Not So Run of the Mill Science Fiction
Have a story that stretches the boundaries of current Science Fiction? Is it unpredictable and fresh? Do you shy from the neat happy endings that are commonplace in today's fiction? C'mon in, lets share some links and compare notes!
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dreamshell

The whole vampire genre is better off dead, anyway. Everything is either a misinterpretation of Stoker's book or a bad Anne Rice rip-off where some dumb girl gets swept away by her Vampire In Shining Armor. *Gags*

--dreamshell--

5/31/2008 #31
MrBillyD

Hello dreamshell:

There is a lot more to vampire fiction than you think. Did you ever watch the TV series "Buffy: the Vampire Slayer"? The show was endlessly imaginative, and the cliches you mentioned were few and far between; and when they were used, a whole new spin was put on them.

I myself have many Buffy stories posted on the associate website, fanfiction .net; and they are full of surprises. I have one story titled "Some of God's People Got Fangs", which is full of new ideas, and as the title suggests, it challenges certain cliches. The story is kind of long. It takes me about an hour and a half to read, but if you have the time I welcome you to read it, and if you wish, let me know what you think.

I use the same penname "MrBillyD" on that website too.

6/2/2008 #32
Limited Edition

I love vampires, but it's true that the genre, I dare say, has more cliché stories than other genres. Which is really sad. I've found a few good books out there that aren't in line with Stoker's or Rice's. It's just a shame that people don't see the possibilities you have in the genre! They all use the same old mythology, the same old tired plot and the same old damn fricking sex fantasy. It's so very evident that all of those Vampire In Shining Armour stories are some girl's sex fantasy before she goes to bed, and when she daydreams her boring school day away. I just wish they would keep them for themselves, because frankly, they contribute nothing to the world, or the genre. Meyer came to their rescue, but alas it wasn't enough.

6/2/2008 #33
dreamshell

MBD;

Yeah, I watched Buffy. It was alright at the time, but that doesn't mean I found or find it particularly original or innovative. I just hadn't put much effort into developing my tastes then. The show was basically just a teen soap opera/action show mix. The endless back-and-forth between Buffy and Angel or Buffy and Riley or Buffy and Spike was lame and uninteresting. And she was unbearable as a character after the first season or two, anyway. Also, the stupid Whedonistic quips annoyed me to death.

LE;

What's so interesting about the genre to begin with? Or what's left of it, anyway. All the big issues, romance, guilt, dealing with immortality/hunger for blood, etc., have been done again and again. Also, the Meyer's stuff doesn't seem very impressive to me. More teen soap opera schlock in disguise.

Thanks for your help in giving "Vampire In Shining Armor" a bit of life, though. Maybe the phrase'll catch on. =D

--dreamshell--

6/2/2008 #34
Limited Edition

There's quite much left, it just requires fantasy, which most vampire writers don't have. The only thing that makes a vampire a vampire is blood sucking, the rest is up to you. What they do, how they look like, their personalities. It's as endless as any other character type, and who says they've gotta dwell over it?

Meyers stuff was my hope of getting rid of the rabid fangirls. Personally I think it's awful, the characters completely retarded, the plot cliché and there are so many things added to it on a whim that you wonder if the writer even has a brain to think with. I just don't get why it didn't stop the fangirls...it rather fueled them! I'm going to cry myself to sleep tonight.

6/2/2008 #35
dreamshell

But see, that's sorta my point. As you said, "the only thing that makes a vampire a vampire is blood sucking". But once you boil it down to that, what stories can you tell with a bloodsucker that, short of focusing on that habit, can't be centered around any other type of character?

So, even though all the clichés of the genre are lame, they're all it's got to work with. There's no interesting story to tell about a vampire that either A) doesn't fall into awful, stereotypical vamp fiction, or B) couldn't be altered to be about someone/something else without any vampire connections whatsoever.

--dreamshell--

6/2/2008 #36
Limited Edition

That is quite true for most of such fiction, but one can also use it to the advantage, or put in things that wouldn't work otherwise with the plot. I do see your point though.

6/2/2008 #37
MrBillyD

Hello dreamshell:

You say, "There's no interesting story to tell about a vampire that either A) doesn't fall into awful, stereotypical vamp fiction, or B) couldn't be altered to be about someone/something else without any vampire connections whatsoever."

