We split ourselves, for ease and genre.
Speculative fiction doesn’t cut it.
Fantasy is science fiction in the broad scheme. The writing guild is Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, after all. But we’ll take it further than that. I’m about to head to Sasquan, this year’s World Science Fiction Convention and the place where the 2015 Hugo awards will be announced. There’s some controversy this year, and it got me thinking.
I played games. Pong and then Pitfall on the Atari. Forever. I might have missed out on quality bike-riding time to play Load Runner, Space Quest and the original Mario or Duck Hunt with that grey-on-grey gun. I rocked Castle Crashers a few years ago and got really into indie games on Steam. Then the Double-G’s that shall not be mentioned reared their hydra’s heads.
When I did mention it, finally, it was in response to wikipedia removing balanced commentary from the Wikipedia article on the subject. Someone I’d never spoken to before immediately got on my twitter feed and told me I knew nothing about gaming or what was going on. He said that I’d see soon. Now those same “they’s” are attempting to remove wiki articles about the people most publically hurt in the doxxings and by the fall-out. They don’t know the hurt of silence at not speaking on the subject. Actually, they read about it on Felicia Day’s blog and then doxxed her within twenty minutes of expressing her fears.
Long story short? I didn’t have a big investment in games, so I focused exclusively on my other love: science fiction. Now I have to stay quiet for fear of not being a true fan? For bringing a new voice to the old genre?
I’ve read tons. I always have read SFF. I was the kid who the school librarian trusted to request new titles because I’d read the one double-sided stand. It was barely wider than my swimmer’s shoulders. I watched three episodes of Star Trek a day for years when the original series was in sindication. Logan’s Run, Mad Max, and then the new stuff. I wore out the VHS tapes of Star Wars. I feel like I earned by Vulcan Ears and Wookie-roar.
Now I write SFF.
This is why when the Puppy (both sad and rabbid) Convention appeared, I looked at how much voting registration might cost. Huh. That’s not too bad, but it’s expensive on my budget. The attacks and vitriol continued, dividing my beloved genre, tearing me away from books that I’d loved or would have loved if I didn’t know the politics of the person who wrote them.
The convention wasn’t too far away from Seattle, I could make it by car.
Both sides of the debate got louder. The story was the same I’d seen in video games, but I didn’t write games. I considered scifi my stomping grounds. I’d earned the right to be here. I bought a ticket to sit ringside and front-stage for the Hugos awards announcement and started reading the contenders.
I’m not out to make enemies. I’m trying to keep my seat, however far from the stage, no matter that I’m sitting behind a pillar and have an obstructed view. I’m a contradiction: sporty and a scholar, a boot-strap Billie-Jean who cleans barns for half my income and teaches school library skills for the rest. If I can live with those internal conflicts as well as read magic and hard science, Vonnegut and vampires in the same aisle, then science fiction readers can come together long enough to agree we inhabit the same thematic niche.
Sorcery and science fiction, genders, creeds and colors, exist, and I and the soon-to-be published authors like me aren’t asking for a seat at the table. I was already here. I sat next to you, and you listened to me gush about your work. I tried some writing of my own and you patted my head, but never talked about my work. When your friend wanted a seat, you offered him mine. You got mad that I wanted to stay where I was already sitting. Should I have stood along the walls to observe the feast that I thought was for all humanity?This table is infinity long and has as many words to offer as there are voices to speak them. The table itself is as imaginary as the worlds we want to create and read. It can be larger than all our make-believe universes.
I’m asking that the same people who can empathize with aliens and elves in stories sympathize with my desire to read and write and discuss the same works in the same public spaces that those who wrote twenty years ago do.
I’m scared about the effect the decision. I’m scared about the reception I’ll get, looking as I do and with my voice. I’m scared of what going will do to my finances for the next half year. I’m exalted to add my voice to the fray, to make a Hugo vote and have it counted. I’m going to be another face in the crowd, but it’s a female face with an Space Opera, slow-read, Urban Fantasy, Magical Realism, voice. I will see you there, be there, and be part of the debate and history and discussion because talking about things doesn’t mean hatered. It means we see each other and saw the same genre and thought different things. We’re different hues in the same spectrum.
We’re here, on planet Earth together. We’re driving on the same roads, eating the same plants and breathing the same air. Let’s smile and say hi at the conventions where we celebrate reading the same works. Let’s come together and enjoy art and writing, games and anime. Different opinions create the spectrum of our genre. The more light we allow into the spectrum, the more colors we’ll see when we look at the genre’s diffracted rainbow. What’s wrong with the color spectrum laid out for all to see?
Don’t we celebrate rainbows?
Every religion and every culture has seen how special the full spectrum is. And when we get a double rainbow we see the colors inverted, but it’s the same effect and part of the same phenomenon. It counts no less and is even more spectacular.
I invite you to come see me at Sasquan. Tell me why you’re there, even if you live in Spokane and stumbled in because it looked like a good time.