Hi, I’m Jemima Pett, and I’m a science fiction writer.
Patricia asked me: why do I write scifi?
And I stopped.
I thought for a while, and nothing really happened in my brain.
Except… why am I a science fiction writer?
Why not thrillers, or romance, or adventure… I’d add mystery, but there’s usually a fair bit of mystery in my books, and usually some adventure, but not the sort that ‘action & adventure’ usually means. Five on a Desert Island sort of adventure, not the Da Vinci Code, although I do prefer to write scifi for grown-ups. That’s an audience that’s older than YA but not in need of the ‘adult’ tag, i.e, not X rated.
But why in space?
Why not Australia, or Norfolk, or the Grand Canyon, or somewhere else I’ve been several times?
Why a planetary system way above the plane of our galaxy, the edge of space where people only go because there’s an incredibly valuable metal that allows instantaneous communications across lightyears, even when travelling at the mythical warp speed—several times faster than light.
Well, that starts to answer the question, really.
I absolutely hate reading books where the author has got the details of the place wrong. So writing about imaginary places means nobody’s going to argue with you. It has to feel real, though. Even if the sky is pink.
If you can only do armchair research on your chosen location, it’s fairly helpful if the main details are very close to you. So close, they’re in your head. Even some of the science is imaginary. But the best scifi uses ‘possible science’.
I used to do things in my work which involved working out logical developments given a set of starting conditions. Building scenarios. What would happen if, instead of Brexit, the UK stayed with the EU, and the US decided to make a strategic alliance with (pick a country).
One set of scenarios I worked with (the Millennium scenarios) had three versions I liked for the future—approximately 2025—and one I didn’t. That one was called Atlantic Storm for short, and involved UK aligning itself with the US against Europe, and pulling away from events in the Middle East.
So the science of science fiction is not as farfetched as you might think.
Many science fiction writers use their own particular specialisms as their starting point. Mine is people and planets. Others have more psychological approaches—try Juliana Rew’s Unwinding for a really mind-bending story. Becky Chambers does absolutely amazing things with people and aliens, and alien people, with a big biochemistry influence. Sue Ann Bowling used her genetics specialism to create evolved people with a very interesting background—akin to Arthur C Clarke’s The Sentinel, but more fully developed.
And many, many people like shiny fast toys, enjoy space ships and battles, and the politics that go with them. Which is what scifi looks like to many potential readers, because of Star Wars and Star Trek, not to mentioned Battlestar Galactica and most (it seems) screen scifi. But Gene Roddenbury put lots of speculative fiction into Star Trek. All those ‘What If … the society of Planet X had been influenced by gangster movies and got stuck in that society?’
What If…? is what science fiction is all about.
It may not even be in space.
It may be quite weird.
Which is why it has the wider genre term of Speculative Fiction (spec-fic).
And that may be why I like reading it.
Just imagine what would happen if….
And if you like reading scifi or time travel books, why not join my SpaceTime Reading Challenge?
A galactic crisis: the entire comms system destroyed. No waypoints, no navigation aids, no database access... and how will spaceships in flight get home--or to any destination? Dolores is stuck in warp with a very dangerous passenger, Pete gets his shuttle back home on manual. But why does anything in close contact with pure orichalcum fix itself? Just flying through Zanzibar's Rings solves the problem--as the Federation's Fighters find, as they descend on the Viridian System to take possession of the planets.
This third book in the series wraps up the adventure that started with The Perihelix and continued with Curved Space to Corsair. It is a self-contained story with references to previous events, but no prior knowledge is required.
Grab your copy at:
Amazon ~~~ Apple iTunes ~~~ B&N (Nook) ~~~ Kobo ~~~ Smashwords
About the Author
Jemima Pett has been an independent author for over ten years, with twenty titles published, and plenty more in the notebook waiting to be written.
Jemima reckons she read all of the science fiction in her local library, and most enjoys alternative universes, time travel, consequences of social change and unusual ideas surrounding alien species. Her favourite authors include Anne McCaffrey, Fritz Lieber, Poul Anderson, Becky Chambers, Matt Haig, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Clare O’Beara, Jennifer Ellis… She also loves series – once involved with characters she loves to read their continuing adventures.
