There’s a sentence, maybe apocryphal, attributed to the famous proto-scientist Archimedes: “Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the whole world.”; this is one of most cited sentence ever and the basic idea is clear: with the proper fulcrum and the right lever, even the biggest things can be moved.
Back in the ’90s, the Cyberpunk genre was the place to be for sci-fi lovers like me. Every fan got his/her own favorites and there was a lot of debate about the works of writers like Bruce Gibson and Pat Cadigan (not to mention a thousand others!). Dystopia was the name of the game and some sort of post-apocalyptic world was accepted as the most likely perspective of our near future.
Here we are, finally to discuss the main drive of this subgenre. The romance, the ever-complicated love story between the hero and some inhabitant of the new planet. It was and it is a pivotal key to the main plot and the source of too many similar subplots, usually motivated by the presence one or more rival. It is also the main factor directed to a larger audience, usually not attracted by sci-fi stories. In the canon, we have the hero, his/her love interest (usually an important member of a local society) and an antagonist (again, some local VIP); can we do anything against the canon? Or this part of the plot simply couldn’t be modified?
I know, using a hashtag for the title is a bit too much Twitter-friendly, but it’s also a good way to start a bit of discussion here. I’m totally fed up for the use of “TL;DR” in the social media scene and I figure that is the right time to rant a little about it. So, if you don’t like this kind of argument, it’s time to say goodbye.
One of the key moments in the genre is the arrival of the hero in the new planet; it’s a well-oiled plot device and gives way to a number of actions that will set the pace for the novel. After the arrival, our hero will need to quickly adapt to the new world and discover his/her role in the local society (start of the main quest). In the classic works of the genre, the journey is usually something worth a few lines of description and, optionally, some mumbo-jumbo in a pseudoscientific tone. The same happens for the return of the hero, where the mysterious phenomenon that connects Earth and the new planet is set to work backward – usually after a secondary quest dedicated to retrieving one or more useful objects to make it work.
There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of reasons for losing a political campaign even if every effort has been done and huge sums of money have been invested to achieve the result.
Look at this infographic, it’s quite simple to understand.
The comparison of the last three rounds of presidential elections is crystal clear. The Democrat’s number of voters is falling down like a brick. The enthusiasm of 2008, with the victory of Barack Obama, has been widely lost in 2012 and it’s gone with the wind this year.
Let’s say it out loud, the real deal in this genre is the new world. It has to be exotic, flashy, vivid and colorful, always a step further the expectations of the reader. Here we will find something that starts from the heroic fantasy and land somewhere between space opera and burlesque. Characters have to be excessive, any tree or animal ready and willing to attack humans, buildings and technologies have to be all over the top. In the classic version of the planetary romance, logic is something that has been swept under the carpet. So, time for something different. The new world has to be realistic, its ecology coherent, the biome should make sense.