A word of thanks and some thoughts on the genre

by E. K. A.

Aspiring author here. This site has been an absolute delight to read through. Thanks for taking the time to make it. It's great to see others out there share this particular fixation of mine. I realized recently that a clear majority of the writing projects I've tried to create have some degree of influence from my long-standing desire to see modern sci-fi do more with the Solar System. Personally, it's always been a dream of mine to write a setting that's sort of what I suppose you'd call GO-RSS, that is, one based on modern planetology, but with the style of classic sci-fi, with intelligent, possibly even humanoid life on most of the worlds, justified with just enough science and handwaving to function as soft sci-fi.
In a way, I feel like we're kind of living through a renaissance for this, at least as far as the science goes. As a child, I liked to imagine life on a world like Pluto, and was always told it was impossible. Now Pluto is considered among the better candidates for life in the Solar System. And over the past few years, we've learned that the Moon had multiple habitable phases, that Venus had oceans for a shockingly long time, that Mars had liquid water remarkably recently, that Mercury had a habitable phase, that Enceladus has oceans, that Titan has both water and hydrocarbon hydrospheres, that much of the Outer Solar System is hiding subterranean oceans, that Pluto has one and, in the past, had a thick atmosphere with a nitrogen hydrosphere, and, of course, that Planet X is most likely real, after a fashion. It seems to me that the time is ripe for classic sci-fi to have a rebirth.
I will definitely be following this site, and will hopefully one day make content that is worthy of discussion here. A couple of points, before I close:

1. Are you aware of Ray Cummings' Mercury novellas? I haven't read any of them in full, but I was surprised not to see them mentioned at all on the Mercury page.

2. This may well be a lost cause, as the intersection of two niche interests is an incredibly difficult thing to locate (and the fact that this is a genre that lends itself to nostalgia probably makes it trickier), but since representation matters to me, I have to ask, do you know of any NOSS literature with meaningful queer representation? I'm guessing I'm going to have to write it myself, but again, I had to ask. (My perfect book might very well be something in the style of A Princess of Mars, but with a lesbian protagonist.) Honestly, though, I'm open to anything from NOSS to relatively light RSS, as long as it fits the general theme. Not expecting results, but I thought it worth opening up the discussion.

{Z: Thanks E.K.A. for your appreciation. I was particularly interested in your mentioning that Mercury had a habitable phase; that's a view I hadn't heard of. With regard to Ray Cummings' Mercury novels: I believe I have both of them but was very disappointed in them, so much so that I never finished them; they seemed to lack a sense of proper respect for the theme. They seemed - "trite", I suppose is the word.

I get the same feeling with Stanton Coblenz' "The Moon People". One just doesn't feel transported. Emotional realism isn't there.

However, thinking about it, I realize the Cummings Mercury should be mentioned on the Mercury page. I need to do something about that.

With regard to the niche you mention, I suggest you go to the "current serials" under On-Site Fiction on the navigation bar, and click on "The Twilight of Empires" by David England.}

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May 26, 2020
retraction re the Tama books
by: Zendexor

See the latest OSS Diary entry (26 May 2020). I'm enjoying my visit to the Ray Cummings Mercury after all.

May 24, 2020
Re: Mercury
by: E. K. A.

Thanks. Yeah, the habitable Mercury thing was very recent. Still, I found it quite satisfying to hear about. It was never really Earthlike on the surface in the sense of Mars or Venus, unfortunately, but there is good evidence that it formerly had subterranean oceans that could have supported life, and I think that's a great starting point for worldbuilding: https://earthsky.org/space/mercury-habitability-chaotic-terrain-messenger-astrobiology

May 24, 2020
by: Dylan Jeninga

Welcome to the site! Always great to meet a friendly face!

I, too, feel the solar system is sorely underrepresented in science fiction, although I also have noticed something of a renaissance. One can hope it is representative of a general look toward the planets in real life!

Speaking of "representative", queer characters are one area we can admit the OSS sorely lacks. I have been meaning to write some, but in the past I have purposefully cut out details not relevant to the plot, thinking that the best way to write short fiction, and as I've yet to write anything revolving around a character's romantic life, it hasn't come up. I'm starting to think I should relax on that a bit, though, for the sake of character, so look for gays in the OSS in the future (at least from me).

The same-ness of many OSS heroes is perhaps the major failing of the subgenre to date. If the OSS continues to revive, as I hope it will, then we may happily anticipate more diverse casts of characters as more diverse writers join the fray. After all, the beauty and color of the OSS is, as this site lays out so well, its greatest strength, and it would be strange indeed if this menagerie of worlds were not also inhabited with the menagerie of humankind.

And, of course, David England's stuff is good, and if you have anything you'd like to publish here, I can promise it will be read!

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