Tuesday, July 6 2021

Quote of the Day

“It was war,” Rlain said.

“Is that an excuse?” she asked.

“An explanation,” Teft said.

“One used to explain too much,” Syl said, wrapping her arms around herself and growing smaller than usual. “It’s war, you say. Nothing to be done about it. You act like it’s as inevitable as the sun and storms. But it’s not. You don’t have to kill each other.”

Brandon Sanderson, Rhythm of War


I mean. Not wrong!

Billionaires might be voted off the planet metaphorically, but really they are still stuck here

I find this oddly comforting.

This thread is great, and makes perfect sense that the rich can’t all just go on a cruise to Fhloston Paradise while we stay here and fight over water, because SF is still make believe, even if media often feels more real than life.

What I do wonder is….do they get that? The billionaires?

It’s not all about people like you…

Still loving what Brandon Sanderson is doing with representation in this latest novel:

But feel your own body changing you into someone else, and not be able to stop it?

Every human being lived with a terrible terror, and they all ignored it. Their own bodies mutated, and elongated, and started bleeding, and became all wrong. Nobody talked about it? Nobody was scared of it? What was wrong with them?

Rhythm of War

He’s talking about what these experiences feel like, not making them the staging horse of his story. How to write about characters with all different circumstances when you’re not a member of their community: don’t make it the focus of your story. Make it the experience of your characters. 

…and not everyone is like you

My trip last weekend brought me a number of thoughts, and one of them was this: there are people who don’t want to learn anything new about the world, and who aren’t interested in understanding what life is like for others. They still want to learn new things, but they select things to learn that just elaborate on the details of what they know to be true per their already-formulated worldview.

I’ve been surrounding myself with people who are truly interested in finding out new things about how the world works for so long that I forgot the other kind was even out there. How can you be completely uninterested in the way people other than you move through, experience, and participate in the world?

(I mean, there’s an obvious answer: because their worldview changing means their identity needs to change with that, and most people have a literal death-grip on their identity. I say that knowing the thing but being completely unable to identify with it.)

But I find it…..terrifying? I want to write to change minds. But for there to even be the smallest chance of that, someone has to be willing to pick up the book and open it first. I’ve never really stopped to think that maybe no one will ever read my work. That’s not quite right. I have, but in the context of them not liking it, or it not being something they are interested in, or it not resonating. I haven’t thought about that in the context of, you might challenge my preconceived notions a little, so hard pass. Those are the people I need to speak to! Or want to speak to? But are they?

How do you wake up Sleeping Beauty in the age of doomsday preppers and enthusiastic consent?

What is there time left for? Seriously.

We’re Screwed. How to unscrew. By Jessica Wildfire

And yet, look at what’s going on. We’re in the middle of another global surge in a pandemic, with a virus that continues to mutate. It’s 118 degrees in the Arctic circle. Entire towns are going up in smoke. Amidst all this, your boss is telling you it’s time to get back to the office. Gotta keep cranking out those sprockets. Gotta keep Karen happy. Gotta keep saving for that retirement, even if money is worthless by then.

I like how Jessica writes about individual and collective action. I don’t agree with the stop eating beef argument. But that’s all really beside the point. I’ve been listening to Bo Burnham on repeat for weeks, and while he doesn’t at all sugar coat it (“20,000 years of this, 7 more to go“), reading Jessica’s article really makes me wonder: I want to write a novel to share my view, to make people think, to maybe change some minds. Is there honestly time for that? If it takes 2 years to write 1 novel–is that too late? Will we have space for anything beyond survival to think about by then? How long until no one’s even going to be able to read my magnum opus e-book? What are we content makers all doing, actually? Arts and crafts on the Titanic?

So do I dig deep into solar punk and churn out as many visions of a workable future as I can, hoping a couple of them are more useful than SF visions of luxury space liners that have billionaires convinced some select few can just go live on Mars when The End Comes? Do I do nothing except learn to farm and hunt and trap because civilization is going to collapse in 10 years? Do I forget changing anyone’s anything and go work for a climate change non-profit or something?

Of course there’s no right answer. But I need to pick something and stick to it, right? Existential crises are really a lot less existential these days….