by Kelly Meding
I was asked to talk a bit about what “contemporary SF” means, since SF (or science fictions) tends to be set in the future, and that’s an excellent question. Traditionally, yes, SF is set in the future, be it near or far-flung, and is heavily influenced by science. But contemporary storytelling has given us the chance to redefine genre boundaries and to create new subgenres within parent categories.
Subgenres such as superhero stories. Some folks might push superheroes under the Fantasy umbrella, rather than SF, but that’s kind of limiting. After all, alien stories are often considered SF, and Superman is an alien. Spiderman is bitten by a radioactive spider, and while the science there is arguably wonky, the effects of radiation have been their own small SF genre since the 1950’s (hello, Godzilla). And all of these stories are contemporary to their times.
My decision to call Oracle and Lazarus “contemporary SF” is because the stories are told in contemporary times, and the fantastical elements are couched in science. In researching how my characters would gain their extraordinary abilities, I looked into the pineal gland, and how some believe that by stimulating it, we can open our “third eye.” That is, we can develop our senses beyond what they are now. I loved that idea, and I based my characters’ powers on a science experiment that enhanced their pineal gland to the point of developing abilities such as telepathy and telekinesis. And by linking these powers to an actual organ in their brain, their powers are also, in turn, using the energy of their bodies to function. Over time, these powers could slowly, painfully, kill them.
And then there’s the computer science and technology behind the creation of a self-aware, functioning android prototype, but that’s an entirely different blog post.
Urban fantasy this is not. Even contemporary fantasy didn’t sound right, because while there are fantastical elements to the story, they are still scientific enough to maybe, one day be theoretically possible.
Or at least more possible than aliens landing on earth…but that’s just my opinion.
Do you agree with my definition of contemporary SF? What other works do you think could also be categorized this way?
Three Days to Dead, the first book in her Dreg City urban fantasy series, follows Evangeline Stone, a paranormal hunter who is resurrected into the body of a stranger and has only three days to solve her own murder and stop a war between the city's goblins and vampires. Additional books in the series, As Lie the Dead, Another Kind of Dead, and Wrong Side of Dead, are available in both digital format and mass market paperback from Bantam. Books five and six, Requiem for the Dead and The Night Before Dead, are published in digital and paperback by Smedge Press.
Beginning with Trance, Kelly's MetaWars series tells the story of the grown-up children of the world's slaughtered superheroes who receive their superpowers back after a mysterious fifteen-year absence, and who now face not only a fearful public, but also a vengeful villain who wants all of them dead. Trance and Changeling are available now in both digital format and mass market paperback from Pocket Books. Tempest and Chimera are available in digital format only via Pocket Star. All four books can also be purchased as a digital bundle.
Writing as Kelly Meade, her paranormal romance trilogy with Berkley Intermix features three shifter brothers and the women they come to love, starting with Black Rook, and continuing with Gray Bishop and White Knight.
Connect with Kelly: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Kelly's Newest Sci-Fi Goodie: Oracle
Unwilling to allow his achievement to become weaponized, Dean reaches out to a former Wilderness employee with the resources to help him steal Anthony and relocate them both to safety. He’s put into contact with the very secretive Nick and Olivia, who ask for one simple thing in return: trust us, no matter what you see or hear. Blind trust isn’t in Dean’s cautious nature, but he has no other choice.
For telekinetic Olivia, rescuing a fellow Psion from a life of imprisonment and experimentation is one of her favorite things. Being paid is nice, but she’ll do the job for free, if it means giving Wilderness the finger. When Olivia’s reclusive mentor solicits her and her telepathic partner Nick’s help in smuggling a very special Project out of Wilderness, they jump at the chance to infiltrate their former home and do some internal damage to the institute that created them.
With their combined knowledge of the facility, breaking Anthony out of Wilderness should have been easy—but Olivia learned a long time ago to never underestimate her enemies, or the lengths they’ll go to retrieve what’s theirs. And this time, the price for stealing the Project may be more than she’s willing to pay.
Available Here: Amazon