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SFWRITER.COM > About Rob > Recurring Themes
In April 1999, as I was finishing my twelfth novel, I began to contemplate the recurring themes in my fiction. I've identified over thirty themes, topics, and motifs that occur over and over again in my novels and short stories. I'm providing the following list of them [updated in May 2006] for two reasons:
Some scholars look for recurrent themes to try to divine something about the author's own life; in my view, this is folly. As Isaac Asimov said in an interview I did with him for CBC Radio, even pacifists such as himself write about war and violence simply because it's more dramatic than the alternative.
In the list below, besides such SF-related topics as "artificial intelligence" and "first contact," you'll also find such themes as murder, suicide, terminal illness, infidelity, parenting, abortion, and Judaism but no one I've ever been close to has killed or been killed; none of my friends or family members have ever committed suicide; no pal or relative of mine has ever died of a terminal illness (other than the usual vagaries of old age); my wife and I have a happy marriage; we don't have any kids; we've never had an abortion; and I'm not Jewish.
If you're looking for insights into me as a person, you might do better to turn to the numerous interviews and published profiles of me available on this web site or at any large library, or read this long autobiograpy.
(Also please note, as I pointed out to one angered correspondent a few years ago, that as an author I no more am obligated to truly believe in all the things I write about than George Lucas is obligated to really believe in the Force.)
Within each theme, the works that touch on the topic are grouped chronologically. Novel titles are shown in italics; links to them take you to the index page for that novel. Short-story titles are shown in quotation marks.
SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence)
AI or Robot Companions or Confidants
The Nature of Consciousness
Scanning Brains / Uploading Consciousness
Biology Determining Psychology
Nostalgia for the Apollo Program
Love and Marriage
Infidelity or Contemplated Infidelity
Psychotherapy / Counseling / Psychological Testing
Suicide or Contemplated Suicide
Whether There Can be Scientific Proof for Matters of Faith
The Conflict Between Religion and Science
Mundane Beings Becoming Gods
The Devil as a Character / Hell as a Place
God as a Character
Immortality (Figurative and Literal)
Abortion / Birth Control / New Reproductive Technologies
Modern Physics and the Nature of Reality
The Anthropic Principle
Frank Tipler's Omega Point Theory
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