You can say that about any and all types of fiction. Every kind of plot and character you can think of, was already a tired cliche when Shakesepere used them.

6/3/2008 #38
Monev11235
Really, MrBillyD? Never read any SF, have you?
6/3/2008 #39
dreamshell

MBD;

Eh, that's somewhat debatable, really. For instance, to back up Monev11235 above me with sci-fi; as new tech develops, so does the capacity to reflect on them in literature.

And actually, you've just done the classic attempt at equalizing the argument by taking my viewpoint and trying to defend the original subject by demeaning the entire scope of creative writing to, more or less, "rehashing" old ideas. Which, I'm sorry, is sorta flimsy to me.

Furthermore, I'd still love an example of vamp fiction that doesn't fall into one of the two groups I mentioned.

--dreamshell--

6/3/2008 #40
MrBillyD

Hello dreamshell:

I didn't make myself clear. I did not intend to demean the entire scope of creative writing. Even if there are no entirely new ideas, it's what you do with the ones you use, that counts. It all depends on the presentation. For instance, Frank Sinatra sang a lot of old songs, but what mattered was, that the way he performed them, made him one of the Biggest Stars in the World, for more than 50 years, even when many of those songs were older than him.

It's the same when it comes to writing, especially fan fiction. The basic ideas are not entirely original, but it's how you use them, that can make the story outstanding.

In regard to my own writing, I consider myself an entertainer, and my stories are my performances, but I'm not just singing and dancing in the rain, like everybody else. My stories are very distinct. "Some things familiar. Some things peculiar. Some things for everyone"; so read them and enjoy.

If you'd like to read vamp fiction that is different, you can go to my profile in fanfiction .net. I have a drabble titled, "Harmony's Complaint", that actually does challenge some of the vampire cliches. I also have an entry of about 1 thousand words, titled "Anyanka's Diatribe", in which the demon citizen expresses her political concerns. I think that's very original. I have no idea if anyone's done that before.

I'm not normally a political writer, and I have no idea how you'd react to the ideas expressed, but I think you'll enjoy the effort.

6/5/2008 #41
dreamshell

MBD;

Not to be rude, but no thanks. I've got zero interest in delving into vamp fiction. In fact, let's put this thread back on topic (that being "cliches, twists, and making things feel fresh") and not dilly-dally on bloodsuckers any longer. As far as being a Dead or Salvageable cliche, I'd definitely call them Dead.

EDIT: Also, check out this page on TV Tropes and you may be less-than-thrilled at the "spin" you can give vampires;

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OurVampiresAreDifferent

--dreamshell--

6/5/2008 . Edited 6/5/2008 #42
MrBillyD

Good morning dreamshell:

If you don't want to read anything about vampires any more , I understand completely. That's the same reason why our favorite restaurants hand us menus.

6/7/2008 #43
Monev11235

As far as FP is concerned, it's more like "That's why fast food places have their foods listed above the counter."

6/7/2008 #44
dreamshell

And much like fast food, most of the things you might "ingest" (i.e., read) on FP are undoubtedly bad for you. XD

--dreamshell--

6/7/2008 #45
MrBillyD

I'd prefer to stay with the comparison to a restaurant. Whatever you find on your plate in Friday's, takes much longer to prepare than anything you get at MacDonalds. So does every story that's posted on this website.

6/9/2008 #46
dreamshell

MBD, you wrote;

"I'd prefer to stay with the comparison to a restaurant. Whatever you find on your plate in Friday's, takes much longer to prepare than anything you get at MacDonalds. So does every story that's posted on this website."

Say what?

EDIT: Did they get rid of the quote option? That sucks. -_-

--dreamshell--

6/9/2008 . Edited 6/9/2008 #47
MrBillyD

Hello dreamshell:

What I meant was that I think you have a very cynical, snobbish attitude, that is no help to anyone. No matter what you think of the stories posted here, their writers all took a lot of time, thought and effort to produce them.

If you don't want to read certain types of stories, that's up to you; but that doesn't mean the stories are not well written. I also won't read stories concerning subject matter that doesn't interest me, but that doesn't mean they are poorly written, and if any stories are poorly written, the writers will improve as time goes on.

