And, is there a gender bias?
I am under the impression that women tend to like stories that delve deep into character and emotion. The reader identifies with the protagonist and enjoys the exhilarating angst of his/her life. The crux of the story is based on relationships and the evolving personality of the main character as he/she overcomes, or is defeated, by obstacles and conflict.
This story is about the love relationship between husband and wife and how they cope with his strange affliction. For humble librarian Henry DeTamble, time traveling is an affliction. He has no control over where he goes, when he goes, and always he goes naked.
Arrival in a new time period always involves a scramble to get covered up.
Author Audrey Niffenegger does a great job exploring the quirks that time travel can present. From traveling back in time to meet his wife as a child and establishing a relationship before he actually meets her in his normal timeline, to traveling to the future to console his grieving widow, the story of Henry DeTamble offers rich thoughts about how time dominates our own short lives.
The point of view remains consistent with the main character and the action revolves around different situations solely within the main character’s life.
The Time Traveler’s Wife is an involving love story with a twist. And is unique in the science fiction realm.
At the opposite end of the spectrum are the action driven stories that sprawl across a multitude of worlds with many characters, human and alien, and offer multiple viewpoints.
Peter Hamilton comes to mind with his Commonwealth novels and subsequent Void series. Multiple points of view, nonstop action and subplots, a universe spanning setting, the story spreads out over several large novels.
Lift them carefully or you’ll hurt your back.
The first book, Pandora’s Star and sequel Judas Unchained, tell a story of a disappearing star that leads the Intersolar Commonwealth out to investigate the phenomenon. What they unleash is an advanced alien mass-mind species called “The Prime” that is bent on exterminating all humans.
As if that isn’t enough of a problem a “Starflyer,” is discovered, which is another alien species capable of mind control, and they are attacking and destroying the Commonwealth from within. Hamilton goes on a subplot spree that the reader hopes will eventually tie together, but keeping track is tricky at best.
At one point I counted over twelve point of views in Judas Unchained alone, and keeping up with who was where, doing what was taxing. Not finished, some of his characters from the first two books reappear 1500 years later in his Void Series. Still he provides quite an adrenaline rush.
And that’s the key.
To get the reader to respond.
Whether from deeply felt emotion that has you grabbing a hanky, or from the exhilaration of a joy ride in a full-on battle, the reader wants a story that stirs him/her.
What’s your preference?
And what’s your gender? Does it matter?