Human Wave Science Fiction – Reading List

As a followup to the post about a previous post about science fiction, Sarah Hoyt has posted two blog posts about what the group of us are calling “Human Wave science fiction“. Science fiction with a positive tone, a solid story to entertain, and with purpose. One of the things we are doing is making a list of the books we love who would fit into it.

What is Human Wave Science Fiction? Here is Sarah‘s Manifesto, in which she says:

“The purpose of this is to create a new “idea” in science fiction, a new way to look at the genre. Properly observed (and I’ve observed it) I think the genre should be a way to play with possible futures, with possible outcomes, with possible ideas. The wonder of science fiction lays in the open possibility…Because we are rebelling against enforced conformity of style and opinion, of belief and ideology, this list is not “though shalt nots” but “You’re allowed to.””

And the lists are great. In fact, many of the guidelines, well, they are the basics of the author-reader contract, which I will soon repost here.

But, in the meantime, here is my short-list of beloved stories, and links if I can find them.
Human Wave Science Fiction - Reading List

Anne McCaffrey’s original Pern trilogy (Dragonflight, Dragonquest, The White Dragon) and the Harperhall trilogy (Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, Dragondrum)

E.E. “Doc” Smith: The Lensmen series

The Girl with the Silver Eyes” by Willo Davis Roberts

Space Cat” series by Ruthven Todd (I know it was for young kids and backlist is really expensive, but it was cute, funny, and positive!)

Alan Mendelsohn: The Boy From Mars” by Daniel Manus Pinkwater

The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet” by Eleanor Cameron

The White Mountains” by John Christopher and the rest of the Tripod series

Human Wave Science Fiction - Reading List

A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle

The Trumpets of Tagan” by Simon Lang (and the other books in the Skipjack series. Start with “All the Gods of Eisernon“)

There are many many others out there, but the above are a few I personally loved reading. The above list also makes me sad, seeing how many of them are out of print, not available as ebooks, or downright collector items. Hopefully some will be revived as ebooks in the future. I would buy them again in a heartbeat.

If you have any other suggestions of what might be considered positive Human Wave science fiction, please post them in the comments section!

ADDED:

Another fun Human Wave SF manifesto is located here.

____________________

J.A. Marlow

Human Wave Science Fiction - Reading List

The String Weavers (The String Weavers – Book 1)

Kelsey Hale thinks she’s just a typical mixed-up teenager. Everyone feels that way, her teachers assure her. Yet, strange things happen to her, like food disappearing before she can eat it and hearing music no one else hears.

Then a giant flaming bird drops an alien at her feet. Well, good grief, how can you ignore something like that?

Abducted from Earth, the only planet she’s ever known, Kelsey finds herself thrust into the middle of a deadly conflict among alien worlds and parallel universe. She must not only survive herself, but also find a way to rescue her father from a dangerous group with unknown motives.

In the process, she’s confronted by a hidden secret about herself which will shake the very foundation of who and what she thought she was.

And connecting it all are the mysterious Weavers.

A 97,100 word, 389 page (approximate), science fiction novel.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Science Fiction – As Both Reader and Writer

Sarah Hoyt has had a series of blog posts about the state of Science Fiction, starting with this one called “Bring Back That Wonder Feeling“. All I can say is YES YES YES! Do yourself a favor and go read it.

Done? Good, now I can comment (and yes, this is modified from the comment I made to the blog post).

I loved this post. It reminds me of the essay written by Kris Kathryn Rusch years ago about “the barbarians at the gate.

I adore science fiction, grew up on it in the 80’s by reading from the local libraries, which, thank goodness, still had so much of the old stuff shelved with only some of new agenda stuff filtering in. It created a deep love, as did the fun and campy TV and movie science fiction starting with Star Wars, then Buck Rogers, the original Battlestar Galactica (not the new “Shoot them all and put them out of their misery” incarnation), and later stuff in both film and TV.

But, as a reader, I found fewer and fewer SF books to buy. Finally, by the turn of the century, I pretty much stopped other than a handful of authors. I knew this wasn’t a reader issue, as so many I talked to who enjoyed the genre complained about the same thing. It had to be coming from the editors in charge of the gates. So, as a reader, I reluctantly shifted the majority of my reading to other genres, mostly romances and mystery cozies.

