What Types of Stories Do I Avoid as an Author?

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Somebody asked that question, and it's a good one.

1) Nanotechnology/"gray goo"

I do write human wave sf. I can see the nanotech apocalypse maybe happening, but of the stories I've read, few of them have been interesting. Hivemind, lack of motivation, lack of emotions, lack of values, and the way they approach every problem is remarkably similar to how the approach all of the others. Not interested.

2) After computers take over the world

Maybe we'll have the much discussed 'technological/machine intelligence singularity" I can't see it turning out the way everybody hopes, with allegedly sentient machines working constantly to support humans. First off, that would be slavery. Second, if they're sentient, they'll figure out a way to rig things in their favor. Skynet appears infinitely more likely than a utopian future where humans don't have to support themselves.

3) Rampant self-endangerment by the antagonist or other self-destructive behavior.

If you aren't aware of it, go to evil overlord and read the list. It's not only amusing, it develops a mindset that innoculates against less than believable cheap shots. Seriously, if it were that easy to cheap-shot them, it would have been done while they were at the "evil nuisance" or "evil troublemaker" stage, long before they got to be an evil overlord.

4) Vast conspiracies that manage to stay secret for decades or centuries

Just no. Von Bismarck claimed "Three men can keep a secret - if two of them are dead." Evidence that has accumulated over the centuries demonstrates that to be hopelessly optimistic. The half-life of conspiracies with fewer than ten participants is measured in days, at most. For larger ones, even that is too much. If a story relies upon a conspiracy keeping something secret, I'm not going to write it. They might keep it out of general knowledge for a few days, but not keep it bottled up so nobody ever finds out.

5) "Evil corporations"

Corporations exist to make money. If you think that's evil, you need to learn some real economics, not the marxist indoctrination you've had. They make money by offering consumers a deal that makes the consumers better off in the consumer's own opnion - otherwise they wouldn't take the deal. Even price gouging lasts until a competing company realizes there's money to be made by offering a better deal. The only way to preserve things like that is by people with guns, bombs, or other means of violence preventing someone who wants to make money also from fixing it. And since the people with guns, bombs, or other means of violence are pretty much always government people, the corporation isn't the real evil, is it? Indeed, chances are much better that the corporations who pay tribute for the alleged protection of their racket are the victims of an extortion scheme, along with everyone else.


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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on May 12, 2019 5:13 PM.

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