Barry Malzberg said in Breakfast in the Ruins,
a collection of essays about writing science fiction, that lasting, significant change “is uncontrollable and coming in uncontrollably: … we have lost control of our lives.” If aliens come or as new technologies gallop ahead, we’re all at their mercy. In contrast, he says, middle-class assumptions include the idea that “increased self-realization is increased control,” an idea that shapes non-genre novels and drama – and, he says, is behind the hostility to science fiction.
Do your characters truly control their fates? Here are some story ideas, in case you need some:
• In this memoir-like story, an octogenarian imagines how life could have been if a series of worldwide changes had gone differently.
• This first contact story begins with the realization that in its cultural exchange with Earth, Aldebaran B has sent its malcontents as a form of exile.
• This is a suspense story about a medical treatment that can rehabilitate stroke victims or create false memories, and a patient who had the therapy isn't sure why.
— Sue Burke