Science fiction and fantasy are like any other fictional mode: they're only as good as the presumptions brought to them.
Over the course of my life I've emigrated from one kind of imagination to another -- from just "making things up" to seeing what we have in front of us in a new way.
I don't particularly care if my SF is hard, soft, or mushy; I care whether or not I give a darn about who's in it and what happens.
On the presence of inarticulate, inexpressive prose -- "Engfish" -- in SF&F.
On cheating in a work of fantasy or SF.
What are people for in SF&F? To show us what's possible, and to show how that's possible right here, not just "out there somewhere."
Most fantasy stories never confront the idea that magic would have the social impact of the atomic bomb.
What do you do when you find yourself writing the kind of book you might take issue with if someone else wrote it?
On using Zen Buddhist notions of time in writing SF&F.
What Zen taught me about writing SF&F, part 1.
With every story set in a strange new world, give yourself as many individual elements of wonderful strangeness to draw on.
More notes on writing SF&F, as a Buddhist- and Zen-influenced author.
The job of a storyteller should not be to make things complex, but to find common threads in complex things. Doubly so in SF&F.
On the balance between a story with too many rules and not enough.
How science fiction and fantasy stories live and die by their technical details, for both better and worse.
Fantasy can be used as a distraction, but its job is to give us new ways to look at what's around us every day,
It is not required to substitute ugly things for lovely ones in the name of some spurious bid for truth.
And how we might be able to write about it.
Why SF&F have something to teach us even when it isn't "real".
Why I wasn't going to do post-apoc, or apoc-in-general, stories -- yes, even long before COVID-19 came along.
The point isn't to run away from what's around you, but to see something new despite it.
SF and fantasy both have shelf lives, but drastically different kinds.
What happens when we take a genre and remove everything from it that we'd label as being part of that genre?
No more superhero/wizard academies based on British boarding schools, please!
On how SF tries to imagine the future, and how that needs to be more than uplift or doomsaying.