France seeks science-fiction writers to help future proof its military against science-fact

M. Robert Gibson

I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that
Feb 10, 2018
Discovery One


"Pip" "Pop" "Bim" "Bam"
Sep 9, 2016
Cumbria UK
Does anybody know any French science fiction writers?
I went Wikipedia and 108 names appeared of French SF writers.
I clicked on maybe fifteen at random and they all were deceased.
Then success! One bloke still alive, apparently he's written one novel, quoted as "surrealism and religion with a touch of sci fi"
Clearly there ain't many French writers available


Newfangled Member
Oct 14, 2018
east of the crooked house, south of weddell wynd
It's a little tired, isn't it, putting four or five people in a room and asking them d'you have any ideas?

I'm pretty sure they'll be Googling the moment the doors close, that or complaining there's no WiFi because the room's secure...

Telling a page turning yarn is the main activity of a successful author (so I'm told), so won't the military get just that, a page turner of a report? Entertaining, well plotted, insightful maybe, decorated with conceptual breakthrough... but still only a stimulating read, a starting point... and five times longer than it should be because there's no editor?

Maybe they should just crowdsource Amazon?

It might even cost less... and run their AI classifiers for choosing novels on Amazon servers... use a similar setup for distilling any novel ideas found therein...

No, actually, they should analyse SSF sites... military document parsers must be pretty good, add in some other social media tools that are readily available... and a million servers somewhere... now that sounds like a plan...
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Well-Known Member
Sep 13, 2011
The name who springs immediately to mind is Aliette de Bodard, who's French, very much and alive, and she's also a darned good writer.

As she doesn't appear on the Wiki list, I'd suggest that's not the best way to find such writers.


some medals you wear on your heart not your sleeve
Mar 29, 2019
The Sci-fi section of a Paris FNAC bookshop I was in last week seemed to be full of writers I had never heard of, but are presumably well know in France.
As for the op, the military are great at fighting the last war. So I think what they want is a pov that isn't military [tech, mindset and organisation] led.
If they are serious about it I'd the French will try to get out of the western mind set too. It is all too easy to accept your own unconscious bias as the real world. New voices should be a good idea.
I'm guessing that someone will surf the net to see what les autre are thinking.


Mad Mountain Man
Jun 29, 2010
Scottish Highlands
They were talking about this on the radio a few days ago. My understanding is that science fiction writers - military SF in particular, of course - create, by their very nature, completely new scenarios and then have to come up with military solutions for them. The military is notoriously bad at adapting their tactics to new and different conditions. The classic example of that was the first world war; the generals in charge on both sides had been brought up in a very different world. In particular one without, or with very few, machine guns, gas and massive artillery bombardments. Yet they did not change their tactics and, inevitably, their were massive casualties. I know it's not quite as simple as that but in general the military have been bad at this sort of adaptation.

The Americans have been doing this for a while, it seems. Max Brooks (son of Mel Brooks) is an actor but also an author focusing mainly on zombie stories, most famously I believe (though I'm not a zombie fan so wouldn't know) World War Z. Apparently on the back of this he gives lectures to US military tacticians on adapting tactics to new situations.


a better poet than swordsman
May 17, 2019
Gerard Klein is still alive. He was quite good. Part of the French New Wave. But he quit writing SF a long time ago.

as for non-alive ones (since the OP didn't specify), I presume most of you are familiar with at least the movies adapted from the books of Pierre Boulle...