Friday, August 29, 2008

Tasty paper in your future?

Speculative fiction can steal many pages out of the green movement. When imagining "what might be" as a context for stories, writers don't have to look much further than scientific finds on the environmental frontier. Especially for near-future fiction.

This thought is based on recommendations like this one: make your paper out of wheat. Yes, we may be able to truly save a tree by taking that surplus wheat and creating paper with it.

Although this is an interesting concept, the timing seems rather goofy. We are, after all, moving toward a paperless society.

Regardless of impact, handy references like can give some suggestive hints to the fiction scribes among us. If you're writing about the future -- or just like pondering it -- there's a plethora of handy references waiting for you in cyberspace.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Chabon and Gaiman

I recently picked up a couple of books that were on my reading list:

Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union
Neil Gaiman's American Gods.

Chabon deserves all the praises he received for his's an extremely good read. As I'm always a bit behind the critics, I can only add my own personal views...the sense of place was stark. Ask me to drive around this fictional Sitka and I'll be your well-versed cabbie. There wasn't laborious detail on the subject...just plenty of indicators and creative texture of place that made me feel like I knew this environment. It goes beyond Sitka in the book...hinterlands, outskirts, etc.

True confession: there is a passage that details travels in my book Darwin's Orphans that's familiar to what I'm describing. Only in my case, I rattled off the furtive travel moves of the antagonists in rapid succession. Chabon takes his time and layers on the details in proper doses. I learned much from his technique.

So, onto the next book. Before I began to read, I picked it up and scanned the cover and leading pages...praises from Michael Chabon for Neil Gaiman's novel. How serendipitous. "With Chabon's recommendation, this should be a good book," I thought. The outcome: it is a solid read. Even though Gaiman got my attention through Hollywood endeavors like Stardust.

Gaiman doesn't have personal nuances and relationship development down like Chabon does...but he tells a fun story. He creates a world of magical personas that makes you want to read more about his characters. I can see him creating a Hollywood franchise one day.

Check both of these books out if you haven't reading list references remain good advisors.