A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
It’s nearly ten years since I first started writing. Back then, I knew that I wanted to write fiction, but I was uncertain exactly what genre to choose. I was tempted by comedy, adventure, historical fiction, mystery, detective stories, fantasy and science fiction. I began writing with short stories and discovered something interesting. When I set out to write a perfectly standard general fiction story, fantastical elements would creep into it. I’d read so much fantasy and science fiction as a child that it kept seeping into everything I wrote.
When I moved on to writing longer pieces, the fantasy and science fiction dominated those as well. In August 2012, my first book was published. Earth Girl was a coming-of-age science fiction story, set in a future where interstellar portal travel has been invented, and aimed at both adult and young adult readers. I remember having a conversation with someone who said that I shouldn’t commit myself to producing sequels unless I would enjoy writing them. This was excellent advice. I can imagine nothing worse than having to force yourself to write more books when you didn’t enjoy it.
Fortunately, I did enjoy writing about Jarra and her future universe. It’s only five years since Earth Girl was published, but so much has happened since then that it feels far longer. I’ve completed the Earth Girl trilogy, added some short stories and novellas involving the same characters, and gone back in time to publish the first book set in an earlier century of the same future universe. I’ve also published two other books, Reaper and Telepath, each set on wildly different future Earths.
My books are all science fiction. As I said, when I first started writing, I was tempted by comedy, adventure, historical fiction, mystery, detective stories, and fantasy. I’ve no reason to regret not choosing those genres, because I can include elements of them in my science fiction books.
Science fiction characters can and should be as real as characters in any other genre, having their own dreams, hopes, regrets, loves and laughter. The central character of the Earth Girl trilogy, Jarra, is a 28th century archaeology student, so her passion for history features strongly in the books. When a class of 18-year-old students are crammed into a small accommodation dome with a very formal lecturer, there are plenty of funny moments. Excavating the dangerous ruins of New York is an adventure in itself, but leads to far bigger events that change the future of Earth itself.
Many books cross the borderline between science fiction and fantasy. Reaper and Telepath are definitely both science fiction, but have some elements of fantasy. Reaper because it is partially set in the virtual worlds of a computer game. Telepath because, as you’ve probably guessed, its main character is a telepath. Between them, the two books cover my hankerings for mystery and detective stories. Reaper has my characters chasing a bomber. Telepath has my main character trying to hunt down criminals before they commit their crimes.
I can have the fun of including elements of other genres in my stories, but for me the real joy of writing science fiction is the infinite possible worlds. I can create any situation I want, give my characters the challenges of any possible future society, and set the story against the most amazing scenery. In the Earth Girl trilogy, Jarra spends time in such contrasting settings as the blackened ruins of New York, and a luxury hotel on top of Everest. In Reaper, Jex and Hawk explore virtual worlds with flying horses and castles in the air. In Telepath, Amber protects the citizens of a vast, underground city.
I chose to write science fiction with Earth Girl. I choose to keep writing science fiction with every book I write, because the only restriction on my stories is the limit of my own imagination.
Janet Edwards is the author of the Earth Girl science fiction trilogy (Earth Girl, Earth Star, and Earth Flight), as well as Telepath, Reaper, and Scavenger Alliance. Earth Girl was voted an American Library Association Teens’ Top Ten Title. Find out more about Janet and her books at www.janetedwards.com