Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Back on the Blog Chain: Old Story, New Genre

Margie has a special challenge for us this round:

Pick a book or story and imagine it in a new genre. For example, what would Oliver Twist be like if it was a sci-fi novel. Would Fagin have been a robot? Do you prefer you[r] new creation or the original?

The speculative element is so important to science fiction and fantasy that it defines the genres; any story where you can remove the speculative element without significantly changing the story isn't SF or fantasy. So, naturally, I have to try it. I'm going to translate Anne McCaffery's Dragonflight into a Western. (The link is to a plot summary in case you're not familiar with the book.) Bear in mind I haven't read many Westerns....

Rancher's daughter Lisa is the last surviving heir to the Ruatha Ranch; the rest of her family was killed by the infamous outlaw Fox several years ago. Lisa survived by disguising herself as an old cook. She hopes her awful cooking will drive all the other ranchhands and Fox's henchmen away so she can reclaim the ranch.

After Fox is killed in a shootout by bounty hunter Fair, Fair convinces Lisa to give up her ranch to Fox's son so she can become a bounty hunter herself--if she can tame a golden mare. She does, and as her mare mates with Fair's stallion, so does Lisa with Fair.

So far, so good. But how to deal with Thread and time-traveling dragons? I would replace Thread with another natural nemesis, like wolves. No wolves have been seen in these parts in years, and while the bounty hunters know how to hunt them, there are too few of them. Lisa, who has special tracking skills, finds a group of bounty hunters hiding in the mountains and persuades them that they're needed. They come forth to vanquish the wolves.

Would I read this story? Probably not; Westerns aren't my genre of choice. I read fantasy and SF for a sense of wonder and to escape the ordinary. A Western might take me out of my ordinary world, but it wouldn't give me the sense of wonder I crave. I'll stick with McCaffery's version.

Kate was the first one to try this challenge, and Christine will take a turn tomorrow.

On an unrelated note, I received the cover for Twinned Universes last night and plan to reveal it next Tuesday, 2/26. Would anyone be interested in participating on their own blog? I'd be happy to reciprocate by hosting an interview, cover reveal, or guest post.


Anonymous said...

I love these books. Dragonsong and Dragonsinger are my favorites! And while I prefer the original, I'm impressed with how you changed it to Western. :-) As for your unrelated question, glad to help. Just tell me what to do.

Katrina L. Lantz said...

I've never read these, but I thought it was fun seeing you adapt what is obviously not a Western into that setting and those tropes. Also, so true what you said about SF/Fantasy. The speculative part is inseparable from the story. And I do love a speculative element in all my stories. Maybe that's why I don't generally read Westerns either. :) I did love Firefly, though!

Demitria said...

I've never read those books, but they sound exciting so I have to check them out. I would definetly read your western redo. I love Sci-fi & Westerns and am probably the only person who loved COWBOYS & ALIENS :)

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