I instead had some ideas about what to do with my fiction, particular one character called Alice. You may remember that when I last discussed my idea for a serious version of Lost in Space, I only had two solid characters. One of these was Alice, a 4,000 year old android whose intelligence, perceptual abilities, communication powers, and ethics were far in advance of what humans could conceive. Last week, I got my fourth rejection notice from a magazine to which I had sent the short story where I first developed her character. So I thought I would at least discuss some of the interesting ideas and approaches to science-fiction that I wanted this character to explore.
First, if you're interested at all in the recent history of science-fiction and comics, you should read Phil Sandifer's Last War in Albion project, or you will inevitably regret it. Lately, he's been discussing the wider effect Star Wars, Michael Moorcock, and J. G. Ballard had on destroying the Golden Age model of sci-fi narrative. This was actually a radical innovation in storytelling, even though it ran out of steam fairly quickly.
The narrative is based on problem solving using technology with a clear grounding (even if it may have been extrapolated from current uses and forms) in the science of one's time, or at least according to rules for that technology that was set at the story's beginning. Characters are in a logistically tricky situation, and have to solve that problem within the established limits of their technology. Fiction in this form is less narrative, and more a puzzle.
|An example of a massive species-|
* I consider this period to run from 1990, the third season of Next Generation when the show fully recovered from the late 1980s writer's strike, to 1996, when Voyager entered its inescapable downward spiral and Deep Space Nine fully converted to a continuing dramatic space opera. I think DS9 was at its best as a show over its last three seasons, but that it was no longer pure Star Trek. But that's another blog post.
Because the Golden Age model of narrative was remarkably limited. The critiques of the 1970s effectively killed that narrative style because the Golden Age couldn't answer them. The style was too sparse, with no focus on character development or philosophical engagement. Narratives with these aspects are simply better than the spare thought experiments of straight Golden Age fiction.
|A slave and its master.|
I wanted a depiction of androids that would portray them as something I had never seen before, except maybe a brief moment at the end of AI of all things. Iain M. Banks' Culture books come close, but androids there still seem to be a servant class, the tools of humans. I wanted an android race that would literally be the Overman. These creatures would surpass all that humanity can ever be without ourselves evolving into an entirely new species. Androids would be the intellectual, scientific, social, emotional, and ethical superiors to humanity. Alice would be the oldest and wisest among them.
More over the weekend, I think.