Sunday, October 22, 2000

  Okay, so here is my first entry in my illustrious on-line journal. Woo hoo! I sure hope everyone has Copperplate Gothic Bold and other such font exotica installed, as I have made heavy use of them. Or that your browser picks a nice substitute. Other than that, I have tried to keep everything low-tech browser-wise. Once I get CGI scripts set up on Datacomm, I will probably automate this page and the stats some. 

   I had enough fun setting up this site that I bailed today so far on fiction writing. I wrote a scene of a new story on Friday, starring an interesting sort of symbiote named Amra, and my plan was to finish the story today. Well, maybe later. It's Simchat Torah and I'm going to synagogue tonight, but maybe after that. I have to be in Zürich at 9:30 for work tomorrow morning, though.

  Oh, I also critiqued Trey's Europa story. That was fun.

  One interesting thing about the Amra story is that it has no humans in it, only aliens, and the aliens are quite different from humans. Has anybody done this lately? Orson Scott Card says: "[T]his sort of story -- aliens but no humans -- is fairly rare in science fiction, and for good reason.  The presence of humans... gives the reader.... a frame of reference, a way to contrast the aliens with the humans and see exactly how the aliens are different and how this affects their society." How To Write Science Fiction And Fantasy, p.37

  Okay, but this doesn't seem like an insurmountable literary problem. And the benefits are considerable, since you can depict a truly alien society without having to schlepp humans out into space, avoiding all the hoary clichés of space colonization, exploration and imperialism (the FTL exploration fleet, gak, the cryogenic colony ships, yawn). So why don't more people do this? The only all-alien classic sf stories I can think of are the ones where  the aliens are, for all practical purposes, human (The Dispossessed, Nightfall). Can anyone help me out with references here?