Saturday, May 30, 2015

Let’s Go To Worldcon

I’m never really been a part of Fandom, but I read a lot of books about unrealistic things, of various genres. This year, I checked the Hugo nominee list when it came out to see whether included The Martian or Ready Player One, both of which I loved. I was aghast to instead find multiple nominations of ultraconservatives who don’t like my type.

Oh, hell no.

I then found myself typing credit card numbers into a website and joining Sasquan. With the intent of: (a) sticking my toe into these piranha-infested waters to see if maybe I’m venturing into the wrong hobby by daring to write a science fiction book; (b) expressing my opinion in the election; and (c) enjoying several delicious breakfasts at the Hotel Davenport, including their signature egg dish. (I’m a sucker for gold rush era opulence as well as breakfast.) (Plus I was going to go to a con anyway, I just hadn’t decided which one. And I’ve always wanted to go to Worldcon, for the history.)

Besides the aforementioned, my favorite books include A Song of Ice and Fire (although I liked Fevre Dream better), and The Dark Tower and A Clockwork Orange, and Flowers for Algernon, and Neuromancer, and The Lathe of Heaven, and Little Brother, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers and (especially) Watership Down.

I always figured I’d probably get fake-geek-checked if I ever ventured into Fandom because I’ve got uncool tastes. I like Last Gasp more than Marvel, and Xena more than Buffy, and Wookiees more than Klingons. My Hugo-winner-for-my-birth-year is PK Dick’s alternate history where the axis won WWII, haven’t read it and don’t intend to, I read When Androids Dream … a while ago and his style doesn’t grab me. 

I’m reading all the Hugo nominees, including the ones that don’t grab me, and the ones that backhand me across the face and then flip me the bird.

I’m heading toward either Three Body Problem or Skin Game for best novel. I don’t really care for the Ancillary series, although it’s more about the corpse soldiers. I thought the concept was a case of egregious yet inefficient evil executed for evil’s sake, and I hate villains like that. “I could just plug in another laptop, but instead I shall thaw out one of the many dead humans I keep in my deep freezer and then inflict massive neurological injury on it because only then will I have enough processor speed to fly my spaceship (muahaha) because thawed humans are better at spaceship-flying than computers because, uh, yeah.”  Although I do admit it’s a nice metaphor for one-made-of-many versus many-made-of-one, and the pronoun thing is cool.

I don’t have the heart to no-award all the Puppy entries, like Guardians of the Galaxy, which is the first movie I’ve actually liked in years, and I’m cheered by the fact that even puppies can get behind an awesome ‘70s mix and a heavy ecological message about saving trees. Maybe we can teach the world to sing in perfect harmony after all.

Anyway, here I am, a casual fan, stepping into a war between the hardcores. Many things could happen at the Hugos. Maybe I’ll get GRRM’s autograph, and clap supportively for David Gerrold during the awards ceremony. Maybe I’ll check out some panels and buy a nerdy t-shirt. Maybe I’ll find someone to eat breakfast with.

Or perhaps I will be spat upon as a potentially hostile stranger, and pelted with copies of Shirley Jackson books. Or I might be seen talking to someone bad before I even know that they’re bad, thus ruining my reputation before I even have one, which would be bad. Possibly my social anxiety will kick in and I’ll barricade myself in my room, order room service and read other peoples’ blogging about what all’s going on outside – kind of like I do at home, but with elaborate breakfasts that I don’t have to cook.   


Let’s Try This Again

Hi. I’m Charon. I wrote this novel that I’m currently editing. It’s an adventure story set in 3748, a tale of adventure on the highly acidified seas, and battles with bioengineered pliosaurs, and an island of nefarious clones, and a devastating social encounter in a roomful of music snobs. And more. It has a diverse cast, and a hero who wins by wits and diplomacy.

I thought I had it finished before, but I was premature. It needed another polishing. I was nearly done polishing when the Hugos/Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies thing happened. Apparently a war has broken out between adventure fans and diversity fans, and here I am, stepping onto the battlefield. A precarious position for a noob writer innocently trying to entertain both sides.

I’m in (what I think is) the final editing stage (of volume 1 of 4). My editing stage, that is. I’m feeling very overwhelmed by thoughts of agents and self-publishing and networking, and staking out my place in a community of science fiction writers that are more professional/productive/established than me. In a climate where my mere demographic data (female, cat-owner, San Franciscan, left-leaning) can invoke voluminous teeth-gnashing and worse from certain sectors of the interwebs.


However, after a lifetime of vacillation regarding what it is that I really want to write, and an accompanying knowledge that I was born to write something, as they say in the movies, “I’m going in.”