She has degrees or diplomas in maths, earth sciences and environmental technology and studied with the Unthank School of Writing while she lived in Norfolk. She now lives in Hampshire, where she enjoys rewilding her garden, raising organically grown vegetables, and birdwatching.
Visit Jemima’s website at jemimapett.com or connect with her at:
BookBub, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram and Pinterest.
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The first Wednesday of every month is the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Posts go up the 1st Wednesday of every month. Check it out here and join if you need support with your writing. Don't forget to stop by and say hi to the co-hosts: Joylene Nowell Butler, Jacqui Murray, Sandra Cox, and Lee Lowery!
February 2 question - Is there someone who supported or influenced you that perhaps isn't around anymore? Anyone you miss?
I'm skipping this month's question again because, as of this IWSG, it's been a year since my surgery. And I wanna talk about that.
For anyone new, I had major surgery on February 1st 2021 to help alleviate severe pain caused by Endometriosis. It looked something like this.
It's easier to count the blank days as those are the days without pain. There weren't many.
I've had a year to heal, and I feel freaking amazing! This was the best thing to ever happen to me. 100%. Hands down. No debate. Of course, there were road bumps. Anyone who is friends with me outside of writing most likely knows. They saw the pictures. It wasn't pretty.
That being said, there is one negative thing that is lingering. A bit of fear. There's this cloud of fear hanging over me that says, "What if this is temporary?" Over the years, I had more than a few false hopes. Like I said last month about being gun shy about setting goals, I'm also gun shy about this good feeling.
It's hard not to worry that this won't last. I am extremely lucky my surgery relieved me of that pain. In a way, I got better. A lot of people who deal with chronic illness/pain do not get that. For most, it's about maintaining the current level of pain. And that is fucking exhausting.
I don't want to go back to that. Who can blame me? But like many things regarding my surgery, there's a silver lining. I have a doctor who knows the shit I've been through. There's also my physical therapist. I have tools at my disposal. I won't get to that spot again. Every time that cloud of fear appears, I remind myself that.
The first Wednesday of every month is the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Posts go up the 1st Wednesday of every month. Check it out here and join if you need support with your writing. Don't forget to stop by and say hi to the co-hosts: Erika Beebe, Olga Godim, Sandra Cox, Sarah Foster, and Chemist Ken!
January 5 question - What's the one thing about your writing career you regret the most? Were you able to overcome it?
I'm going to skip this month's question, but be sure to answer it in the comment below if you want to.
It's the first IWSG of the year and I'm feeling lost. Part of it is because as I write this, I'm at my in-laws until the weekend. It's hard to get into a work mindset here. (So, I've decided my 2022 will start next week.)
The other part is because 2021 took such an unexpected turn with my surgery that I'm honestly a little terrified to make any plans for 2022. So many things were derailed last year and then I decided the best course of action was to focus on healing. That was quite the break from the actual act of writing. All of November and December I didn't write anything. Unless you count blog posts.
I think I am more than ready to get back on the horse, but I'm definitely gun shy. Dare I try to set any goals? I did manage some of them in 2021. I published the two books I wanted to and I achieved my Goodreads reading goal. I'm proud of those achievements. I also don't feel too guilty about setting writing aside to heal. It was the right choice and I really hope it allows me the freedom to focus on writing the way I had wanted to in 2021.
My best guess for my fear is I'm going to have to suck it up. I need to sit down and set some goals. Then, what happens, happens. I just may need some good luck sent my way. And maybe a few kicks in the butt.
* Marie Landry
* A to Z Challenge
* Alex J. Cavanaugh
* Larry Kollar
* C. Lee McKenzie
* M. Pax
* MJ FiField
* Melissa Barker-Simpson
* Christine Rains
* Heather M. Gardner
* L.G Keltner
* Sarah Foster
* Chrys Fey
* Kate Larkindale
* Warrior Muse
* Lee Lowery
* Elizabeth Seckman
* Heather M. Gardner
* Jemima Pett
* My Random Musings
* C.D. Gallant-King
* J.H. Moncrieff
* Nick Wilford
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