Monday, May 19, 2014

Guest blog: Patricia Green -Make it shiny

I am a member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade. If you aren't familiar with the Brigade, there is a link on my website. Check us out! This week, I have opened up my blog to fellow Brigader, Patricia Green.

Making it Shiny,
Earlier this year, I reclaimed my rights to three of my bestselling SF romance books. I plan to revise them over the course of the next two years. Although these books were set 150 or more years in the future, tech has changed enough to make me uncomfortable with the old stuff in these 10 year old books. For example, I set a colony on the moon Io (orbiting Jupiter). Thanks to some spiffy satellites, we now know that Io is extremely geologically unstable. Putting a domed colony there would be suicide. So out goes Io and in comes… I don’t know yet. I'll find out in June when I begin working on the rewrite.

The second and third books I'll be revising are a pair of serial novels. They portray a dystopian future, but in a hopeful way with an examination of virtual reality technology. With the advent of Google Glass and new virtual reality systems, the books are outdated and the tech needs to be "modernized." More accurately, the tech needs to catch up with the future. But am I wasting my time with all of this? What about these books made them bestsellers?

There are a lot of classic books set in the future, where some very talented and forward-thinking authors have prognosticated tech for the space age. Consider Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom series, which includes John Carter of Mars. These days, we know there are no men of any stripe on Mars, so his Green Men of Mars could never exist, except in our imaginations.

Updating classics to new tech tends to mess up the plots. Should we change Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, which, although we might consider it horror today, was really intended to be science fiction? We know now that reanimation of humans via electrical stimulus is impossible. There would be no way one could fit pieces of various humans together and come up with a cohesive whole. And yet, we do have transplants of a variety of organs and limbs today. Nevertheless, for current readers the idea of making a monster in the way of Frankenstein is so outlandish as to not be a wonder—unless the tech changes.

Do readers gloss over the old tech to enjoy the storyline of these classic books? I think they do, because these books are still popular. Robert Heinlein's books, for example, were bestsellers in their time, and remain bestsellers today. Their plots and characters are timeless, and that appears to be what readers want to focus on, rather than the technology.
I think the take-away from this is that, although many of us "small fry" authors believe that staying relevant in the marketplace requires updating tech in our older books, maybe that isn't so. Perhaps we should focus on the important aspects of our work—plot development, action, adventure, character growth—and not kill ourselves imagining the technology of the future. Write a good book, and they will come.

Here's some of Patricia's work:

Charlotte & the Pirate: Romantek Book 2 is my latest SF romance book. Another Romantek book, Eddie, My Love,  is due out May 30, 2014.

Blurb for Charlotte & the Pirate
Charlotte Darrell desperately needs to buy a Romantek dream vacation in the hope that their rejuvenation process can heal her horrid facial scar and restore her life back to what it was before her accident. But her virtual reality dream isn't all she expected.

Rex Boyd is a counter cyber-terrorism expert, working for Romantek. The company is aware that someone is trying to break into their operations and terrorize paying customers. Rex hopes to protect one of the most vulnerable, the rich and influential Marie Carthage.
Once in the dream, fighting the terrorist who has gotten access to Romantek's system, Rex finds the situation confounded by Charlotte's presence. Is she a paying customer like Marie, or is she part of the terrorist's network, there to do harm to Marie and start a firestorm of lawsuits that would bankrupt Romantek? And how will he ever reconcile his feelings for her with his suspicions?

Charlotte finds herself in love and in danger. The dream has become a nightmare, and there doesn't seem to be a path toward happiness.

Links to Charlotte & the Pirate:

Patricia Green is a full-time fiction writer specializing in erotic romance. She provides the reader with love stories that emphasize fun characters with quirky personalities. Patricia is the author of more than 20 published novels and novellas.
In her personal life, Patricia is married and the mother of twins. When she’s not being the angel of domestic harmony and a semi-crazed creator of fictional friends, she loves to read, crochet, knit and watch hockey and baseball.
Social Media:
You can reach Patricia Green in the following ways:
Email: pig (at) patriciagreenbooks (dot) com
Twitter: @PatriciaIGreen


Patricia Green said...

Thank you so much for having me here today, Kristina!

Greta said...

I wouldn't update your tech. If you look at the SF classics, so many of them are now dated, because of new discoveries, changes in society and the like. Asimov's idea of a home computer in the Foundation series is downright comical these days. Things like the internet didn't exist in his worlds. So many examples come to mind.

Move on my dear. Write your next masterpiece. In ten years time it will probably be wrong, too.

Patricia Green said...

Thank you, Greta. I've made the comparisons, too. The only problem is that I'm not Asimov. My stuff is mid-list, generally speaking, and I need all the snazzy gimmicks I can create. If I can draw people in with thoughtful and forward-thinking tech, I could conceivably steer them into reading one of my other 27 books.

In any case, my books need updating with current writing trends, new covers, fresh editing, etc., if I want them to sell again. I'm still on the fence about the tech, but comments like yours definitely help. Thank you!

Cara Bristol said...

What draws me to sci-fi romance is always the story and not the tech. Some scif is more fantasy than sci-fi, but if it is heavily science based, I think it needs to be accurate, but I wouldn't worry about updating. Our understanding of the world continues to grow--and there are a lot of contemporary novels that would need to be updated if one tried to stay current. Write your next one.

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