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bear by san

March 2017



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writing softcore nerdporn _ heres_luck

are you already on that bus and gone?

One of my email .sig files reads:

"To be an artist means never to avert one's eyes." -- Akira Kurosawa

And that's the thing. That never? Means never. Which includes the good stuff as well as the bad, goddammit. It bothers me when I see the focus of my genre more and more sliding to unrelieved bleakness.

Real life has some of both, you know?

Which is one of the reasons why I'm in on a new podcast: the SFF Squeecast!, debuting soon. My co-podcasters are Catherynne Valente, Paul Cornell, Lynne Thomas, and Seanan McGuire, with occasional guests.

And in this podcast, we talk about shit that rocks. In upcoming episodes, look forward to squealing about The Middleman, Nnedi Okorafor, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, and other awesome stuff what are awesome.

Speaking of squealing, there's a new annual scholarly journal devoted to Christopher Marlowe.

My story "The Inevitable Heat Death of the Universe" has been reprinted at Chizine.

She cuts him from the belly of a shark.

If this were another kind of story, I should now tell you, fashionably, that the shark is not a shark. That she is not a she and he is not a he. That your language and symbology do not suffice for my purposes, and so I am driven to speak in metaphor, to construct three-dimensional approximations of ten-dimensional realities. That you are inadequate to the task of comprehension.


You are a God.

The shark is a shark. A Great White, Carcharodon carcharias, the sublime killer. It is a blind evolutionary shot-in-the-dark, a primitive entity unchanged except in detail for―by the time of our narrative―billions of years.

I took some amazing photos of the raggedy bit of Canada when we were flying over it on the way home from Stockholm. I'll be updating my flickr stream as soon as I wash off the sweat from running this morning.

Also, 4th Street Fantasy Conversation was awesome. If you like nerdy talk about books with writers, you should totally come next year.


"Real life has some of both, you know?"

This captures something I want to do with the new urban fantasy book I'm working on. Don't know if I'll do it well, but still. It's important to not shy away from the darkness, but it's equally important not to lose the joy.

Also, yay for new podcast! Is there a larger version of the Squeecast logo somewhere?
Yeah, that. I'm trying to write nonapocalyptic near future SF, and it's challenging.

There is a bigger version of the logo, but I don't know if it's online yet.
Even in the worst of times, babies are born and family get-togethers happen and people celebrate, because we have to. TV shows about terrible circumstances where the characters don't occasionally make terrible gallows-humor jokes are ridiculous, becuase that's how we process the world, part of what keeps us from committing suicide each day. (I have heard this lack of gallows-humor about the new Battlestar Galactica, and it's part of what dissuaded me from watching.)

Something I need to remember when I feel like I'm living in one of the less-friendly dystopian SF novels...
Well, I bookmarked that Squeecast (awesome name, btw) and can't wait for the first episode! :)
That is one very trippy story. I'm not quite sure it's cosmologically accurate (protons would probably decay before a nanotechnological selachian ramscoop could cover all the volume of an expanding universe...or even a large enough part of it...but very evocative nonetheless. Kudos.

...and yay for positivity and optimism! The only place I can think of seeing it recently is in some "benevolent" AI works, like Robert Sawyer's WWW or Diane Duane's Omnitopia.
Hee. No physics were harmed in the making of this story.
This x100. I am getting damn tired of End of the World/Everybody Dies stories. I don't mind EotW. I do mind the ED. Go ahead, end the world, or try to. But can the good guys win, please? If I wanna read about good people losing, I'll just read the news feeds.

No thank you.

And thank you for the positivity!!!
<runs to join the "shit that rocks" parade, waving a banner in each hand>

Repeat after me, world: Depressing =/= Grown-Up.
I suspect this is part of why I've set aside the post-apocalyptic dead world story. Because right now, I don't think I have the chops to pull it off without making it look all bleak, and that's *not* the picture in my head.

(I suppose it helps that I have a planned scene where two geeks meet and squee about the weird and cool differences between their universes, but I'm also not sure how to pull that off without a giant flashing "infodump!" sign, when I really want the emphasis on the geekery and squeeing, not the details.)
A decade or more ago, when all of my sci-fi was Star Trek and Golden Age stuff, and life sucked (as it does when you are a teenager and an outsider), I needed and wanted more acknowledgement of that sucking from my fiction. Firefly and Gibson and Gaiman were a metaphorical breath of fresh air, 1984 felt like it was speaking directly to me, so on and so forth.

Now, I need and want the opposite. Have I changed, or has the genre? Obviously a lot of the former, and seemingly a lot of the latter.

I feel like at its worst it gets exploitative... dystopia porn, or something, I'm not sure what to call it.

It amused me, in The Sea Thy Mistress, to find myself reading a happy post-apocalypse. I hadn't expected that, and I liked it. I think there are a lot more out there in the universe of possible stories. Heck, we're (hopefully, on a good day) living in one.