A lot of people think of Sci-Fi as space opera, adventures of supermen with aliens thrown in for good measure. That is not my scene.
As a young man, I was an avid reader of the genre and consumed novels by the ton. It is a habit that has lasted up until the present time, though I tend to dilute my Sci-Fi with a wide range of other fiction. My favourite Sci-Fi writers are people like Iain M Banks, Margaret Atwood, Philip Dick, Robert Sheckley, Kurt Vonnegutt Jnr and Arthur C Clarke; writers who wrote about social issues or human situations. 1984 and Brave New World are classic examples of brilliant Sci-Fi novels for me.
As a scientist (I am a biologist) I like my science to be based in reality. Looking into the future is always difficult. I think it was Arthur C Clarke who once said that superior technology is indistinguishable from magic. At present, there are barriers that make visiting other regions of the galaxy impossible. Light speed is too slow. The distances are too great. But perhaps with the advent of quantum physics, and theories such as the folding of linear space, future humans may be able to circumvent these problems.
Sci-Fi gives me a blank canvas of possibility. I am able to write about human beings, and the world we create for ourselves, in different settings and context. I can extrapolate and predict. I can investigate human nature and explore how we interact in different circumstances. I can travel back and forth in time, and space is no obstacle. So my novels usually have social, environmental and political elements and themes. I can also expound on science and philosophy in interesting ways and tackle some of the ultimate questions of life – purpose, reality and our place in the ecology of life. It is a world of possibility. There are very few limitations.
But at the heart of my writing is the human condition with all its emotions, thoughts and diverse behaviours.
Sci-Fi is a vehicle that presents me with a multihued palette to paint stories about people. Some of my people just happen to be aliens.
I write about the ideas that excite me.