Topic Week: Beth's Influences

Today is the first day of a new feature on the League: Topic Week! And this week's topic is all about influences.

I often get asked who my science fiction influences are, and I think people expect me to say Heinlein or something similar. But the truth is, with a very few exceptions, I didn't read that much science fiction growing up. (I know, I know. This is totally going to get me razzed later.) When I was younger, there were some SF books I loved. Namely: Madeleine L'Engle's A WRINKLE IN TIME and Orson Scott Card's ENDER'S GAME. But once I got past these, there were few adult SF books that I actually enjoyed--Douglas Adams's THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY being one of the rare ones I adored.

I blame my husband for this. See, he loves hard sci fi. I mean, whole chapters dedicated to the exact, precise functionings of the engine. He likes science fiction, whereas I liked science fiction. The adult SF books he was reading bored me to tears. I didn't care about how the science worked--I just wanted something awesome to happen, preferably by blowing up.

There were whole years that passed where I didn't really care about science fiction books at all because of this. I was limited in my understanding of the genre (really, I prefer "space opera", but I didn't even know those existed before), and that led me to dismiss the whole genre as a whole.


While I avoided reading science fiction, I quickly fell in love with Firefly (thanks to my husband, who insisted I'd love it). There was so much to love: quick plots, exciting twists, mysteries, snappy dialog. And there was science, but rather than spending ages explaining it, it just worked, much like magic tends to do in fantasy novels.

When I started working on ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, I knew from the start that I wanted to write science fiction. And I was scared. I'd never written science fiction, and I wasn't sure I could it. I knew I couldn't write hard sci fi. That was definitely not my scene.

But then I remembered Firefly. Joss Whedon presented a science fiction world which emphasized fiction over science.

Now that? That I could do.


Scribbles From Jenn said...

I've always loved watching science fiction, my older brother was the fan in our house who got the rest of us hooked, but reading it is hard. I can never sound out the names and places. I'll have to checkout Firefly.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'll confess that I hadn't read much sci-fi and wasn't much of a fan until I read your books. Thanks.

I did love the movie Galaxy Quest though. I've watched that multiple times.

Matt said...

Big fan of Firefly as well. Each episode brought more great development in both plot and character. Haven't seen much like it since.

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