Mar 242012

Hard sci-fi has a reputation for being almost exclusively about science and tech, with people only thrown in for context. I don’t buy it, and I don’t buy stories which take that approach. Unfortunately it’s a reputation reinforced by some authors who do embrace that idea and fill their stories with techno-overdrive. These authors meticulously plot out the wizardry of their science, then add people as filler, inserting cardboard cutouts as characters brought in as afterthoughts.

See the MartianSands bookstore page for submission guidelines to recommend books or submit short stories.

That isn’t good storytelling, and it isn’t good science fiction. Sci-fi is still about the human drama of confronting the new and the strange. In fact, you and I confront the new and the strange regularly in our real lives. Hard sci-fi extrapolates our present reality to what may lie ahead for us, be it 20 minutes into the future or centuries and even epochs beyond. Yes, there are variations like steampunk that put fantastical technical advances in the past, and the anywhen of time-travel stories. Science fiction covers a broad reach of storytelling, and hard sci-fi is a sub-genre. Yet it still is at the core of what science fiction is.

What I hope to do with MartianSands is focus on the hard sci-fi sub-genre, including the sale of stories within that sub-genre. This blog will cover areas related to plausible speculation of the near future in fiction and non-fiction, and I’ll post affiliate sales links on the bookstore pages for titles that generally meet the site’s focus. “Focus” is the key word, here. I am not declaring that hard sci-fi is the only good sci-fi. I’m not that foolish nor close minded. It’s not even the only sci-fi I like. But if I’m to keep MartianSands true to its goal of exploring “Life at the dawn of the 22nd century,” I have to keep the site focused. Continue reading »

Mar 042012
Playboy and LEGO in space

Two views of leisure in space came across the Martian Sands news feeds a couple of weeks back. One, reported on and a number of other news organizations, was the illustrated fantasy vision from Playboy and Virgin Galactic of the ultimate pleasure palace, or in this case wheel-shaped space station, going around the world more »