I’m never-ever going to write another Sci-Fi story about Empires or Monarchs ever again. (Fantasy is okay, but not Science Fiction.) When I started Twin Stars I didn’t think for a second I was doing anything new or original, and in truth I wasn’t trying to be since I was focussed on writing a grand galactic Space Opera. Of which Stellar Empires are a standard element, and which I find a fun and romantic concept as much as the next guy. I’m quite fond of the Napoleonic era of Sea Warfare (Lucky Jack Aubrey for the win!) and so I accordingly modelled my setting loosely on that era as well- which I felt was at least a somewhat unexplored approach at the time since I didn’t see it much in the literature I was reading. (Mostly modern sci-fi.)
And then I began my current “survey of science-fiction literature”, in which I decided to start going back and reading the “classics” of science fiction both to understand the genre better and give myself more material to drawn from in my own work. (Both of which it’s helped in immensely.) And when I did this- what did I find?
I had to search NOT to find a sci-fi setting that wasn’t set in some kind of monarchy or empire! Even the Napoleonic approach has already been done TO DEATH.
Six solid months of reading about sci-fi empires has made me so sick of them I never want to read about another one in my life! (But I know I will, since I’m not done my survey yet…) And, I am most certainly never going to write about another one if I can avoid it! Can humanity never lose it’s past? One thing I will give Star Trek is that they were forward thinking, and as such tried to have a future setting where imperialists were the bad guy, and the enlightened were trying to make something better work.
Do you know how many other forms of government there are out there? LOTS! There are so many variations on the ways humanity can run it’s affairs, and yet we always seem to keep coming back to the ones from the past that we know didn’t work! Let’s see some future in our futures for once!