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Writing Books/Sci-Fi Crossover...1 book or 3?

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Question
Hi Vincent,
 I recently decided to take my writing seriously and have begun a novel that's been hanging around for a while now. I want the novel to be primarily character driven as the main character will be the hero over the course of 4 to 6 novels and the primary conflict is around social/governance/human colonization issues. The lead character is a female psychologist who increasingly comes into conflict with the antagonist and she must grow a great deal to be the hero later on.
 What interests me about writing this book(books), is more the social commentary than the high tech thriller, although it has a fair share of that as well. In this light, my question is about tone and pacing. I have enough action to break it out into 3 novels and a pace I feel would allow me sufficient coverage of the social issues, but...is this going to be too slow a pace for Sci-fi even though there's plently of science and technology both in the setting and plot? Can Sci-fi be literature and still draw a sci-fi crowd, as well as a more general audience?

Answer
The quick and dirty answer to your question is:  Absolutely.

If you want to see a good example of how this is done, check out the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson:  RED MARS, GREEN MARS, BLUE MARS.  

The books are heavy with all sorts of science, both hard and soft, with a large cast of characters.  The pacing is not fast, but it's still an engrossing read... and right along the lines of what you're describing.

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Vincent M. Wales

Expertise

I am a speculative fiction novelist (fantasy, science fiction, and so on). While I may be able to answer questions on non-fiction, my specialty is fiction. Please keep that in mind when asking questions.

Experience

For four years, I taught a series of fiction writing classes in Sacramento, CA.

Education/Credentials
BA in fiction writing.

Awards and Honors
My 2004 novel, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, won BEST FICTION in Fresh Voices 2006, BEST FICTION and BEST YA FICTION in the NCPA Book Awards, and placed as a finalist in BEST BOOKS 2005. In 2002, my novel WISH YOU WERE HERE won awards for Best Fantasy and Best Fiction/Drama in the 8th Annual SPA Awards. My latest work is a trilogy titled THE MANY DEATHS OF DYNAMISTRESS (a superhero memoir). The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2013 and won the SF category in the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, took second place in the 2013 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for the SF/Fantasy/Paranormal category, second place in the SF category of the 2013 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was finalist in Foreword's 2013 Book of the Year Awards, Fantasy category. The second book, REDEMPTION, will be released in early 2015 and the final book, RENAISSANCE, is scheduled for release in late 2016.

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