The thing is, as a writer; I couldn’t write what I viewed as ‘SF depressing please-kill-me drivel’ to get through those gates. Just could not. I kept hoping for a swing towards the fun stuff I remember enjoying, yet the years kept going by without signs of hope.

As a writer, I kept writing the kinds of stories I loved. Fun adventures, good (and yes, the kiss-of-death happy) endings, main characters who make mistakes, romance, fantastical settings, and a sense of hope. The type of stories I wished I could go out and buy. I knew I couldn’t sell them in the current climate, but the creative side of me didn’t care.

I still remember a night four years ago in the Forward Motion Writers chat as a group of us were doing word sprints (writers actually writing while in chat. Now, that’s an amazing concept! 😛 ). I was literally crying while writing, sitting in a chatroom full of published writers, telling the others I knew there was no publishing market to sell my work, but I couldn’t stop writing. I was sunk, I knew it, but I just had to keep moving forward because I had to feed the writing part of me that had stories to tell.

Now fast forward today. I’m glad I kept writing, no matter how heartbroken I was about it in the past. When the world of publishing changed, I was able to join in with a backlist of never seen work inspired by the old sense-of-wonder stories. The stories I thought would never see the light of day are now out there. I’m having the time of my life as a writer!

I’m ecstatic as a reader, too. Suddenly I’m buying books in my favorite genre again! Not from the traditional gatekeepers, who keep putting out stuff I can’t stand. The works I’m buying from are put out by the authors themselves or the new small presses that have sprung up. I hope they keep putting the books out, too. There are other readers out there like me (and the commenters I see on this post) who are willing to spend money on this type of science fiction. The old gatekeepers can’t fight this rising tide!

It’s a great time to be a reader AND a writer!

____________________

J.A. Marlow

Coffee Cup Dreams New CoverCoffee Cup Dreams

She wasn’t supposed to wake up when dead…

During what should have been a simple operation, Tish Douglas died. And yet, she also awoke… in what the doctors called a ‘psi event.’

Despite having no memory of the incident, it means she’s required to go on a life-time course of debilitating drugs designed to reign in her supposedly new psi gifts. She’s left with the option of existing on Earth in a drug-haze, or leave the planet.

When an opportunity for a good paying job on a space station known as Redpoint One is offered, she jumps at the chance. Even though she doesn’t have any experience as a ‘maintenance engineer.’ Even though the station sits in the middle of nowhere, a still-operating construct of a long-gone alien species.

Between pirate attacks, intelligent repair robots, and maintenance emergencies, Tish must find a place for herself.

All complicated by a growing attraction to the one person on the station she can’t have: boss Arthur Getty.

A stand-alone 48400 word, 193 page (approximate), science fiction romance novel.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Smashwords New Distribution Channel

I thought I posted about this, but a look through the archive shows I didn’t. Oops!

Smashwords today announced a distribution agreement with Baker & Taylor, one of the world’s largest distributors of physical and digital books.

The agreement will expand distribution for nearly 100,000 Smashwords books to new devices and markets.

There are two components of the agreement. The first is distribution into the Blio online store and e-reading app. The second part of the agreement gains Smashwords authors and publishers distribution into the library market through Baker & Taylor’s Axis360 service.

More information at the Smashwords Blog.

The new channels are already showing up in the Smashwords dashboard and it looks like for some of us distribution started even before the announcement. I’m happy to see Smashwords expanding what channels they distribute to. The more the better.

I find the library angle quite interesting. The other big library service, Overdrive, is notoriously difficult for Indies to get into unless you are dominating bestseller lists. The Axis360 service isn’t as widely used as Overdrive, but maybe this will put some pressure on Overdrive to get their act together.

____________________

J.A. Marlow

Smashwords New Distribution Channel

Welcome to Salmon Run, Alaska! A place of wild animals, wild land, and wild inhabitants…oh, and native legends come alive and an inter-planetary alien conflict at their backdoor.

When Zach Callahan and his father, Hawk, arrive unprepared for a new life in the wilds of Alaska they find the first challenge is just getting to the small town of Salmon Run. They think they have it made once they get to the Solar Express, the unique train that will take them through a dark roadless wilderness to their new home.

The same night a massive display of the Aurora Borealis lights up the sky.

With the Solar Express shutting itself down, stranding its passengers in the middle of nowhere, Zach and a new friend find themselves on a collision course with an alien spaceship hidden under the snow and ice.

