I know I said dystopia is no longer relevant, but I saw this Reddit comment and it jibes with an element of my upcoming short, ‘The Battle of Victoria Crater.’
We’ve become conditioned to the idea that we NEED to have jobs. Not just to feel useful, but in the sense that if we don’t have jobs we won’t be able to survive, and if you can’t survive it’s your fault … Instead of not having to work being the future we’d all dreamed of, not being able to work means we’re going to starve in the streets.
All sci-fi stories have some kind of ‘what-if’ premise baked into them. Victoria Crater’s premise is: What if this happened on Mars, out of reach of earthbound nations?
I believe in sharing what people have shared with me. May it bring you a lifetime of peace and prosperity as a storyteller. Enjoy!
In the week since I posted Part One of this train of thought, I had a couple of conversations that reinforce what I’m saying about the sci-fi community messing itself up. One conversation took place on Reddit itself and the other took place with one of the friends I can – because of my disability – have a normal chat with. “What did you think of Rogue One?” I asked.
“Oh,” he said. “I liked it … but there were a lot of people who were disappointed. They felt like all it did was focus on the one plot point and then …”
“Oh man,” I shook my head. “There it is again, the purity test.”
“What purity test?” Continue reading
I’m going to avoid adding onto the ‘Dear Sci-Fi: We Need to Talk’ discussion today. I don’t want to add to overall discord of the world, there are way too many scary things going on out there and we come to sci-fi to escape them.
That, in and of itself, may be *why* we argue so much about the state of science fiction. Sci-fi feels fixable, as opposed to the world outside, which looks more like a dystopian nightmare every day.
So although I’m working on something to say because I’m passionate about sci-fi being an open, inclusive world where ideas are free to flourish, I want to do something today to counteract the negative energy. I’m going to just sit here quietly, and be somebody that enjoys science fiction with you. It’s important to be comfortable sharing this space before we do anything else.
Ssh … it’s going to be okay.
Yes, yes and *YES.*
Had to blog about this: read something very encouraging this morning from one of my favorite directors, J.J. Abrams. Like me, he’s tired of sci-fi reboots:
You know, I do think that if you’re telling a story that is not moving anything forward, not introducing anything that’s relevant, that’s not creating a new mythology or an extension of it, then a complete remake of something feels like a mistake.
On behalf of writers and geeks everywhere, let me extend a salute to Mr. Abrams. His as a filmmaker and storyteller have already won my admiration and respect, but now he’s going further. He’s continuing to pivot and innovate, even as he celebrates the reboots he’s already been a part of:
You know, I feel incredibly lucky to have gotten involved in things that I loved when I was a kid. In fact, even Westworld, which we’re here for tonight, is one of them. But I don’t feel any desire to do that again. I feel like I’ve done enough of that that I’m more excited about working on things that are original ideas that perhaps one day someone else will have to reboot.
In one deft move J.J. Abrams is giving himself, and us, permission to reboot the reboots. Bravo. It’s like, enough already. Like mango chutney, reboots are perfect in small doses. The problem is that they’ve gotten out of hand. Even Conan O’Brien openly mocks them:
This comes back to what I was saying earlier – the world is ready for original sci-fi. Yes, we were born to make, not take. But making reboots always felt like we were making by taking and that isn’t fair to the audience. Hopefully this represents a new direction in science fiction that writers like me can be a part of.
Happy to say that I got some happy feedback on Mesh from an editor over at Lightspeed:
“I really enjoyed the synopsis of the book! I think this is going to be a great read and will really grab agents’ attention.”
That’s the kind of good news you can hang your entire week on. Looking forward to taking you through the process of putting this in front of an agent / publishing house! 🙂
As promised, a special comment about the direction of sci-fi and how it might avoid some of the community-killing habits experienced by other groups of people in 2016. No one argues that science fiction is a genre, a medium of art, that is built upon imagination. However, it has become apparent to me, and perhaps to you as well, that our genre has been overrun by bad habits that will ultimately lead to its own demise.
No community is too big to fail. I’m sure you can think of some recent examples where grass-roots organizations have suffered crises of identity as core beliefs were challenged and then obliterated. Science fiction is also a community, and while it has repelled bad actors in the past, there is no doubt about their intent. Some men, as Alfred reminded us in Dark Knight, just want to watch the world burn.
Each of us have the capacity to become the white blood cells of our ecosystem. We can work together to identify threats, neutralize them, and keep the body healthy. It’s hoped that this Open Letter – a document that I frequently find distasteful – will foster some conversation and perhaps some self-awareness within the sci-fi community. If I am wrong, then count me the first to say that I am happy to be wrong, for this is a community that I both love and want to be a part of for the rest of my life. Continue reading
So briefly, before I get into this topic, let me say this: If you think Rogue One was bad, then you are wrong.
I’m no Lucas apologist, but that movie was awesome. It had everything going for it that Episode One *should* have had. No references to THX 1138, no Wilhelm scream’s, no throwbacks to old lines, just focused on making it a well-told, autonomous story. They broke with the conventions of the other Star Wars stories to create a movie that took its place by the side of the original trilogy. Bravo.
If you need more validation on why Rogue One was amazing, you can check out this Reddit thread. Inevitably, some will find fault with different aspects of the movie but that’s to be expected. In fact, that’s why I’m writing this blog post – it’s time to draw a line in the sand between the people who love science fiction and the creeps who use science fiction as a purity ritual.
I won’t get into all of it now, but it’s something to think about. Sci-fi has this weird orthodoxy attached to it, where a sci-fi movie isn’t a SCI-FI MOVIE unless it conforms to some byzantine equation that only exists in the mind of the angriest geeks. It’s killing sci-fi, it’s why Hollywood yawns, smiles tolerantly at us and ignores us until it’s time for us to open our wallets.
Clarkesworld passed on Planet Ugh, but no worries – submitted it over to Orson Scott Card’s “Intergalactic Medicine Show.”
In the meantime, I’ve updated the Short Stories list to reflect the evolving journey of my tales …
Joy, pain, sadness, hope – the stories still get told. Submitted ‘Planet Ugh’ to Clarkesworld today. This is a >2000-word short, in the style of ‘They’re Made Out of Meat’ by Terry Bisson. I started writing it after reading one-too-many racist comments on an online news article. One wonders what a sentient alien race would think of us after half an hour on the Internet.
Anyway – hope Clarkesworld likes it. I look forward to sharing it with you when it gets published.