Posts by CN James

Why Sci-Fi? (Part 2)

In my last post, I established the cultural value of sci-fi. However, just because it has cultural value, does that mean it has literary value? In order to evaluate whether or not sci-fi/fantasy belongs in the larger category of literary fiction, we first need to define some terms. What makes literary fiction, well, literary? And what makes sci-fi/fantasy, sci-fi/fantasy? Literary fiction, I feel, is best described as a thought provoking work of art in book form. They are narratives that transcend time, genre, and resonate with ideas. At its best, literary fiction should be a learning experience, a spiritual experience,
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Why Sci-Fi?

As a genre, science fiction and its relatives (from horror, to fantasy, to dystopias) are by in large dismissed by the literary community. To me, to dismiss sci-fi and fantasy is to dismiss George Orwell (1984), Margaret Atwood (Handmaid’s Tale), Mary Shelly (Frankenstein), Bram Stoker (Dracula), Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels), and Beowulf, to name a few.  Recently, Pulitzer-Prize winning author, Michael Chabon wrote of his frustrations early in his writing career when his sci-fi flavored stories were dismissed and ridiculed.  On the surface, the literary community makes some good points. The otherworldly impossibilities are often times nothing more than imaginative
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Bone Machine Updated Synopsis!

The Libra Robotics and Cybernetics Corporation robots have done the impossible. War, poverty, and slavery are nearly extinct. Worldwide employment is at an all time high. And the new workers’ paradigm:  a four to six hour work day. The robots take care of the rest, acting as a personal substitute—like a clone, with all of your skills and abilities.  Nearly everyone can spend time with family, pursue artistic and athletic ventures, become entrepreneurs—or anything else they’d like to do. Everyone except those working for Libra Corp. Grayson Cornel doesn’t sleep much anymore. His life is in shambles. His father is
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Writing Interesting Characters

To kick off the writing section of my blog, I figured why not upload my take on what it takes to make a good, interesting character. What do readers want to know about the characters? 1. The basics. The characters should be directly affected by the events unfolding in the story, i. e. the plot. Their demeanor, the way they dress, act, and interact with others should all stem from three places: 1. What is happening to them in the story. 2. Their personality. 3. The internal conflict and how they are going about to resolve this conflict. 2. The
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Bone Machine coming soon to Nook!

The Libra Robotics and Cybernetics Corporation robots have done the impossible. War, poverty, and slavery are nearly extinct. Worldwide employment is at an all time high. And the new workers’ paradigm:  a four to six hour work day. The robots take care of the rest, acting as a personal substitute—like a clone, with all of your skills and abilities.  Nearly everyone can now spend time with family, pursue artistic and athletic ventures, become entrepreneurs—or anything else they’d like to do. Everyone except those working for Libra Corp. Grayson Cornel doesn’t sleep much anymore. His life is in shambles, and every
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What is ‘speculative fiction’?

Defining a genre often leads to muddled ramblings about what that genre should or shouldn’t be, and normally ends up leaving something important out in the process. That said, there are certain genres that are fairly clear cut. Romance, for example. If you are a romance novelist your readers expect all the joys and sorrows that come with the games of courtship and marriage. However, when it comes to other genres the definitions are unclear and confused. One genre label, which I personally subscribe to, that sadly falls into this unfortunate area of ambiguity is speculative fiction. So, and I
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NPR’s Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books

This list is the result of a poll conducted by NPR. Something like 60,000 people voted for these books, so it was interesting to see what made the list and where it placed. So let’s take a closer look at a few them. 1. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings The top stop will always be the most controversial by its very nature. And with a list like this one, there is bound to be talk. Should Lord of the Rings really be in the top spot? Personally, I wouldn’t have placed it here; however, I do understand its wide
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The Best and Worst Reboots/Remakes

The Best 1. Doctor Who This could have gone terribly wrong. There were rumors that the Doctor would be protecting the earth from a flying saucer. However, the show was saved by keeping it true to the original material, and by great writing and acting. Fun creative scripts have been at the heart of Doctor Who since the beginning, and this new version of the show continues that tradition. 2. G.I. Joe Renegades I was at the perfect age for the GI Joe: A Real American Hero cartoon in the 80’s, so as such I was skeptical when I watched
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