Admittedly I came to this blog post with a preconceived notion of sci-fi. The gist of which is that sci-fi is reliant on extrapolated scientific theories to tell the story. Even if it’s really bad speculative science it is science that is the catalyst for the fiction.
Space opera, once considered a pejorative term (and maybe still is in some circles), is a sub genre of sci-fi. While taking place in space, it does not heavily rely on speculative science. Meaning, the story could be told without reference to, or use of, science.
The distinction in application is rarely clear cut. I would say that Star Trek leans strongly toward sci-fi, whereas Battle Star Galactic (especially the first iteration) is more of a space opera. Not intending to ruffle feathers, my reason for providing examples is to give a baseline to my assertion that Alexandra Forever, though a galactic epic, is more space opera [Foot Note 2] then sci-fi.
However, I did take solace in the frontiers of real-world science when I began writing the epic. It is odd the things that bother me. The general depiction of people of the future is a case in point. It always struck me as peculiar, and statistically extremely unlikely, that they would be predominately white, fit and in their mid-thirties. For the sake of transparency I am white – so, one out of the three. This was something Steve and I attempted to address in making the graphic novel. We’re getting there.
Anyway, back to my solace in science and how it applies to the graphic novel. Two things did concern me, travelling the vast distances of space and communication across the vast distances of space. Keeping in mind that the Alexandra Forever project actually started in 2010 [Foot Note 1], and though the now famous warp formula was known at the time (published in 1994), it wasn’t until 2012, that achieving warp actually seemed feasible. In my mind that was enough of a footing. There will be warp someday. I’ve included a link, if you’re interested, on the background of the warp formula and NASA’s research: [LINK]
The other issue, communication across huge distances, I pieced together myself, only to subsequently discover that others had arrived at the same conclusion. Quantum Entanglement (you can Google the crap out of this topic) provides a means, or at least a theoretical platform, for instantaneous communication across the universe. This phenomenon is already embedded into some current day technology. (Another topic to Google the crap out of)
With all this back story there might be a temptation to say that Alexandra Forever is sci-fi. However, I’m sticking to my guns. It is definitely more of a space opera [Foot Note 2]. Technology is not integral to the story. The tale of Alexandra as a super heroine and goddess, the coven, the demon (Leviathan) and their entwined fate could have, without much tweaking, been told as a fantasy adventure where rudimentary, middle aged inspired, means or magic explained how the characters get from here to there and can communicate at distance.
I haven’t yet, and probably won’t, really delve too deeply into my more science based mussing behind some of the everyday mechanics of the Alexandra Forever universe – but for now, at least, you’ll know that they are there.
Foot Note 1
2010 was the publication year of “Pairs”, a 300+ page novel where Alexandra is first introduced. That book took two years to write. This puts the start of the project in 2008. We lost about a year-and-half in production hiccups during the 7 years that brought us to this point. If you’re interest in reading “Pairs” it’s available for sale as a download off this site or you can buy it at Amazon.com (hardcopy/paperback/Kindle)
Foot Note 2
This doesn’t mean that I won’t continue using ‘sci-fi’ as a meta tag on my posts. I like to keep an open mind after all.