Hi all! The winners have been drawn and Fletcher is in the process of notifying them now. I’m not sure how they are divvying up the ebook/paperback split, so I’m not including the announcement here for fear I would announce it wrong. Because, you know, I’m me and that’s just the way I roll, a little wobbly and veering constantly to the left.
Anyway…Congratulations to the winners and thanks to Fletcher and Ylva for their generosity.
Excuse me while I have a SERIOUS fan-girl-sqee moment.
***pause for dramatic effect***
Now, let me explain my love for all things Fletcher. She’s amazing. No, really. AMAZING! Or, rather, her writing is. We’ve never met, I’ve only swooned from afar, so I can’t actually attest to her awesomeness. But I bet it’s awesome nonetheless.
And she has this awesome website: http://www.chroniclesofalsea.com/
You know what? Read her blog, and then buy her book, and then let me know how right I am. If you need further proof, check out her interview over at Cocktail Hour. BUT, before you run off to do that, I should tell you that her publisher, Ylva Publishing, is giving away FOUR FREAKING COPIES OF THE CAPHENON. FOUR! Two paperback, and two ebook. Leave a comment below and that’ll enter you in the drawing. I’ll pick the winner on Friday, March 27. And I promise not to draw my own name four times. That’s impossible anyway, since I’m not allowed to enter…
Yeah. So, good luck!
I don’t read science fiction, but I loved this book
by Fletcher DeLancey
My science fiction novel The Caphenon was released two weeks ago, and I’ve learned something interesting since then: many people think they don’t like science fiction. But if they’re asked, “Do you like books with great character development and emotional connections?”—then the answer is usually yes. Which means, they like good science fiction.
Science fiction and its sister genre, fantasy, both carry a reputation for being all about dressing rather than heart. Fantasy brings to mind dragons and wizards and shapeshifters, and if you’re not into those, why would you read it? But the Harry Potter series was fantasy. Millions of people who probably never thought of themselves as fantasy fans read it and loved it, because it was really about people.
By the same token, science fiction brings to mind spaceships and robots and massive laser-gun battles…but the original Alien was a tight, gripping psychological thriller in which we rooted for Ripley because she was smart and courageous, and she had to overcome the doubts of her coworkers, the evil machinations of her employer, and her own self-doubt to survive. Alien could have been called Ripley, because the movie was really all about her. It wasn’t about the spaceship she rode in on, or even about the alien.
Now, here’s where science fiction gets its bad rep. Alien had several sequels. Though the first sequel was not as good as the original, it was still decent science fiction—because it was still about Ripley and her transformation from a lonely, haunted woman who had no life to an adoptive mother willing to face down her greatest terror to save a little girl. But then came the other sequels. They stopped being about Ripley, or about any personal journey, and were instead about killing and/or developing monsters. Period. And that’s when they stopped being good science fiction. (Opinions may vary, of course.)
Good science fiction is about people. It’s about personal journeys, and making decisions—good or bad—and then having to pay the consequences for them. It’s about why people do what they do, and how they change and grow. Everything else, whether it’s ships, aliens, robots, or lightsaber battles, is just the framework that holds the personal story in place.
In good science fiction, that framework almost disappears—which is to say, its importance lies solely in how it supports the characters’ stories. In The Caphenon, the titular ship is not important because it’s a gee-whiz spaceship. It’s important because its arrival on the planet Alsea sets off a whole avalanche of politics, competing motivations, Machiavellian manipulations, love, betrayal, and a journey of revelation and growth that carries along not one, but three powerful women who find themselves on different sides of a conflict.
The presence of aliens in The Caphenon automatically puts it into the science fiction category, but how do you decide who the aliens are? The ship carries aliens who are revealed to be human…which means the Alseans must be alien. But to the Alseans, the humans are the aliens. Telling a story from both sides means everyone’s an alien—and they all have personal stories.
When you sell a book on Amazon, you’re limited in how you can keyword it. Is it science fiction or romance? Is it fantasy or mystery/thriller/suspense? Is it gay and lesbian, or is it literature and fiction?
Why do I have to choose? The Caphenon has a romantic subplot. (Its sequels, the two volumes of Without A Front, feature an epic romance front and center.) It has fantasy elements in the world of Alsea. It certainly has mystery, thrills, and suspense. It has both gay and lesbian relationships, and at the risk of sounding immodest, I consider it literature—at least, by my personal definition, which is “a story complex enough to reward multiple readings.”
But Amazon makes us choose, so we chose science fiction. It’s just a category. Don’t let it stop you from reading the book, because if you enjoy personal stories with a lot of emotion and character development, and some holy-cow plot twists thrown in, you’ll enjoy this.
And then, if I’ve done my job properly, you’ll say, “I don’t read science fiction, but I loved this book.”
Fletcher DeLancey spent her early career as a science educator, which was the perfect combination of her two great loves: language and science. These days she combines them while writing science fiction.
She is an Oregon expatriate who left her beloved state when she met a Portuguese woman and had to choose between home and heart. She chose heart. Now she lives with her wife and son in the beautiful Algarve, where she is still adapting to the glorious weather.
She is best known for her five-book Star Trek: Voyager fan fiction epic, The Past Imperfect Series, and for her geeky romance Mac vs. PC. Currently, she is working on the next books in the Chronicles of Alsea and as an editor for Ylva Publishing.