Revisiting old genres that are popular again for sci-fi writers

Earlier this week while eating lunch, I was flipping through a Time magazine and wound up at the section that reviewed the upcoming summer movies. Along with the standard fare of action films (Transformers XXVII) , period pieces (The Immigrant) and kids films (How to Train Your Dragon 2), I read an article of a new genre of films that are gaining ground – Science Fiction based films with a strong environmental message. Or as they call it – Cli-Fi.

I love this new genre, not only because it’s needed as a message to the masses (what’s the best way to promote your agenda than a summer blockbuster) but it also provides a whole new medium for writers as well. Think of vampires and wizards and lone strong-willed teenage girls. What do these wildly popular topics have in common? They were all blockbuster movies adapted from novels. Cli-Fi can do the same thing…

Here are some ideas:
• Planetary disaster: Not just fix the problem within one book (a la Star Trek TNG) but also a storyline of migration to a new colony or the journey to get there (think: the beginnings of Firefly or Battlestar Galactica)
• Monsters, weird mutations, zombies – They all started by the fear of planetary harm through mismanagement. Godzilla is being rebooted this summer, and guess what? What was earlier a nuclear test gone horribly wrong (See ya Tokyo), now its chemical waste gone horribly wrong (See ya San Francisco).
• Traveling to new planets because we trashed the old one – This one has been around forever because it’s a great storyline. It not only tells a story of exploration (Lewis and Clark, Star Trek) but it also forces your story character to find a new home because they can’t go back home (Lost in Space, some aspects of Avatar). If you can’t go home again, the story must have a happy ending and the reader gets to follow the saga of what it’s like to have to build a community from nothing at all.

So I intend on investigating this exiting medium when I’m writing to see if I can add it to my storyline.

I think of Hoban Washburne and why he became a pilot. It seems his planet’s atmosphere was so polluted he couldn’t see through it. So he became a pilot to climb out of his planet’s atmosphere to eventually become the pilot of Serenity. For other writers this similar story line provides endless opportunities for their characters while promoting awareness to the reader at the same time.

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2 Responses to Revisiting old genres that are popular again for sci-fi writers

  1. Paul Collins says:

    Hi, really good article. You might be interested to hear about a Cli-fi Facebook Group I’ve set up. It would b great to see you there https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/320538704765997/

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