At its best, FictionPress .com and its associate website fanfiction .net are academies for writers, that charge no tuition. Here we learn to write, and hopefully help, encourage, and strengthen one another in the craft of writing. That is what everyone using these websites needs; not snobbish cynical dismissal.

6/10/2008 #48
Monev11235

*Snickers childishly at MrBillyD's unfounded optimism about the general quality of writing on FP*

6/10/2008 #49
dreamshell

MBD;

Whoa, what's all this judgment being thrown my way? I was just cracking wise on the caliber of much of the FictionPress writing. Obviously, you don't agree. That's cool. I mean, of course your standard and mine will be different, as well as the amount of writing we've both read on this site. In my time here, I've found that it is regularly a "diamond in the rough" situation. You have to mull throw a lot of hackneyed stuff, but the few rare gems you find are quite impressive.

If you want to look at it analytically, it's just a matter of how many people have access here. This site is free to anyone, from someone who's been writing since they could hold a pencil or type on a keyboard, to people who thought up an idea yesterday. Now, creatively speaking, are they in the right to experiment and expand themselves, using FictionPress as a medium? Certainly. But, purely based on the sheer volume of people who are on this site, you can't possibly claim that they're all equally talented. I mean, that's the whole reason talent is valuable at all; not everyone has it.

And as for it "being up to me" about what I read, no kidding. But excuse me for not being particularly gaga about the flow of bad poetry, cookie cutter coming of age stories, Anne Rice and Tolkien rip-offs, or embarrassingly soft sci-fi that this site has added to it everyday. Also, in reference to the time "well spent" that it takes for people to throw their stuff up, that's more a generalization or your own opinion than fact, really. Same with the thought that all of them (or even many) will be improved upon later.

Regarding your thoughts on the sites being here to "help, encourage, and strengthen one another in the craft of writing", that's, again, your opinion. Personally, I'm not interested in trying to encourage people unless I see legitimate ability in them which, for the most part, I don't. That's not to say I haven't found any such cases, though, as otherwise I'd probably not be here. As for those who make the effort to help the "lesser skilled", well, fine. It typically seems like coddling to me, but whatever. It's your time being wasted.

EDIT: And I'll grant you, MBD, that just because I may not like something doesn't mean it sucks. But that doesn't mean it's necessarily any good either. At some point, you just have to realize a lot of stuff you're gonna see up here is just plain awful.

--dreamshell--

6/10/2008 . Edited 6/10/2008 #50
MrBillyD

Hello dreamshell:

I totally agree with you.I'm just been babbling.That happens whenever I'm afflicted with writers' block.I get bored, start hanging out in the forums, where I begin babbling, and getting myself into trouble.I haven't been able to complete writing anything since the end of February, and that's very frustrating.

On top of that, I've also been having trouble with my home computer, which has been seriously malfunctioning for more than a week.The picture on my monitor has reconfigured itself, so that my workspace occupies only the bottom quarter of the screen and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to afford to have it repaired.I'm using the computers at my local library, but my time here is too limited for me to compose anything, even if I wasn't having writer's block.I apologize for offending you.

6/12/2008 #51
Alan Ball

I like the strange horizons list of 'things we've seen to often'

http://www.strangehorizons.com/guidelines/fiction-common.shtml

6/27/2008 #52
AccidentalSuicideBomber

That list is pretty good.

As far as things I'd personally like to see keel over and die, three big ones come to mind. Vampire/werewolf wars, genetically altered human/animal hybrids, and "Destined Saviour" stories. Less experienced authors should really look at what's already been put up on the site before they post their "Generic Adventure Story X: Now With B***, Prophecies and Androgynous Vampires!"

And now I'll share a recent experience:

I started reading a story that was at first very engaging, and had a budding romance that was bore a resemblance to cotton candy -i.e. sweet, fluffy, and enjoyable- . Then the author tried to steer the story towards a "plot twist at the end". All fine and good, if it weren't for the fact that the "surprise ending" was given away in chapter five. OF THIRTY SEVEN. I really don't see why they bothered with all the extraneous garbage about princesses, other planes of existence, chosen partners, "aura feeding", random gangs of pedophiles, and gender bending murderous psychos if they were just going to pair the same couples together anyway.

The story was supposed to be a school drama!

... And I honestly wish I was kidding.

7/8/2008 #53
Dragonsandpikminrock

Ummm, hi?

What's going on?

