Monday, June 6, 2016

I Don't Do Aliens (Yet)

It's true. I'm a Science Fiction Romance author who doesn't have any true aliens in her stories. At least...not yet.

My LaGuardians, Rathskians, Purmians, Ithians, Carduwans, Tectolians and Parolians are all human subspecies--humans who've evolved certain traits that differentiate them from other populations. Not unlike races, but the environments of the planets they settled had as much to do with their differences as the gene pools their subspecies evolved from (which will get pretty muddied in our Near Future--according to my version of future history).

From reviews, I know that some of my readers have chosen to think of these subspecies as alien species, and really, I'm fine with that. To me, the fun of reading Science Fiction Romance is readers' license--creating unique worlds in your own imagination through your own perspectives.

Do you think the mental movie of Dragonriders of Pern looks the same in any two readers' minds? Probably not. (This may be why movies based on books can have such sharp lines drawn of liked it/didn't like. Sometimes actually seeing the characters and landscapes on screen is too far removed from what the individual imagined the story to be in their heads.)

But wait, you say. There's a problem with my theory. How can humans have evolved different traits in only 15 centuries? Doesn't it take millions of years for evolution to effect change?

As it turns out, maybe not. It seems our genes may be wired for rapid mutation under certain conditions. For the sake of speculative fiction, I made varying gravities, cloud-covered planets, low oxygen environments and other conditions factors that could mold humans into something a little different.

Where am I getting this "rapid evolution" data? I'll be the first to tell you my science fiction is based on a foundation of research and powered by a healthy dose of imagination. Most of the high tech we have today started with imagination, and I've never believed there is such a word as "impossible."

My world-building for the Inherited Stars series is based on the Protodog hypothesis. Some scientists believe that wolves evolved into dogs in just a generation or two, based on changes in their environment when they began scavenging in prehistoric garbage dumps--the castoffs of an emerging human civilization.

As they were captured and domesticated, their physical needs changed almost overnight. Their snouts shortened and became broader and they developed--either through natural means or selective breeding--an affinity for people. One scientist even attempted to prove his theories with modern foxes, which yielded some surprising results.

If you'd like to read past blogs that incorporated this subject, click on any of these links:

Protodog and Human Subspecies

Intro to Zjel Shenna: Mistress of Mayhem

So, it's true. I write science fiction romance and I don't do aliens. But never say never. There will, in fact, be aliens in the distant future of this series.

I'm working on a related novelette right now that's tentatively titled Silo 9 that takes place hundreds of years in the future of Inherit the Stars. (A side note. Unfortunately I had the basic plot idea and working title long before Hugh Howey's Silo franchise--Wool, etc.-- came along, but my agent suggested I "just own it." So I am, at least for the present. What the Silos are is a major factor in my series, and it has a far different meaning than those in the Silo stories.)

When my aliens finally do rear their insatiable heads, they'll be very alien indeed. And once they arrive, some of the mysteries laid out in the series just may be brought into sharper focus.

Have a great week!

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