Science Fiction Cereal - er, Serial!
Sorry, just fed the kids not too long ago, so I have breakfast on the brain still! I've been thinking more about the episodic novelette idea. I'm really fond of the concept, and thinking I'd like to do something science fiction with it. Why SF? Well, my other series is contemporary fantasy. So breaking up the work a bit sounds more fun.
But it's also because there's really not a lot of serial science fiction available out there right now. For years, we've had either Star Trek or Stargate or Babylon 5 or Battlestar Galactica or a host of other shows. And we're really in something of a lull for SF serial TV right now. I know there's a market for that sort of fiction (even if it has been mostly filled by video, in the past). Why not write it now?
I confess to personal reasons too. When Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis were cancelled, it left two major SF shows: Battlestar Galactica/Caprica, and Stargate: Universe. Now in the past, SF TV has always been fairly upbeat. The characters weren't perfect - they made mistakes. But their flaws were not crucial, and they always made an effort to improve, and worked hard to show the very best parts of human nature. In contrast, BSG and SG:U were much more focused on the darkest, dirtiest parts of humanity. The things we really don't like about ourselves - the pettiness, the greed, the lack of ethics, lack of caring for others, lack of honor and integrity. I had a very hard time, watching those shows, caring a whit about most of the cast because I couldn't empathize with people who were so fundamentally flawed.
Ever since realizing that, I've really, really wanted to write something which returned to the idea that at our core, people are good. From the Diary of Anne Frank - "in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart." And I do. So I'd like to write something which demonstrates that sense of decency at the core of people. A return to the morals of Star Trek Next Gen and SG-1, and something of a rebellion against this new "all of the heroes on our show are really scumsucking losers" trope.
So now I'm working on a vehicle for a SF series. ;) That's sometimes easier said than done. I want something near future, I think. Something that feels like its about *us*, not about some distant descendent's. I'm thinking about turning a spin on the old "lost spaceship from ages ago discovered" trope. Give it enough of a twist, and I think it's probably good for another round. Basically, I need some way to get folks out for brief exploratory jaunts and then come home again. Repeatedly. I think the mechanism matters less than the story themselves being fun and interesting...but it should still be something believable that doesn't sound like an echo of what's been done before.
The stories themselves will probably be somewhere in the 10k-15k range, maybe a touch more. I envision putting them up as ebooks for 99 cents, and then compiling a pack of them into larger volumes in ebook and print. Stories would be episodic, rather than true serial fiction - that is, each episode would have a new core story which started and resolved within that episode, but sometimes threads from older episodes would be picked up and carried into future ones. So you have the main story of each ebook, and then the story arc connecting them together.
Still brainstorming here. What do you think? Does the overall concept have merit? Sound like something you'd want to read? How would you do this?