So Why Do I Write Science Fiction?

So why do write science fiction? I ask.

That might catch you by surprise.

If you’ve read my work, particularly the serialized novels I am writing for Caleb and Linda Pirtle, you might be scratching your head.

One is set in Mississippi probably day before yesterday.


One is set in Germany, Poland, and the United States in 1938.

So what does that have to do with science fiction?


I have used my wild, vivid imagination to create all sorts of wild and imaginative pieces of tools and weapons and machinery that are virtually unbelievable.

In Wicked Little Lies, there are people talking on phones.

And the phones aren’t wired into anything.

They are running on cells.

And something called electricity keeps the homes lit at night.

And that borders on blasphemy.

And people actually get up enough nerve to crawl into strange metallic machines with a motor and four wheels and run madly like the wind from places to place.

And they dig fuel out of the ground.

And the fuel costs more than the gold in their rivers.

On more than one occasion, I’ve written about long, sleek, heavier than air flying machines that leave the ground and soar at shocking speeds across cities, countries, and continents.

People are on board.

And they are drinking Cokes and eating peanuts.

Lord, help me.

What is a Coke?

And why would anybody want to drink it?

Dredging out ideas so bold that they require readers to suspend belief when it’s virtually impossible to suspend that much belief, I write about computers and the Internet and digital books, which must have been devised by the devil himself. The concept is so wild it’s almost Frankensteinian. Mary Shelley would be proud.

Rifles fire like machine guns.

Pistols fire like machine guns.

I apologize. I’m ahead of myself.

What is a machine gun?

My stories are fraught with science fiction.

But you don’t write science fiction, you say.

Yes, I do, I say.

If you were reading my stories in 1853, they would all be classified as futuristic and science fiction.

The real world in 1853 would have never foreseen the real world of today, the world that exists around us, the world we take for granted.

In this rapidly changing and mind-bending era, by the time we read science fiction once and then a second time, the technology has become commonplace.

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  • Jack Durish

    I have been sitting on a science fiction story for many years now. Many? Maybe thirty. Why haven’t I written it yet? It’s daunting. The concept will only work if I get the words right and I need a lot more practice before I go there. It’s not the technology that is holding me up, it’s the people. They have to be a lot smarter than I am. How the hell do I pull that off?

    • Fake it. Do what the science fiction masters did. Make up new words. Make up new technology. Make up new worlds. My point is that I write science fiction if you read by stories in the 1850s. No one could imagine then what is happening now.

  • David L Atkinson

    Great blog Caleb, its spurring me on.

    • Today, once upon a time, was somebody’s future.

  • Interesting thoughts. Wonder how much of our current reality was first posited by Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, George Orwell? We do, indeed, create that reality, don’t we? Great post!

    • From what I understand, a lot of today’s technology was envisioned by the great science fiction writers of the past. I do know that Jules Verne set his rocket launch in the novel, “From the Earth to the Moon,” on the coast of Florida, only a few miles from where we ultimately launched rockets on Cape Canaveral.

  • So true. Sometimes I reach for a bit of everyday technology and stop to marvel. 100 years ago, this would have seemed like crazy science fiction. Maybe even just 20 years ago.

    • You are so correct. By the time I get new technology figured out, it’s obsolete and forgotten. It seems like, in either direction, we are a decade apart from antiques to science fiction. And I’m caught in the middle.

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