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“You know I don’t like rhetorical questions in my personal life”

Scrap lines of dialogue, waiting to one day find a home or be forgotten.

Sometimes I think writing is just something I resort to so I can fix the leaking holes in my memory.

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Right Wing Nationalism, and the Future

This post was inspired by reading the following article, on the diveristy of characters in science fiction:
https://www.wired.com/2017/02/geeks-guide-next-gen-sci-fi/#article-comments

At the time, I found the article fairly engaging. In retrospect, it’s not great in tone. My own view of the future is probably much darker than these writers expressed. But the concept of reviewing hidden implicit bias in a fictional character’s gender and ethnicity all made clear sense to me.

It’s lazy writing to rely on stereotypes, and cliches. It requires minimal effort, and can easily be derivative.  It also generally reproduces the image of the world we already had, rather than creating anything new. And it’s also inaccurate…

What surprised me most was the comments to the article. Many expressing real anger and disbelief at the article’s contents. I found it quite a shock, as I had literally not even conceived of their arguments. Am I in a bubble? Maybe.

The source of their irritation was the article’s accepted wisdom that science fiction should present viewpoints and experiences from groups outside of traditional western society. They seemed clearly to feel this were a waste of time, and a fundamentally fraudulent concept.

It’s an extremely persistent attitude in our culture, that I may well describe more in further posts. Soft forms of white supremacism in science fiction date back a very long way. An editorial by Isaac Asimov written in 1972 describes how previous editors of his in the 1950s would insist their tales of space describe a universe of white characters. The old Jetsons cartoon is another well-known example. It seems to present a clear narrative that whites have left behind the other races, as though separation was always the goal. White nationalism, in today’s language.

Even in films as considered as ethnically  diverse as Star Trek and Star Wars, the cast are still disproportionately filled with white characters, when planet Earth is considered. Gene Roddenberry made a massive effort  always worthy of respect to think outside the box.

Perhaps living in Asia has changed my perspective, but it’s hard to see dominance of the world by European ethnic groups as a serious possibility 100 years from now, like it has been over the past 500 years. Even less so 200 years in the future, and even less so after that…

One potential big difference in approaches to race can be the application of deep time in the philosophy of a writer. As a science fiction writer, the concept of deep time is perhaps the single most compelling reason I find to work in the genre. We are at the forefront of a species that has lasted 500,000 years. Regardless of what we do to the planet, I believe some form of us is certain to continue long ahead. Political structures such as the nation or  borders can only be fleetingly temporary. The history of life is one of constant adaption. The insistence that the future will preserve the cultures of the present seems absurd.

But other science fiction writers don’t feel the same way about these ideals. Odious and notorious members of the far right can tend to loudly make their presence known on the internet on these issues, and topics of culture. And they do feel like their time has come, at this present moment.

But I strongly doubt the future will look like they expect it will, no matter what happens.

Installment 2:

Writing continues well.

I’ve written a scene over the past week that I’m not 100% sure is acceptable to share with a general audience. There’s a fine line about what kind of sex you can feature before you end up producing pornography, and I’m not entirely sure I paid attention to it.

Most things get changed from the first draft, though. Plenty will not survive editing. And this is definitely likely to need significant editing.

But overall I do like where it is going.

Here are my new batch of daily cyberpunk characters, – free association go:

A man jovial with a mechanical replica lion head
A woman with a banshee-like scream, elderly survivor. Pirate?
Someone addicting to continuously piloting an iron giant
An ace pilot who has reconstructed their own fighter craft.
A creature bred to feed of sewer waste. Wraithlike, haunting monster.
A large alien that acts as though dim-witted, but is secretly not
Someone with cybnetically enhanced sense of smell for fine dining
A washed up young technocract, using a jetpack to rob a bank
A diminutive midget with a giant shotgun that knocks it over

And there we are at 16, for one a day in 2017

Till next time,

The Resurgence of Rimmblog

Good evening.

I’m excited to welcome you to the humble return of Rimmblog!

We’ll be returning with a weekly format: posts every Saturday, and occasional extras during the week.

It’s been almost exactly 2 years since my last post. I think we can all agree that a lot has happened since then. For starters, I’m now permanently based in Hong Kong. It’s beautiful here and I’m very happy.  Also, 2015 and 2016 happened. It’s become a cliche to hate 2016, but I must confess to a certain feeling that the world is entering some new era of darkness. Understandings about the course of things that seemed certain only a year ago have entirely evaporated.

As someone who writes about bleak futures, it has the small benefit of keeping me focused.

Writing continues, and progress is excellent. I haven’t received professional rate publication yet. But I am close to finished a second anthology. And I’m developing finalized plans for writing beyond the scope of short stories. I’ll be posting updates as things progress.

One idea I’ve had is to set myself the challenge of inventing a new science-fiction character every day. The plan is that forcing myself to create when out of ideas will stimulate creativity. If nothing else, I can always recycle them into my RPGs 😉

It’s the 7th day of 2017 right now, so I guess I owe you seven:

  • Gladiator Pilot, competes in Aerial Contests
  • Jungle hermit with empathic link to a giant hairy beast.
  • Veteran Jetpack Infantry. Professional attitude. Loves his job.
  • Full-time artistic chef. Irritated by interruptions.
  • Alcoholic Baron, guaranteed immunity by diplomatic contracts
  • Reverent artillery shell bearer
  • Someone who has chosen to physically remain as a baby. A smart baby.

That’s it, I’m done. Catch you soon, everybody.