Very happy to have Mark Laporta visiting today with a great article on the scif-fi genre and his experiences working within it to while writing his novel HEART OF EARTH.
The Freedom of Sci-fi and a HEART OF EARTH
It’s easy to come up with a page full of baloney about the wonders of sci-fi. You can get away with using words you barely understand, like “dystopia” or “genome." Fortunately, the word I associate with
sci-fi is “freedom,” the freedom to shuck off the gravity of everyday life—and hang out somewhere else.
My fascination with sci-fi started when I turned 13—the year I discovered that being a teenager was the worst punishment in the entire universe. Really. What greater torture is there, than feeling like a race horse who’s been saddled with a sense of impending doom?
No wonder my view of reality was constantly changing. There was what my friends saw, what my teachers saw, what my parents saw—and none of that ever synched up with what I saw in the stars at night. A unified concept of reality? Not on this Earth. But maybe, on a rational planet…
So it's no surprise to me now that when I wrote my upcoming YA novel HEART OF EARTH, I started with the idea of a guy whose concept of reality is about to change fast. The story centers on Ixdahan Daherek, a 17-year-old alien, whose punishment for selling classified intel is Life as a Human Teenager on Earth.
Using a transmog chamber, the Snaldrialoran authorities change Ixdahan from an eight-tentacled, liquid-methane-breathing cephalopod to a spazzed-out human kid on hormone overdrive. That’s a big shock, but Ixdahan’s troubles don’t really begin until his first day of American high school. Next thing you know the experience changes him again—as he comes to value the empathy of his human friend, Lena, over the snotty social scene he left behind.
What happens next is both the fate he deserves, and the fate he should only hope he has changed enough to stand up to. Looking back at my own fate, I see now what I couldn’t see back in the day. The changes I went through weren’t a punishment at all. They were, instead, a driving force—giving me the courage to make the most important discovery of my life:
You can purchase his novel here.