For each of us, fantasy is where belief runs out. It’s on the other side of the demarcation line from reality, that line in the sand between what we accept as real and what we don’t. In other words, it’s subjective. We each have our own levels of belief on a wide array of topics. We each have our own demarcation lines.
To me, the Khekarian Series is very much a work of science fiction. I base every aspect of my work on realism and on areas of the unknown we are still exploring – scientific theories, if you will. I study everything, my research is immense (and very enjoyable).
To me, fantasy means talking horses or sponge monsters that show the intelligence equal to our own and whiz around in spaceships they cannot possibly manipulate. I’m sorry, no matter how much a person may love it, reality just doesn’t happen like that. I enjoy realism too much to write that way, it has to be feasible (even if it challenges our acceptances – the glory of discovery is often the surprise it carries in).
While many may agree on my definition of fantasy, some people do not agree with my definition of science fiction. Primarily this is because I have included psychics (documented – pros and cons – down through the ages, and therefore real whether you agree with them or not), and the alien nature of my aliens 😀 because I have made one species multidimensional beings.
In this post, I cover both these aspects and tell you why I put them into my story.
There is conjecture that life is spread across a broader spectrum than just the physical plane. I find that as valid as thinking there are other planets elsewhere that have the same characteristics as our own and support life. To me, both are feasible and therefore acceptable.
So why are they there in my series? Why couldn’t I just leave them out and keep my science fiction “pure”?
Mainly I put these awkward aspects in to make the book(s) stand out from the crowd, but also there was logistical reasoning. The series requires that Sturn (Bad Guy) and Aleisha (Good Guy) lock fates. Short of going for a mushy falling-in-love scenario or outright sexual attraction and lust/rape domination, I couldn’t see why Sturn would want her with him. And why the heck would any of the Good Guys come to the rescue anyway? As I’ve said before, no one’s going to have a team-war over a pay dispute.
So… how about Aleisha offers something else to Sturn that can be useful to him? Well, what have you got when you’re 17 and a complete newbie? Right. Not much.
No joke, it took me a whole year to come up with the solution. The whole first book – and likely the entire Khekarian Series – almost ended up in the bin because I could not logically, feasibly tie these two characters together.
Sturn is royalty, out on his ear for offences against the Empire. That’s got to smart. He wants back in. If he has to do so sneakily, he will – there’s a lot of power waiting for him if he can just get back in the door. Aleisha with rather loose and untrained ability at psychic perception is the best he’s going to get. She’s not even the type of psychic he is after (being clairsentient rather than clairvoyant). So I haven’t made it easy on him.
Nor have I made it easy on Aleisha. In the story, I hit her with every objection a reader might have against psychics. Namely, just about every character who hears of her talent, says the same thing: “Some psychic, right? If she didn’t see them coming, she’s no psychic.”
I cover the objections. I deal with them, right there in the story.
In my own research, I have found that the scientists and scientifically-minded who dismiss psychic perception out of hand are usually not the ones who are studying it. There is a branch of science that does study psychic awareness quite seriously and even has evidence that such perception is indeed real [further down in the right margin, there’s a picture of a book on noetic science called “The Noetic Universe” with a link to Amazon, if you want to learn more. Just click on the picture of the book. Please note: I am not connected to the book or the author in any way, so I do not benefit from his sales].
Bottom line is, we’ve had psychics down through the ages and in all societies. They have come into and gone out of acceptance according to the politics and understanding of the times. That you might not like them or might not believe they can do what they claim, does not dispute that they have always been a part of history, and does not throw the story into the fantasy bracket. I see no reason to exclude psychics from the future, nor to assume acceptance won’t continue to swing in and out of fashion. Anyway, I wanted an interesting and unique reason for locking Aleisha and Sturn together and having them clash, as I said earlier.
Of course, no one is requested to believe this aspect of my work to enjoy the story. I might take such study seriously, but that doesn’t mean you have to. To me, psychic fits “realism” = science fiction. To you psychic might fit “load of bollocks” = fantasy. No problem.
Next. Multidimensionalism. Basically, I like it. 🙂
There might be other aspects to Thain that people object to – so I’ll cover them.
Thain being reptilian was decided for two reasons. The biggest was the realization that our mammalian species only came into being because the dinosaurs were knocked out of the running, giving little rodents and their ilk enough space and time to develop into quite a large branch of diverse mammalian creatures, including us. There was also a dinosaur that walked upright, had a large brain and had an opposable digit – like our thumb – the very thing that enable us to use tools. Had the calamity not occurred, that very creature might have continued to develop into humanoid form. Secondly, I’m heartily sick of (almost) every alien species out there being human (although, I exploit that, too, I confess).
The reason Thain is humanoid is likewise explained in the story itself, with Andrew (resident doctor) taking into account anthropogenic development.
The reason that he is of the etheric realm just makes it interesting and again different, and is entirely plausible given the ideas that come out of quantum physics, which has opened up marvelous mysteries for us and has a wonderful way of tripping us up over our preconceived notions of how the universe works. It hints at other dimensions and parallel worlds, other choices – indeed all choices – and potential for so much more than just the physical plane.
My own studies and experiences (experiences rigorously dissected, by the way, because I don’t like gullibility and I’m from a scientific upbringing that demands skepticism in all things), I have good reason to accept an etheric plane and its myriad of creatures. They sit very well in my definition of science fiction. Again, for you, you might prefer it called fantasy. Seriously, that’s fine, it merely marks a different delineation between your idea and my idea of what becomes fantasy.
Finally, if we want to be truly pedantic about it all, all science fiction would be fantasy because we don’t have those spaceships today, nor those alien worlds nor other oddities that populate science fiction. Energy guns, for instance, and how about teleport? What technology will do and what planets are out there – and a whole host of other issues – are currently no more than supposition.
Is it science fiction only when we like it, and fantasy when we don’t believe? Yes, I’d say so.
There’s a lot more in The Khekarian Series than psychics and multidimensionalism. There’s quite a lot of science and realism. Call it science fiction if you are comfortable with that (I do). Call it fantasy if you prefer and it makes you feel more comfortable. Call it science fiction/fantasy if you can’t make up your mind.
Whatever you call it, I’m happy. Enjoy the read.
Update: Added for clarity, taken from my response to Yuna in comments. Thanks, Yuna! 😀
It’s a tricky subject and a lot of people are sensitive to it. There are many taboos around anything strange or unknown (for all of us). On this sort of subject, taboos come from both sides – both on religious grounds and on scientific grounds – so it’s almost impossible to tread carefully. Someone is going to get upset.
The point is, although it sounds strange, I am neither talking anti-God nor anti-science. I very much feel our mysteries are part of our natural Universe and that we simply have yet to understand them. Just about everything we know today was once a mystery or outright impossible.
It is not my intention to change anyone’s mind on these matters, nor challenge anyone. I am merely pointing out what is acceptable in my universe and why I felt they could work in a (future) world where such things might be better understood.
Cheers again. 🙂