I finished “Space Troopers” by Robert Heinlein today. I’m sure I’ve read it before, as an adolescent as SF was one of my favorite genres, but if not, I’m glad I read it now. I liked the underlying philosophy of duty, honor, country, and the heroism of the uber-super-trooper. It’s written in first person through the eyes of a futuristic military soldier going through basic training and initial combat experience. It’s especially fun because this book was written in 1959, and RH had done graduate work in physics, so the technical aspects didn’t require much of a suspension of disbelief. It was fast-reading, with a lot of action, yet there was this buried philosophical monologue that frequently cropped up.
I’ve been on a reading binge lately, with a focus on genre fiction since I’d like to write something myself. Before I attended a SEAK writing conference a couple of weeks ago, I hadn’t bothered to pay much attention to the differential of literary fiction vs. genre fiction. I guess that my traditional idea of writing a first novel would have been in the genre of literary fiction, generally about a quasi-autobiographical, tortured primary character that progresses to a less-tortured state of personal and interpersonal/familial function (or dysfunction). However, I’ve decided that the structure and formula of genre fiction might be less stressful. Ironically, when I was laid up earlier in the summer I started writing genre fiction, but then switched to literary, not really appreciating the difference. Uh-oh, Sue just called–she’s on her way home, I’d better get busy look’in busy, like probably making a salad.