SciFi Strangeness

I’d been meaning for a while to thank Jason Sanford for mentioning “The Scent of Their Arrival” as an example of a new trend in science fiction he terms “SciFi Strange.” As Jason explains:

“[A]t the heart of these stories is the basic strangeness, the basic uniqueness, the wide-eyed “gee-whiz” wonder and/or sense of horror which the golden age of SF displayed when it knocked upon the doors of reality back in the ’40s and ’50s. Except now this sense of awe is being told with the full range of writing styles and cultural understandings embraced by the New Wave movement of the ’70s. And where golden age SF writers dealt with a worldview which was white-bread and analog, SciFi Strange deals with an ever-changing scientific understanding of life and the universe–an understanding which is unnervingly close to being philosophical in nature.”

When I wrote “The Scent of Their Arrival” I was certainly trying to capture the pulpy feel of horrific 50’s science fiction and to delve into the mindset of aliens whose worldviews are divided along strict religious/secular lines. So I guess the story does meet Jason’s definition. Needless to say, I appreciated the shout-out given the great writers in whose company he placed me as explorers of SciFi Strange.

IZ #224 Speaking of Jason Sanford, I had the pleasure today of reading his terrific novella “Sublimation Angels,” which appears in the latest issue of Interzone. The world-building in this story is just topnotch. Set on a planet in an elliptical orbit with an atmosphere that freezes and thaws, its main characters are catacomb-dwelling humans overseen by AI’s in human form (“moms”) who are trying to make contact with the Aurals, intelligent alien balls of light with a mysterious agenda of their own. (And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.) You should definitely check it out!

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