8/2/2008 #54
FreakierThanThou

?

Some science fiction cliches: A group, gang, crew, team, ect. that has three people (one woman) who falls for the hero, or five people (one or two women) who fall for the hero, fight over him, and then wind up with one woman (the prettier one) with the hero and the other either dead or with another main character. The extra male is laughed at by the audience.

Oooh, let's hunt and kill aliens! Honestly, that one just annoys me, because it's usually just an excuse for gratuitous violence with no blame on the characters, because after all, aliens are evil.

I totally agree on the black and white thing. (Funny thing, I thought at first that you were talking racially, I was confused. But I got it eventually) Real people have depth, why shouldn't fictional characters, who are supposed to be representations of real people, after all?

Here's a question: I'm writing a story about a character who turns out to be an alien without her knowledge. However, the entire plot is sort of a subplot to the character development, if you know what I mean. Basically, I'm focusing a lot more on characters than plot. Do you think the "she's human... no, wait, she's not" thing is too cliched to be salvageable, or if I take an original stance on it (looking at how her parents and friends deal with the news, the choices she has to make and makes differently, who she chooses to tell, rather than what suuperkewl suuperpwrs she has so she can pwn bad guys) could this work?

By the way, she has no superpowers, kewl or otherwise.

10/5/2008 #55
Darwin

See what happens when I neglect my forum. Guys...remember we are all entitled to opinions...and you know the old addage. Please, let not get nasty K?

There is a lot on FP that I will not even attempt to read, many more that I've attempted to read and couldn't get through, the gems are hard to get here but they are here...

And dreamshell...here I was hoping you'd give Only Half a chance...Heh...Guess that's out the window if Vamp lit isn't your thing! Sigh...an chance at all I could talk you into peeking? Snicker

Anyway...

[EDIT] Oops evidentially I didn't get to the end of the thread...snicker! Looks like we've already smoothed this one over...NM...moving on

10/26/2008 . Edited 10/26/2008 #56
Darwin

Uh...Guilty Guilty and guilty??

Snicker...No werewolves in my story...but there is a supernatural war...sorta...doesn't dwell on it though. The character has no need or desire to join either side - he's on his own agenda.

Mutations? Yep, got em...but that story is published and its sequel isn't on my profile at the moment.

Cyborgs? Yep got those too...but they are attempting to live normal lives...and other things keep forcing their secret out. Ones a doctor and the other is a - well not a mercenary - but for hire...heh.

No destined savior stories however, I don't like them either!

10/26/2008 #57
Jave Harron

Certain tropes can be a rather large category. I'm surprised no one's mentioned the site tvtropes.org yet. That website is sort of a wiki for various 'tropes,' cliches, and stylistic conventions. There's lists there of incidences where tropes are used, subverted, justified, or averted. It's pretty interesting to read.

10/30/2008 #58
dreamshell

Check the first page of this thread, Javers. ;)

10/30/2008 #59
Zeal of 1200BC

I don't know if what I have planned is cliche or not... It's really complicated, and I never write it down. Here's the giest of it:

It combines the "Aliens were the ancheint Gods and Goddesses" idea and the "Alien Time-Travel" concept. What happens is that the Earth's core is actually an alien research labratory. Inside is an alien AI. When the lab, which I've officialy dubbed the "Core Lab", is trapped inside the planet, the AI starts emitting a large magnetic feild that coincidently allows life to thrive (Thus explaining the Cambrian Explosion, if that's what it was). Here's the twist: a timeline already exists where the Earth is a barren rock. What happened was that the aliens lost contact with the lab and sent the AI back in time to save it. The experiment didn't seem to work to them because in sending the AI back they created a whole seperate flow of time that split at the point the ship with the TT device arrived in the past.

When Humans appeared, the AI activated again and sensed that they were intelligent. It (or she, if you count what it prefers to manifest itself as) projects itself to the surface and gave different advances to different groups: such as Law to the Babylonians and the wheel and fire to the ancheint Humans. These kick-started our scientific acheivments. The humans of the time recorded her apperences as the gods and goddesses.

I think I'll have the Dark Ages happen because the AI ran out of power. Without the gods and Goddesses to consult for leadership guidance, Rome eventually fell and little religious off shoots eventually took over.

So what do you think? Too complex?

2/16/2010 #60
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