A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. It surely would, but would it be as popular? Names matter. Ask Bus Shelter from New Zealand or Ben Dover from Indiana, and have you heard of Urban Shocker, the ballplayer from the 1920’s? If he was around now he’d rule the school and then have no choice but to become a rock star. When I first heard the term Speculative Fiction it sounded like a bit of an oxymoron to me. Doesn’t all Fiction involve speculation? Speculative Fiction is the current all-encompassing term used for the more unusual types of Fiction. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Supernatural Fiction, I could go on and on but you have Wikipedia too, right? There can be no doubt though, that the genre I write in is a direct result of the verbal radiation shot through The Glitter Globe while working in the High Tech field for many years.
Being around Scientists as they speculate on weather control systems, or the physics of solar sails as a means of transportation in space, is interesting even for the technically illiterate such as myself. When such concepts bounce through my vicinity, The Glitter Globe sucks them in and there is no telling what will come out. Speculating on just how wrong (or right) these or similar concepts might go if put into action has entertained me for years.
One of my all time favorite paying jobs has been working at Engineering/Technical conferences. The Optical Fiber Conference – sounds dull? You have NO idea, it rocks. The SPIE Defense Symposium – which has nothing to do with spies (so don’t let the cool name mislead) but involves the Society for Photonics, Imaging, and Engineering. There were many other conferences too, involving electronics, robotics and lasers. And not once did anyone ever point at me and shout “There’s an English Major on Aisle CJ49087b! Shun the Non-Believer!” They might have, but I have chameleon-like blending skills (an intrinsic writer survival tool).
Sentenced to a week sitting at a booth in a football sized convention center surrounded by the minions of the scientific community is fodder for the spec fic (not a bad word, really) writer’s soul. Not to mention the limitless inspiration for building your novel's characters, but we will not go there. We will abstain from commenting on the world of pocket protector engineering types who invent the spectacular technology that surrounds us in the 21st Century. NOT because my husband or son is one, but because that is a whole other blog. Or possibly a book.