Monday, January 18, 2016

Monday Excerpt: Like a God

Now Playing: Hiroyuki Sawano - Titan♀~9chiku (Attack on Titan OST)


So I've talked about this before, but I'll say again: Brandon Sanderson's work got a lot of build-up for me. I used to obsessively watch his lectures on YouTube, always lamenting the fact that FSU never got a good speculative fiction author to teach a creative writing class for us sci-fi/fantasy newbies. (Also that not a single FSU professor I ever had encouraged us to write long narratives. Sanderson has his pupils write novellas. You learn a lot from short stories, but it's definitely a different beast than longer narratives).


I finally plunged into his writing with his YA series, The Reckoners. And I love the hell out of these books. The third, Calamity, comes out this year and I've been waiting for it eagerly. It's a great science fantasy story and you don't see a lot of that genre in recent books.

I've mentioned before I struggle with writing action. In these books, it's all very clear without being slow or tediously detailed. It's just endless fun.

A sleek black copter rose out of the gulley in front of us, and the rotary guns on its sides began to spin up. 
Not a chance, I thought, raising the gauss gun with both hands, sighting. Megan ducked lower and the cycle hit the edge of the gulley. The copter started firing. I could see the pilot's helmet through the glass of the cockpit. 
I took the shot. 
I'd often dreamed of doing incredible things. I'd imagined what it would be like to work with the Reckoners, to fight the Epics, to actually do things instead of sitting around thinking about them. With that shot, I finally got my chance. 
I hung in the air, staring down a hundred-ton death machine, and squeeze the trigger. I popped the copter's canopy dead on, vaporizing it and the pilot inside. For a moment I felt like the Epics must. Like a god. 
And then I fell out of the seat. 
I should have expected it--going into free fall in a twenty-foot ravine with both hands on my gun and none on my ride made it kind of inevitable. I won't say I was happy to find myself plummeting toward broken legs and probably worse. 
But that shot. . .That shot had been worth it. 
I didn't feel much of the fall. It happened so fast. I hit mere moments before realizing I'd lost my seat, and I heard a crunch. That was followed by a boom that deafened me, and that was followed by a wave of heat. 
I lay there, stunned, as my vision swam. I found myself facing the wreckage of the copter, which burned nearby.
- Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson.

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"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.