Hello everyone and welcome to Stoneforger’s den, my humble digital abode.
Before you gladly move on to the next author, I’d like to let you know about a few things.
My name, if you haven’t surmised it yet, is Vasileios Kalampakas. I’m a self-published author of science fiction and fantasy. You can rummage about the site in the “Books” section or check out my Amazon profile and see the works I’ve published so far.
There is a contest going on where you can have everything I’ve published before in PDF format. Ninety-nine winners will be picked at random from those who simply signup to the site and leave a comment. That’s all there is to it, really: just register, login, leave a comment (not a Facebook comment) and you’re eligible.
My take on speculative fiction is that basically, in one form or another, it’s a part of every little thing we invent with our minds. There is a Greek word for it: “mythopoeia”. That translates as “the process by which one creates a myth”, in this context myth being the story, the fable if you like.
Harkening back to the days were people spent their nights around the campfire, stories were usually a way to entertain and teach at the same time. Storytelling exemplified the transfer of ideas and experiences in the guise of a tale – it was particularly useful in shaping up the young individual and instilling certain role-models without being patronizing. The prolific, courageous hunter and the stoic, humble farmer. The wise old man and the brash youngsters. All are archetypal characters, well-known both in fiction and reality.
These were role models that existed because the tribe continued to exist in the ace of adversity. And that happened because those first primeval societies were made of among other kinds of people, real heroes, and stoic farmers that wouldn’t give up no matter what. In a very basic way, in the way a book or a play creates a fantasy world the audience can inhabit for a while, it was those stories that shaped the peoples’ outline of reality. They wanted to believe that they could kill the bear single-handed. They wanted to believe they’d make it through the winter. Because they had heard the stories as little children.
Evolving along with the culture, storytelling advanced into the higher aspects of human existence: they why, not the how. Still decidedly unsolvable a question, asking it always yields different and quite interesting responses. Why do we exist, why does the universe exist? Why do beers and sausages come in six-packs?
The woes of our modern societies might seem a lot different than the old days, but they are still, at their core, just a different take on survival. The skill-set and the environment have changed, but survival, however far technology has progressed, is still the main issue, the main driving force behind a person.
It’s not just the developing, or under-developed countries, where survival is back to the basic food, water and shelter problem. Even in what we’ve come to call the developed world, survival is a constant race against time and money. The various diseases, the fast way of life, anxiety, financial uncertainty. It might be that for some people or that in some countries, basic human survival is guaranteed by the state. But we’re nowhere near that post-scarce society when it comes to mankind as a whole.
Where does that line of reasoning fit in? Storytelling was part of a mechanism that contributed to the survival of the species. Speculative fiction, may it be science fiction or fantasy, speculates: in spec-fic we try to create plausible scenarios usually beginning with situations that are unthinkable right now. It’s as if running a simulation on what might-be in the future or in a certain kind of hypothetical situation.
What if, machines had enslaved us at some point in the future, when we’d grown lax, fat and content, and then we’d overthrown them? How would that change our belief system, our societies? (Frank Herbert’s Dune series)
What if, the shape of the future could be foreseen at large? It could be manipulated then, tuned and controlled. but by whom, to what end? And would that be right or wrong? Does the end, justify the means? (Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series)
I could go on and on about examples and how important speculative fiction is to the background thinking process of a society as a collective, but what I’m trying to mostly is, this is where it’s happening. These kinds of works of fiction is what makes us think forward. And thinking about things has brought this far. Now if we could all stick to the same page.. Imagine that..
I’ll leave you in the good company of my fellow authors!