Right under the path of the rescuers. A spacehip also feeling the effects of the light show…

A 37800 word, 152 page (approximate), Alaskan science fiction stand-alone novella in the Salmon Run series by J.A. Marlow.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Guest: Scarlett Archer – The Spark of Creativity

J.A. Marlow has invited me to write about what sparks my creativity and how I keep it alive through a longer project. I’m definitely someone who has had their fair share of longer projects! I currently have three long term projects. One: at the editing stage, two: in the outlining stage and three: It’s completed and published.

Guest: Scarlett Archer - The Spark of CreativitySo lets begin with what sparks my creativity?

What doesn’t? The odd way someone says something, or wondering what other points of view would be interesting to write from a TV show, or book. A piece of music, a heated discussion with a friend. Whatever suddenly throws me outside the box. The spark of creativity is always lit, it’s more-so an energy source like electricity. When I get the hit of inspiration suddenly the room is overexposed with a burning glow because the electricity is supercharged.

But unlike a lot of writers I know, I don’t allow myself to start a new story whenever that spark lights up. I did that years ago but realized all I ended up with was a tonne of story starts and no finishes. I’ve learned through experience if it’s a worthy plot and I have enough drive it will still be there when I finish what I’m currently working on. Having three projects going on right now is at my limit- but I only write one at a time. This means when I’m struck by an overload of electricity in the brain I never follow through on it. I’ll write the idea down and keep it aside but it always has to wait! Waits in the brain, marinating, growing, finding a foundation.

And how do I keep it alive through the project?

It has to be a topic I love, or a genre that I love. The moment I lose interest it’s usually because there wasn’t enough depth to the story in the first place. An idea can work, any idea can work, but so long as it has a beginning, middle and end. I’m in a place where I’m learning so much about the art of story telling, and the Hero’s Journey so not only am I emotionally involved in the plots and characters but in the art form of the story on its own.

I think it’s important to focus on one project. I would suggest it to you writer folk out there- trust if it’s a good idea that hits you it will still be there when you’re finished with the current one. If it’s worth your time it will be patient! That’s how you keep your projects alive!

—-

Guest: Scarlett Archer - The Spark of CreativityScarlett Rugers (writing as Scarlett Archer) has just released a book 1001 First Lines which is now available at Amazon! You can purchase a paperback, .lit, .epub, .mobi and PDF versions here: http://www.1001firstlines.wordpress.com.

She has been writing for over fifteen years, completed over eleven novels, and her main drive is in speculative fiction or its contrasting opposite romantic comedic novels. She has a passion for studying the art of story telling and is a grand lover of movies. Her focus in work is book cover designs which enables her to put all her energy in to the area she loves most- literature. You can get in touch with her about getting a book cover designed for you at http://www.booksat.scarlettrugers.com.

Writing Prompt: An Experimental Diplomat

Someone out there going “Huh?” 😀

I’ve been working on and off with an idea generator. They are not easy things to create. Too much information, and the Muse shuts down. Too little, and the Muse doesn’t even pay attention. So, I’ve been working to create one with several lines. The fun comes in trying to connect up the lines produced into one story.

The new generator has already produced several story ideas for me. As I’m tweaking it again and I come across interesting combinations, I thought I would share them here in case they inspire someone else.

So, here is today’s generated writing prompt:

  • The story is set with an interlude with an argument.
  • The Story involves a bulkhead.
  • Someone is involved in a secret.
  • The story may incorporate an experimental diplomat.

Let me know if it inspires anything!

____________________

J.A. Marlow

Writing Prompt: An Experimental Diplomat

The String Weavers (The String Weavers – Book 1)

Kelsey Hale thinks she’s just a typical mixed-up teenager. Everyone feels that way, her teachers assure her. Yet, strange things happen to her, like food disappearing before she can eat it and hearing music no one else hears.

Then a giant flaming bird drops an alien at her feet. Well, good grief, how can you ignore something like that?

Abducted from Earth, the only planet she’s ever known, Kelsey finds herself thrust into the middle of a deadly conflict among alien worlds and parallel universe. She must not only survive herself, but also find a way to rescue her father from a dangerous group with unknown motives.

In the process, she’s confronted by a hidden secret about herself which will shake the very foundation of who and what she thought she was.

And connecting it all are the mysterious Weavers.

A 97,100 word, 389 page (approximate), science fiction novel.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords