Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Nancy Kress and Hard Science Fiction

Beggar's in SpainSF Canada interviews Nancy Kress about her writing and her thoughts on science fiction. Kress often bases her stories on the biological sciences, most notably her Hugo and Nebula Award-winning novella, Beggars in Spain. In the interview, Kress explains that researching the science is part of her creative process:
I usually start with a character in my mind. But sometimes, if the story is a very “hard” science fiction story, I will do the research first, because I’m not trained as a scientist and so, with a topic such as mutated viruses, I have to work very hard to make the story seem credible—and I do work very hard to make it creditable.
I find Kress's stories particularly interesting because she not only describes plausible scientific and technological advances, but she also looks at the possible consequences of those advances. And that is her intent:
Genetic engineering and what is actually possible, physics and what is actually possible, interest me more and more. So much of my fiction these days has come to revolve around near-future scenarios and their possibilities. Except for a few scientists, we don’t really experience science directly until it affects our lives. Some of us are interested in the pure product, but unless we are scientists it doesn’t really change much about the way we think and behave. Einstein’s discoveries didn’t affect the lives of very many people until his theories were translated into nuclear power. But that has a great effect on our world. Most of us have to wait until pure science is translated into technology before it can have an effect on our lives. So yes, I still write SF from a sociological point of view, but I want to get the science right as well.
Kress has three books scheduled for release in 2008, including "an odd little book coming out from a very small press, that is sort of a medical thriller, although it still has a mutated plague in it." Read the whole interview for more (via SF Signal).

A taste of Kress's stories:
For more, check out the biology-themed science fiction by Nancy Kress @
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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the interview link. I've been a fan of Nancy Kress since I read The flowers of Aulit Prison in one of Gardner Dozois' anthologies.


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