Friday, October 4, 2013

Bonnie Doran: Why Do I Write Science Fiction?

A guest post by Bonnie Doran

I’ve enjoyed science fiction ever since I discovered Robert Heinlein’s Space Cadet in sixth grade. Okay, I admit it, that was 1963. But how did I end up writing it?

I wrote devotions for decades. Some were for free weekly papers, some for daily devotional magazines, and a few for book compilations. I also wrote a smattering of magazine articles. I never thought I’d write fiction.

Then a workshop leader challenged me to “write what I read.” So I started on a science fiction novel for young adults, similar in tone to Heinlein’s juvenile novels.

Several years later, my critique partners asked why I wasn’t writing adult science fiction. I told them because YA fiction was shorter and it always used only one POV (not true, by the way). But another reason was that I’d read a lot of top-notch, award-winning sci-fi authors. I know I wasn’t up to their level. The challenge frightened me.

But that’s what God told me to write, so I started on what became Dark Biology.

Now, I realize science fiction is an acquired taste. People who enjoy the genre seem to be in the minority. So if you don’t read (or horrors, don’t like) science fiction stories, why should you?

Because a story is a story. It involves characters and a plot. The rest is secondary.

No matter how exotic the setting, you still have human (and sometimes nonhuman) characters with conflicts, triumphs, and tragedies. The author still needs to put those characters into a series of events that result in a satisfying climax.

I have a scientific bent, although I never went further than a few courses in college. I never enjoyed history. I’m more likely to pick up a sci-fi novel than an historical one. I still want characters I care about and a plot that entertains. Good writing trumps genre.

Renowned vaccinologist "Hildi" Hildebrandt has set her sights on beating her brother to a Nobel Prize, and the opportunity to conduct experiments on the International Space Station might just provide the means to obtain that goal. Chet Hildebrandt should have had that opportunity. But now he'll teach a lesson to them all: his hot-shot astronaut sister, his philandering hypocritical father, and the CDC for not properly appreciating his work. One vial of a virus purloined from the CDC labs and released at his father's marriage seminar should do the trick, without hurting anybody. After all, it's only a mild influenza strain...Or is it?

Question: Time to chime in. Do we have any science fiction fans? Any favorite Sci-Fi books, TV shows or films?


  1. I like science fiction, Bonnie. Actually this book has caught my attention on several occasions. I'll try to check it out.

  2. Welcome, Bonnie!

    I like a bit of science fiction, too. (Right now, I'm a bit addicted to Dr. Who.) What a venue to get interesting themes out there!

  3. Thanks, Dina and Barbara. Some people, like me, read primarily science fiction and fantasy. In much of it in the secular market, either the author ignores religion completely or makes up his own. We have a message to tell, and storytelling is often the best way to do it.

  4. hi bonnie
    I LOVE science fiction!!!! I've always sort of felt guilty about it because I got the impression that church powers-that-be frowned upon the genre. Personally, I think the genre would be a great way to introduce people to Christ and Christianity since I feel most sci-fi is parable-like.

    will have to check out your work. Thanks Inkies for introducing me to another author!

  5. oh and p.s.

    i've always liked Asimov, Orson Scott Card, and Anne MCCaffrey.

  6. Great to see you here, Bonnie! Yep, I'm a big Sci-Fi fan :) Ray Bradbury is my favorite author in that genre. As for TV, my all time favorite is Stargate SG-1. I loved the interplay between the characters, and how they developed over time. Oh, and of course, the sadly short-lived Firefly. There was SOOOO much potential there!

  7. This is so above anything I could imagine writing. I'm in awe!

    Thanks for visiting the Inkwell Bonnie

  8. Glad to have you here, Bonnie!

    I don't read a lot of sci fi and fantasy, but I watch a lot of it. I'm a Star Trek NTG and Star Wars geek.

    I'll have to check out your book! Thanks for introducing us to Bonnie, Barb!

  9. Looks like we have quite a few sci-fi fans here!

  10. Deb h, I didn't really read any sci-fi until probably college because I wasn't allowed to. I wasn't even allowed to watch Star Trek or ET. As an adult I've mostly read Christian Sci-fi. I like Kathy Tyers and Karen Hancock.

  11. Welcome, Bonnie, fellow Pelican author! I'm not a sci-fi reader as a rule, but I do read some from time to time. I've enjoyed Ray Badbury, and a few of the different Star Trek authors. I look forward to reading your book. Thank you for visiting us today.

  12. I don't usually look for SciFi, but I'm not opposed to it. As you say, story is story. If it's well done, I'm all for it. I tend to lean more towards fantasy than SciFi. Your book sounds great. :)


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