Tuesday, March 04, 2008

March Convention

So in February we've talked about where to go to get some "crazy ideas" to make a Romance into SFR or even AR. And we've talked about WHY write. Then we kicked around some dynamite opening lines, and discussed how to construct such lines.

Linnea posted a great con report. I'm headed for a con at the end of this month in Maryland. The travel season is upon us and gas is up up and away!


I will be doing an intensive workshop spun off from my January 2007 and Jan 2008 Review columns:

The Soul-Time hypothesis (i.e. that souls enter manifestation through the dimension of Time), the Wheel of Fortune, Reincarnation, Kabbalah, and screenwriting are the vast subjects under the microscope.

From this gigantically "alien" but traditional and believable (if you suspend disbelief) view of the structure of the universe and the nature of souls that I plan to present, a writer can generate hundreds of universes and sentient creatures (biological and mechanical) whose behavior reflects their view of reality.

That sets up the writer to come up with one of those dynamite opening lines that explore something about the generally prevailing view of reality that is utterly astonishing.

This "cognitive dissonance" approach to concocting opening lines spikes audience response, (a gasp, a gafaw, a squeal) that makes the one-liner memorable.

Margaret's post on how even animals on Earth may in fact be much more self-aware than we've ever thought, is of course a case in point as it invokes the issue of whether souls exist.


Do you suppose those serious scientists in the Enlightened age actually were correct? Do you suppose animal consciousness, soul and ability has CHANGED in just the few centuries? And if it has, where will this Earth be two centuries from now? With species extinction rates going up, will "they" blame "us" for genocide?

What about a human time traveler who bounces from the 1600's to 2200 and falls in love with what he/she considers an animal? (culture shock alone would so derail her normal psyche that such a thing might be possible, and once it happens be much more disturbing than it would have been in his/her own time.)

What about an animal of now or 2200 sent back in time to 1600 as punishment?

Or what if -- what if!!! (Since I'm composing the lecture material on the Soul) What if these more cogent animals actually harbor souls from some other planet where they polluted the environment to the point where all species died off and their own couldn't survive either? What if our animals are harboring refugee souls? Or souls suffering some dire "punishment" by the creator of souls? What if this only started a hundred years ago? What if those harbored souls are actually being REWARDED with a life as a kept animal, not wild? What if they're being rewarded by a life in the wild, free! Where will they go from there?

If we really did come "from" somewhere, then what does that mean about where we are going (if anywhere?).

Is it SF? Or Fantasy? Is there really a distinction between the two story forms?

Jacqueline Lichtenberg


  1. One of Suzy McKee Charnas' YA novels (I can't be sure I'm remembering the title correctly -- I think it's THE GOLDEN THREAD) features the premise that dolphins (some of them, anyway) are the transmigrated souls of people from another planet who are doing penance and getting a fresh start after having ruined their world.

  2. I think the difference between Fantasy and Science Fiction would be a good topic to blog about her. I've been finding a lot more excellent Fantasy novels this year and lines just seem to get fuzzier and fuzzier. I, for one, happen to love that.

  3. Margaret

    Yes, I vaguely remember that novel now that you mention it. But Dolphins have long been suspected of intelligence of some sort. What if it's ALL animals? And what if it's a change science has spotted?

    But that was a good point about Charnas' novel!

    Jacqueline Lichtenberg