Tuesday, November 29, 2005
  Why Sci-Fi?
When you tell people you write fiction, an awful lot of them nod and smile, thinking that means you're in the entertainment business. Well, yes, that too... but for many of us, fiction is about a whole lot more than just telling a good story. It's about examining truths, and pulling forth stories which help us think about issues and, hopefully, in the end understand a bit more about who we are--as a species, as races, as genders, as individuals.

When you say you write science fiction, the smile often takes on a sort of frozen look. Science fiction, how nice. (Unless you are talking to a sci-fi fan, in which case you are assaulted with questions about your books or stories). Good science fiction is about the same things as regular fiction, only perhaps a bit more self-consciously. Take Ursula Le Guin's "The Left Hand of Darkness." She is able to examine sexuality in a way standard fiction can't because of the society/species she creates. Or Orwells 1984, which examines governmental thought control and totalitarianism in a way that wouldn't be very possible in straight fiction, because (one hopes) the extreme version he writes about would never be tolerated in the real world.

Science fiction writers (at least my favorite ones) focus and crystalize an issue, capturing the essence of it, intensifying it, removing the noise and distraction and messiness of real life, so they can pick it apart. It results, often, in a very intense experience, that can have a significant impact on the way you see your world, your life, your relationships.

The Boston Globe a couple days ago ran an article talking about the roke of science fiction, particularly utopias and dystopias.


"The authors says about one book: ''The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch" (1965) is a psychedelic odyssey of hallucinations-within-hallucinations from which no reader emerges unscathed."

Yes, that's the idea -- many authors of sci-fi hope the reader will come out on the other side of their book changed, or at least at bit more thoughtful.
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.

What I'm reading now

Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too.
MoveOn.org. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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