Thursday, January 8, 2009

Author James Van Pelt on Mars and other science fictional landscapes

Back in mid-December, author and English teacher James Van Pelt wrote an interesting essay entitled
The Day Job: Sense of Wonder, Writing Landscapes, and the Imaginative Muscle” for the blog The Fix: Short Fiction Review. In discussing the importance
of science fictional settings and landscapes, Van Pelt drew upon Kim Stanley Robinson’s novel Red Mars (1992) and Ray Bradbury’s classic The Martian Chronicles (1950).

Equally interesting is a short list of novels that are on Van Pelt’s bookshelf, above his laptop, because they have shaped his ideas about what constitutes outstanding story and outstanding writing. One of the books: Out of the Silent Planet (1938), by C. S. Lewis.
As Van Pelt notes, “This is the first of a trilogy, and they are all worth the time, but I liked this one best. Lewis's style has that pleasant formality that lends weight to the events. The first copy that I owned was printed in England, and the smell of the book has been associated with fine literature in my mind ever since.”

5 comments:

Jim Van Pelt said...

What a great idea for a blog! Mars is one of my favorite settings in fiction.

Colin P. Davies said...

I agree. I keep finding myself drawn back to writing about Mars. I was hooked as a kid by a combination of Bradbury and Bonestell.

Robert Kelly said...

For me the reason why Mars is the favorite setting of most futuristic novels is that after planet Earth, it's the next planet wherein people can survive.

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Paul said...

Jim, Colin and Robert: Thanks for the comments! Colin, I really enjoyed your new story, "The Certainty Principle."

Colin P. Davies said...

Thanks Paul. I appreciate it. I'm hoping it's the first Martian story with a Porsche.