Reviews 33 - Sime~Gen Seen From OutsideI found this review of the first book in the Clear Springs Trilogy by Mary Lou Mendum -- a Sime~Gen Series trilogy - on Facebook and Amazon on June 29, 2017.
The second in the trilogy will likely be available soon, so I thought this review from the outside -- by someone who has not been writing Sime~Gen fanfic -- could be useful context for writers who have been following my commentary on what goes on inside a writer's mind.
We have explored how to take a news item, mull it over, turn it into questions, look at it from outside the framework of your own culture -- maybe from all human cultures -- and cast the resulting idea into a Theme you can use to build the World for an Alien Romance.
This thinking process is common to science fiction, and turns up in all the genres. But it does not always produce something that resonates with a readership. When you do hit a readership, sometimes you don't know it for decades to come.
We have also discussed how you know if you're writing a "classic"
When a work stands the test of time, it can become a Classic. If you want to write a Classic, you need to study Classics, but also the writers and their processes that produced that "Idea." You can't use another writer's process, but you can use your understanding of their process to invent a process of your own -- and test it in the marketplace of Ideas.
Here is a view of the end result of the Sime~Gen Process by someone who was not involved in it.
He has given permission to post this review here.
-----------Review By Joseph Baneth Allen----------
Just finished reading "A Change of Tactics: A Sime~Gen Novel -Clear Spring Chronicles #1" by Mary Lou Mendum, Jacqueline Lichtenberg, and Jean Lorrah released by Wildside Press.
Mary Lou Mendum first began writing her Clear Springs Chronicles, which highlight the adventures of Tecton Donor Den Milnan and his cousin First Level Channel Rital Madz, in the Sime-Gen Fanzine AMBROV ZEOR back in 1990.
So when Wildeside Press wanted a new Sime-Gen Novel, Jacqueline asked Mary Lou if she wanted to expand her first two stories about how Den and Rital arrived in Clear Spring to expedite/herald a technology exchange of Selyn Batteries.
Now I may be wrong in this, but I do believe that it was Jacqueline Lichtenberg who first broke ground in the publishing industry by not only allowing fan fiction of her universe to thrive - but also allowing another writer, Jean Lorrah to co-write joint and solo novels in the Sime-Gen series. There is a strong argument to be made that shared-world novels and anthologies flourished because of her willingness to take a step, at that time, I don't recall any other author and/or publisher doing. Without Jacqueline Lichtenberg paving the way, I strongly suspect that the co-written novels of Andre Norton, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and other science fiction writers would have gotten off the drawing board. Success does tend to encourage more success.
"A Change of Tactics" examines who to adapt to the dual new situations of outright hatred and violence, and the willingness to chuck established procedure out the window when it doesn't work. It also challenges Den's and Rital's long traditional beliefs about how to reach out to people who have to worry about offending their neighbors. It also looks unflinching at religious prejudice and how to effectively combat it - something the Jacksonville Community Alliance could definitely benefit from.
How Den confronts and fights against the religious prejudice of Reverend Sinth and his followers is something rarely portrayed in science fiction - thought more in fantasy novels.
I am eagerly looking forward to the next Clear Spring Chronicle.
And don't forget, Book 13 in this Series is an anthology of stories by various writers, including Mary Lou Mendum.