speculating

“So, what do you write?”

That fateful question. My blank stare.

“Uh . . .” Not off to a great start. “Well . . .” (When I’m at my most eloquent.) “Speculative fiction,” I blurt out. That usually stumps them; they don’t know what to think.

“That’s . . . ?” They nod, leaving the blank for me to fill, their expressions befitting facial contortionists.

“It’s a cross between sci-fi, horror, and fantasy.” Basically, that’s about it.

But truth be told, it’s a genre that’s been created for the plethora of writers such as myself who do not care enough about research to write hard science (dark matter, genetic engineering, interstellar space travel, etc.) and who would rather write What if? stories.

What if the only survivors of a nuclear apocalypse are mutants gifted with supernatural abilities? What if by traveling back through time, trying to save the world, a man actually destroys everything he ever loved? What if, in an alternate version of 1967, the only segregation that exists in post-Roswell America is between humans and aliens?

I enjoy writing pseudo-science fiction, but it’s not my only bag, baby. I have a few westerns and a couple cheesy crime dramas stashed away, a Princess Bride wannabe, and, recently, a chick-lit thriller complete with college freshwomen and a psychotic stalker who loves to quote just about every off-the-wall individual I have ever known.

“What is it that you write?”

Stories—short ones, just under 1,000 words; longer ones, close to 150,000—about people I hope readers can relate to in situations and settings most of us will probably (hopefully) never find ourselves. Speculative fiction. What if tales that force my characters to come to grips with who they really are. Facing fears, overcoming odds.

Without taking this life too seriously.