Alan Dean Foster
This week we have a guest post by Alan Dean Foster, written specifically for this blog.
Foster is one of the foremost writers of science fiction whose entire body of work I highly recommend, especially if you are determined to give your Romance the texture and feel of rip-roaring-adventure-science-fiction.
Here's his Page on Amazon.
Alan Dean Foster's Page
Note that he has done the movie novelization of ALIEN, the Star Wars book SPLINTER OF THE MIND'S EYE and the novelization STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS and other famous STAR TREK items you will delight to discover.
Chances are good you already know his work, but didn't notice the byline.
Follow that byline! You are going to love this writer if you're just discovering him. Please discover him!
Foster has done over a hundred books, spread over a wide variety of styles, settings, and story types. You will definitely find something among them to learn and incorporate into your own work -- and just incidentally have a ball doing the reading.
Here is a wikipedia page that gives a hint of how large, and how popular, Alan Dean Foster's long-running novel series, The Adventures of Pip and Flinx, set in the Humanx Universe has been.
This page also gives a lot more reasons why a Romance writer who is worldbuilding a unique galactic civilization should study Alan Dean Foster's work carefully. Note the scope and depth of the Adventures of Pip and Flinx illustrated on this wikipedia entry:
Bookmark that and come back after reading some of the novels.
And here are some of the Pip and Flinx novels in a wide variety of formats:
Adventures of Pip and Flinx by Alan Dean Foster
In November 2014, Alan Dean Foster had major re-release to grab and put on your Must Read list.
This one is titled QUOZL.
Quozl is a quirky, humor-filled romp that asks deep philosophical questions even as it gives readers much to laugh about. In Quozl, rabbit-like aliens (that, of course, have a procreation problem) plan to colonize planet Earth, only to find that there are sentient creatures already living there: humans.
Quozl is the kind of book you can read to your kids, or read beside them, and discuss, even reference while watching some TV show that brings up one or another of the philosophical points. Can you imagine laughing over philosophy?
That's yet another reason I became a Foster fan. As I've talked a lot about theme on this blog, and how "theme" is a distilled philosophical point, you know it is both the reason people read novels, and the reason people write novels.
Also the Pip and Flinx novels are set in the Humanx Commonwealth where a symbiotic relationship between human and alien is woven into the sub-structure of the worldbuilding, appearing on the surface with the smooth, natural, manifestation that gives the work a sense of realism. You know how I work with symbiotic relationships in my novels. Foster does it better than I do.
Way back before publishers allowed Romance and Science Fiction to be mixed into each other, a few writers (Alan Dean Foster included) began threading bits and pieces of one into the other. That just whetted the readers' appetite for more mixed genre.
My own work began with an exploration of how a character's major Relationships could alter the plot-dynamics of a Science Fiction Action/Adventure at about the time Foster was writing for the Animated STAR TREK series.
Alan Dean Foster was one man who took Relationships into account in his novels - though rarely a Soul Mate Romance, still illustrating the elegant mechanics of weaving Relationship into Action. His characters always had Soul even when not finding a Mate.
I think that's why I first became a fan of his work. He shows how fiction should be written.
As science fiction writers first laced their work with Love Stories and real Romance, concurrently Romance writers began setting their stories in near and far-future venues with Aliens, Space Travel, and kickass heroines.
It has taken decades to bring the strengths of these two fields together. Now listen to a Master who has brought Science Fiction closer to Romance, then go explore his works and see how it was done. The handy new release of QUOZL (who but Alan Dean Foster could get away with a title like that?) might be a good place to start.
------------FROM ALAN DEAN FOSTER----------
If these "rabbits" have a procreation problem, what do they think of humans who prize fidelity in marriage and spend every waking hour before marriage seeking a soul mate?
Ah, the Quozl. Their answer to the question posed by Alien Romances is straightforward enough. They would take one look at human society and say that humans don’t “spend every waking hour before marriage seeking a soul mate.” They’d study, ponder and determine immediately that human females spend every waking hour before marriage seeking a soul mate. While human males spend every waking hour before marriage seeking sex. Two entirely different objectives. The Quozl would argue that human males, or at least the younger, more immature version (which includes all human males) stumble accidentally into their soul mates, whereas human females are engaged in actively seeking life partners. Partly this is due to culture, and partly to genetic imperatives. Female mammals nurture and raise offspring. The males simply create them.
The Quozl have developed ways to restrict, if not entirely halt, their far more powerful urge to reproduce. Even so, they are constantly seeking to expand their habitat to accommodate their increasing population. Hence their one-way journeys to pre-selected inhabitable worlds. Including an already (unfortunately for them) inhabited Earth. It is to be hoped, should a species like the Quozl arrive, they might bring with them a few useful pointers on how we might control our own population and our own still primitive urges. They might even help to mature the males.
I love romance, but my writing inclines more to the exploration of worlds than the exploration of feelings. You all know that the quickest way to drive a guy away is to say, “Tell me how you’re feeling.” But I do try. I did consciously try to write an SF romance once, and it became the novelette THE SHORT, LABORED BREATH OF TIME. The protagonist is a man who dies every day and wakes up anew each new morning, never knowing when or how he’s going to perish. Only that he will be resurrected afresh the next day.
Of course someone falls in love with him.
But as they say, that’s another story.
But if rabbit like Aliens don't appeal to you -- try Spellsinger. But no matter what, don't miss out on The Adventures of Pip and Flinx.