October Question

In seeing that Solar Express is about to be published, I realized that I only see SF books by you every few years. Why don’t you write more science fiction?

Unfortunately, the answer is simple and boils down to two words — time and money. A good science fiction novel takes me more time and pays me considerably less than a good fantasy novel. Now, some people have said that, well, if I wrote more S.F., more people would buy it. What they have forgotten or never knew is that for the first twenty years of my publishing career, I wrote ONLY science fiction. I couldn’t afford to become a full-time writer until I started writing and publishing fantasy. Don’t get me wrong, I still love science fiction, which is why I continue to write it, but I can’t afford to write much more than I do, because I don’t want to take a drastic cut in income, especially not with the way the U.S. economy is teetering today.

12 thoughts on “October Question”

  1. Sam says:

    Reading this makes me wonder. Since I first started reading your books about 10 years ago now – my how time flies – I’ve often felt that your fantasy is the least fantasy-like that I’ve ever read. In that the magical systems deal almost entirely with the physical reality of the worlds you create. As a result for the most part I could buy your fantasy worlds being set in alternate universes with different laws of physics and being more science fiction than fantasy.

    Reading that science fiction was your preferred writing genre I now wonder if that has bled into the type of fantasy you write.

    1. I think it’s probably more my mindset. It’s not that I “prefer” one genre over the other, at least not in the way I write either, but I do believe that societies and universes/worlds have to be self-consistent and workable.

  2. Frank says:

    I quite agree with Sam. Your writing is very Sci-Fi-ish in that your explanations seem plausible with only a modicum of “reality suspension.” Also, your stories have the one quality that I believe all good (and great) writing has to have: character development that allows the reader to believe and relate to the characters.

    Movies share this need for good characters…it’s what (to me) separates movies like “Aliens” & “Tombstone” from being formulaic…those characters become “burned in” to your imagination.

    Your writing is like this to me. Your characters seem real and have texture and depth. I often wander into backstories that seem to creep in because the characters are “folks that I know” more than stiff cardboard cutout figures.

  3. Corwin says:

    I have noted several times that people have suggested you write an SF novel dealing with the conflict between the ‘rats’ and the ‘angels’. Perhaps this link between SF and Fantasy would assist sales since I believe that most of your Recluse readers would buy that book since it would almost be a pre-quell to the Recluse series.

    1. R. Hamilton. says:

      I would definitely buy something that (a) elaborated on the nature of the conflict (and why the later legends suggested that both sides were devastated), and (b) explained why the Rationalists showed up so well equipped – multiple ships and equipped as if to colonize – were they headed somewhere else (and perhaps drawn there as later, the angels may have been to restore balance), or did they know where they were going? and (c) there were apparently humans there even before them; where did those come from? That’s certainly not all the questions that aren’t answered (like the origin of Naclos, although a collective entity might somehow follow from the odd physics), but it’s enough to get on with, and as Corwin said, would be a sci-fi / fantasy link that might present other opportunities.

  4. Just want to say that I have read all ypor books but spellsinger books
    Maybe I will make another attemt
    but whenever I feel that no books is intresting I reread one of yours and on the go again
    I´ve read SF since Hamiltons Valhalla book about Norse gods was published
    Carry on
    thank you for many many good reading days

  5. Phil Pigg says:

    Sir Modesitt,
    I first discovered your work with Imager and consider it one of my favorite series. I recently discovered the Saga of Recluse and am completely obsessed with it. I noticed in the The White Order that Cerryl’s patrols reminded me alot of the style employed in the early Imager series. There is something about the internal struggle to be an effective patroller, yet fair to the people which really intrigues me. What would you say inspired this perspective?

    Also, what I find most fascinating about both series (I haven’t read any others, yet) is the emphasis on economics. Most fantasy series deal with treasure and the accumulation of wealth or power, but your series are more grounded in using the economic systems to better the world. I absolutely love it. What inspired that?

    1. I suspect being trained as an economist and then working in the field, followed by roughly twenty years in national politics in Washington, D.C., had a little bit to do with my economic concerns. Add to that a tour and a half in the Navy after college.

  6. alecia flores says:

    I just finished Solar Express, and I really liked it, but I think it will be less popular than some of your other SF books – it’s too realistic for those who want thrills, battles, and suspense in their reading diet. This book is a logical projection of what this world could be like in 100 years, and the environment, economics, media, politics, and technology, you describe are absolutely possible. Judging from the reviews I read on Amazon, I think that’s not as exciting to a lot of readers of SF. Personally, I enjoyed it and finished it in one sitting. One thing though, I think you meant ‘redounded’ and not ‘rebounded’ in the 1st sentence at the bottom of page 406

  7. Alain says:

    Ever think of doing a follow up to Rhenn’s Imagers Intrigue? Reading [again!] that now and had an idea for a story, but set many years after.

    SHAULT as the central character. Diestrya as another central character. Rhennthyl taking roles held by late Maitre Dichartyn or Maitre Dyana’s.

    Another war with Ferrum, or Caenen, Jariola, or more internal Solidarian stuff??

    I’m thinking a Duology.

    OR IT MIGHT [if the above’s too wonky] just be books about the “Reduction of Stakanar?”

    What do you think, sir?

    1. I actually have thought about books set after the ones about Rhenn, and I still may do them. I’ll just have to see. There are so many books I’d like to write, and less and less time.

  8. Lydia says:

    In my opinion your sci-fi is a more intense read. I think that may be because your perception of where our society is heading is harder to ignore in your sci-fi. Wen reading fantasy you can immerse yourself in the events and the world and push the perception of the human condition temporarily aside. I do find your sci-fi an incredibly worthwhile read . Also the quality of your fantasy work with how it engages me to think about that human condition has spoiled me for the work of many others.

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