If you're in the UK, as I am, probably the two most famous names associated with humour in SFF fictions are Terry Pratchett of Discworld fame and Douglas Adams who wrote the superlative Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy series.
But who are other authors of SFF satire that you have admired? What about your own experiences with writing short humorous fiction within SFF?
I'd offer up 'Options' by the late Robert Sheckley. Well worth a read if you like books that go totally 'off-the-rails'. I'm not sure it even had a plot... I've read both Adams and Pratchett - had the pleasure of meeting the latter and discussing Discworld just as he was about to publish Mort. Personally I find humour very difficult to write. I've approached it from a number of angles, but have never tapped a funny vein that I've been able to mine to order. Most of the humurous stories I've managed have been very short (see my erratic selection of flash fiction) and revolve around a single idea that I found funny.
I'll have to make a point of looking up that 'Options' as I've never come across that one before - impressed you met Pratchett while he was still with us. I understand he was not only a good writer but also a very nice bloke all round.
Know what you mean about trying to write humour - I've considered it myself, but I'm just no good at it. I think I can find pockets for humour in dramatic fiction, but not a pure comedy story. Actually, some of the best humorous short SFF fiction I've read has been on this site - I'm not just saying that, I really mean it. There was the Tooth Fairy War which I really enjoyed, but there was also one our Michele (Deutscher) did a while back that was about a wedding with fairies at a motel that I really enjoyed.
The late Mr Pratchett was a very amiable and approachable man, and I have a fond memory of sharing a drink with him and the late Iain Banks at a convention in Exeter. Terry was explaining a scene in Mort when the Four Horseman turn up at a pub. I think he mentioned that the whole thing started with the idea of Famine stealing all the free peanuts from the tables and grew from there. We also discussed Strata, one of his earlier works (if you haven't read it, it's worth tracking down) from which the Discworld concept originally grew, though in a vastly modified form. As with the Discworld books, humour can come from the concept, setting, characters (Greebo!), but it's how the writer translates those things into truly funny prose that's the gift.
I'll add Sheckley's 'Cordle to Onion to Carrot'.
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