In honor of the Olympics which is starting in a few days, I thought I’d do a little exploration of sports in science fiction and fantasy. This is something I like, myself, and have found from trying it just how difficult it can be to do. You not only have to make the thing work for whatever system you’ve set up (I don’t mean for just World X), but you somehow need to make it interesting enough so that people will actually read it. I’ve been successful with this maybe twice myself: “Twinkletoes,” published by “Jim Baen’s Universe” several years back, and “Marx on the Moon” which was in “Surprising Stories” a few years before that and then at aburt’s ifiction, were both about baseball, one of my favorite subjects:) But I know of other authors who are much more successful at creating sf sports stories. There’s a great list of them here, some of which I’ve read: http://www.sff.net/people/jack.haldeman/sports_stories.htm. And of course there are the games of poker and 3D chess in Star Trek, generic gambling in Star Wars… and I once ran into a pretty funny account of a game of “chicken ball” from LOTRO, wherein a group knocks around local chickens that are just doodling about.
What sports would you put into writing if you could? I’m curious. Personally I’ve been fiddling for years with a tarot/poker game for a Kritter novella/book, and a competitive 3D Go game that’s more mystical sf than hard (that one’s much more complex than the Kritter one). And I have parkour (though it’s used more as a tool than a sport in that context) as well as spacecaching (based on geocaching: http://www.geocaching.com/) in the “Bac Book”. But I also like pondering on other’s ideas of sports that haven’t been invented (yet), I mean REALLY haven’t been, not just a version of something that does exist. There are a very few at the end of the sf sports list. What others do you think of? Interplanetary torch-relay? Hyperspace racing? Some sort of thing involving dragons and hunting?
I wonder what the ancient societies like the Celts, the Greeks, the Mayans, thought of when they played their sports, some of which exist today (like basketball, wrestling, discus-throwing). We are their future, we are their science fiction. What’s our future of sports, then? I wonder, in a thousand years, where the Olympic Torch will go?