage to get it right. Somehow, he takes the worst of where our world is heading politically, and puts a great story against that background.
T.M. Thomastmthomas on June 10th, 2009 09:54 am (UTC)
I think there's room for a novel in there. Quite a bit of the military SF I've read is based in a future where evil liberals and the lie of climate change created this hegemonic dictatorship where our Clever Strong Rebel must use two-fisted bravado to champion Rand's ideals. Given that you can actually write, there's room to weave subtext into your worlds in a way that gets to your point.
Liannelianneb on June 10th, 2009 10:30 am (UTC)
I love that KSR trilogy. And don't forget the related novel, Antarctica.

But then, I find that Robinson does a great job of taking a 'grand idea' book and giving it a believable plot and characters, both good and bad, that you care about. That turns a 'great idea' book into simply a great book.

Now, I also read Harry Turtledove books for his alternate history ideas, but his plots are paper thin, and his characters are cardboard cutouts. He basically has 'great idea' books with nothing else to them.