Monday, 1 March 2021

Inspirations IX - A Personal Insight into Writing by Howard Gibbins

    When asked this question (in this case I was talking to myself as I'm the person that posts these things to the blog) I didn't get much of an answer. So I tried again, and eventually I began to figure out that it is life itself that inspires me. Not everything, thank goodness, but enough to keep me busy. The majority of my work has something of a science fiction element in it, but in some cases this is subtle. Part of the reason I choose this genre is so I have the freedom to extrapolate my ideas, and I'm not constrained by certain things. I am very interested in history, but don't really want to write about it at this point, however the intersection of science fiction and history is one thing that does interest me. For example if a time traveller goes back to the 1300s in Europe (or any other time for that matter) how are they able to survive as the Black Plague (mid 1300s), or better yet how do they stop from infecting the people wherever they go with our bugs?

    If I examine some of the various things that get me interested in a story it seems to come down to a couple of different things:

    My main influence likely stems from my training in anthropology, as well as my early readings of such authors as Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and others. It can probably be loosely classified futurism, as I'm interested in what would happen if a certain thing or things in today's world were to take place in the future (near or far)? Tangled in with this category is how would society as a whole, and individual cultures possibly be effected in a given amount of time if an certain event were to take place? In addition how would the cascade effect of a change (big or small) continue into the future (if it does).

    An example might be in order. What would happen if a space ship were to appear in orbit around earth? Well, if you believe the generic stuff from Hollywood, then everyone world wide would naturally assume we are being invaded, and would likely start shooting. If we avoid that however, how would we communicate with them? Could they breath the atmosphere on Earth, etc.

    How about another outcome looking at the the social aspects of the above scenario: If a ship of some kind were to appear in Earth orbit, this would pretty much automatically nullify a number of the contemporary religions that are practised in the world today, as they are geared toward humans being special.

    Additionally, I also like a good mystery, and really enjoy making the reader think about the story and what's going on. However, I believe in the traditional definition of science fiction, that generally says science fiction should be fiction that is based in science as we know it. This therefore pretty much guarantees that I won't ever be able to write a fantasy story (e.g., swords and sorcery) as I doubt I could make it even semi-believable.

    The other category is kind of a catch-all as it encompasses things that a person or more typically that people as a group do, but I can't fathom why they do it. Now I'm not talking about things they know how to do because they were trained to do them, after all I'd love to know what's it's like to fly a jet fighter, but I'm a little old to be enlisting in the airforce. So to make this a little clearer: Why do a certain groups of people (size seems to be irrelevant) do or believe certain things. For example: dinosaurs are not real (yes, that is in the present tense for a reason, as all birds are dinosaurs), deny that evolution happened, believe the world is flat, that it's only 6000 years old, we are alone in the universe, that aliens built the pyramids, etc, ad nauseam.

    When I look at this topic broadly it guess it is safe to say I'm interested in people, as well as society and culture, how these things influence people, and how they react to them, and what could/would have been the consequences if they had reacted differently.

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