Being an independent self-published author, I’ve always sought to find other independent authors to enjoy… supporting the fraternity, as it were. But from the very beginning, I’ve had a problem: I can’t find indie authors, like myself, writing the kind of SF novels that I write and enjoy. There must be some; I can’t be the only futurist SF writer, or the last futurist writer who’s still independent or self-published. Where are all my futurist SF writing homeys?
My writing is primarily a futurist’s type of fiction, taking a serious examination of where science and technology are taking us, or how it will impact us in the near and far future. Robots interacting with people… orbital habitats… the deepening environmental crisis… virtual reality and its impact on real life… making a living in a space-borne future… these are the kind of things I write, and the kind of subjects that interest me. And these are the kind of stories I seek out to read.
But it seems that when I search for independent self-published SF writers, what I almost always find are variations on Star Wars or Honor Harrington, those great sweeping war epics with evil aliens, massive battle armadas and planet-busting threats. A few books tend to be very John Carter, swashbuckling action with weird creatures and half-naked ladies abundant. Some are all Dune, overly-byzantine international politics masquerading as galactic politics, and stories centering around the Chosen One. And some are the vaguely-veiled Lady Chatterly In Space (or the even less-veiled 50 Shades In Space). And now, the latest thing in SF, alternate history and Steampunk, blending inventors, robots, antique-based technology, and, for some reason, zombies, into a strange mishmash of tarnished tropes designed to recall a Victorian ideal that never really existed.
Now, I’m not saying those story types are bad or anything; they’re just memes that I don’t get into. I like stories with more relate-able characters and more realistic situations, technology that may actually exist someday, and problems to be solved that aren’t too far from the problems we face today.
Books like Nathan Lowell’s Solar Clipper series, where a young man learns to make his way in freighting. Books like Jeff Garrity’s Mars Girl, a look at the future of mass-media framed around a Mars mission disaster. I want more of those kind of books. And sure, with some humor, some romance and sex, some melodrama… those always spice up a good meal. But I want to find them by indie self-publishers, not just the major publishers’ stuff. I know what the food is like at The Outback. I want to find the Fred’s Steak Houses that are cooking up their own phenomenal fare.
I wish someone would help me find them. Because, frankly, available search engines do a lousy job of it. Sure, they can find SF, but they don’t seem to be able to be able to differentiate between star wars, swashbuckling fantasy and serious SF. And they lean heavily towards the Outbacks, hiding all the Fred’s behind paid ad banners.So, help me out here. If you know the best way to search for these books, give a guy a clue. Point me to any authors you know of. Help a guy find a good book to read!