Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Highlights from Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy by Crawford Killian ~ Part II

“An isolated society could be on an island or a remote mountain region that is very difficult to reach. It is often portrayed as the geographical equivalent of a womb, which may or may not be an agreeable place. Utopia, St. Thomas More tells us, resulted from the cutting of a canal across a phallic peninsula, creating a uteruslike island: all the major cities are on the shores of an inland sea, which travelers enter through a narrow an dangerous strait” (Killian 36).

“Bear in mind that literature gives us a chance to create two different kinds of world: the demonic world where everything is hostile to human needs and desires, and the paradisal world where everything serves and supports those needs and desires. Typically, the fantasy story begins in a paradise, though it may be an ironic one. At any rate, it’s some kind of stable society” (Killian 43).

“I suggest that you start with some kind of symbolic reason for the kind of world you want, whether in science fiction or fantasy – a world that is symbolically a paradise, changed to (or at least threatened by) a demonic world” (Killian 44). 

“Think also about some of the geographical conventions of science fiction – especially the womblike world, closed off from the outside” (Killian 44).

“No matter how bizarre your aliens or demons, they will ultimately be much like us; otherwise we wouldn't be interested in them” (Killian 44). 

“But remember that you’re not creating curiosities; you’re trying to evoke in your readers a wider, deeper sense of what is natural, not just what is weird or bizarre” (Killian 45).

“You may have more freedom to set the rules of such worlds, but they must make some kind of sense in human terms. And once you set your rules, you have to abide by them” (Killian 45).


Kilian, Crawford. Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy. U.S.A.: Self-Counsel, 1998. Print.

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