A solid percentage of the people I meet at conferences and workshops seem to working in the speculative fiction genre (aka fantasy or sci-fi). While the genre does offer some great storytelling opportunities, it is also pretty easy to fall into cliche. I stumbled onto a list of Stories We’ve Seen Too Often on the Strange Horizons site that seems like a very good place to check out before you commit to your next spec-fic project.
I especially liked #6:
Technology and/or modern life turn out to be soulless.
- Office life turns out to be soul-deadening, literally or metaphorically.
- All technology is shown to be soulless; in contrast, anything “natural” is by definition good. For example, living in a weather-controlled environment is bad, because it’s artificial, while dying of pneumonia is good, because it’s natural.
- In the future, all learning is soulless and electronic, until kid is exposed to ancient wisdom in the form of a book.
- In the future, everything is soulless and electronic, until protagonist (usually a kid) is exposed to ancient wisdom in the form of a wise old person who’s lived a non-electronic life.