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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

Some feminist utopia this turned out to be.

So, as is becoming a habit, all my ideas are for the wrong book. Today, as I sit here making logical extrapolations, I can't decide which society in Carnival I like least--the totalitarian Feminist Utopia, or the Fascist conservatives. My theme appears to be "you can't trust the gummint, no matter what gummint it be." Or possible, "People are OK taken two or three at a time, but beyond that number they tend to choose up sides and wear armbands.*"

Momma, don't let your babies grow up to be anarchists.

I suspect I've been reading too much Daily Kos lately (just from to-day, and a little Jeff Gannon update on the side.) Nevermind the amount of news I am subjected to at the dayjob. (Genocide! You're soaking in it!)

I'm sliding into cynicism fast this afternoon. Maybe if I write pointed-enough books, I can win a free trip to Syria too. What do you think?

At least I haven't got a Heinleinian "the black people feminists want to eat the Libertarians!" thing going on. Maybe I'll appear to hate and mistrust everybody equally, when the critics get around to me. It wouldn't be unusual.

(The first thing we do, let's eat all the libertarians.)

Anyway, it's depressing to discover that when one intended one's protags have an even more icky political situation to deal with than one does one's self, one is having a hard time coming up with one that remains plausible and not caricature. Whatever happened to having somebody to root for? And when did I turn into John Le Carré?

Ah well. I found the second section title for the book, at least: the first half is called The mortification of the flesh and the second half is called The festival of meat. I think. Unless that changes. And the book is definitely cooking down there. Although currently it looks like the only way to get out of it may be "and then they were eaten by bears aliens. The end." And I would feel sad for Michelangelo, Lesa, and Vincent if that happened.

It's a problem. It's also what I get for writing parables. Mm. An Utopia would be nice. Maybe I should write one of those. Except I'd keep finding cutworms in the roses.

Oddly enough, all this whinging has made me feel better.

In other news, I'll be at the Sahara Borders Books & Music in Las Vegas tonight at 8:00 PM for a book-signing/reading/hang out with the local SFF fan group thing. Come on by. I'll be the one with the enormous zit on my chin, because the perversity of the universe tends toward a maximum. (Although it's less spectacular than the one I got for Worldcon.)

*George Carlin


"I can't decide which society in Carnival I like least--the totalitarian Feminist Utopia, or the Fascist conservatives."

I had this with Singularity Sky. My solution -- imperfect though it was -- was to pick sympathetic protagonists. Either you pick someone from outside the society (a tourist or spy), or you pick someone from inside it who's opposed to it -- a dissident, in other words, albeit you've got a choice between covert dissidents (cynics) and overt ones (gulag-fodder). Just making it clear that change is an option seemed to help enormously. (I really did not like the New Republic; discovering years later that there's actually a real-world philosophy that would provide a decent template for it gave me serious skin-crawling sensations.)
*nod* I've got three reasonably sympathetic people to work with. I'm trying to find a better note to end the book on than, the Good Guys escape into a virtual reality playground and leave the galaxy to suffer under the totalitarian thumb of the oppressor *g*. Because while logical, it's profoundly unsatisfying to me. And unprotaggy, come to think of it.

1984 has already been written.

I just wish that my government wasn't doing its damnedest to make me feel like I'm not writing science fiction any more.
Be glad you don't have Tony Blair. Seriously. "Don't worry about these police state powers we're granting ourselves, we're only going to use them for good." And he's so decent and sincere and intelligent .... words fail me. Bush was never a liberal, but Blair is what happens when Liberals go Wrong. And waiting in the wings to replace him if he loses the next election is Count Dracula. Aaargh!
Sorry. Must write happy fun utopias now, dammit.
My agent has informed me that I'm not allowed to write any more real-world USA-based dystopian stuff. *g* Maybe collectively, if all of us start writing shiny happy futures, we can shift the zeitgeist!
This is true. What terrifying about Bush is not so much Bush (he's a whiny spoiled brat and a classic denial case); it's the fact that more than 50% of my countrymen consider raping the treaury, starting insane wars, cronyism, war profiteering, alienating the rest of the world, denying human rights to various portions of the population, and brainwashing our schoolchildren into little test-taking machines to be good public policy that they actually re-elected him.

Maybe we can both get a do-over?

Blast from the past:

I had to share this. It makes my skin crawl.

>Although currently it looks like the only way to
>get out of it may be "and then they were eaten by bears
>aliens. The end." And I would feel sad for Michelangelo,
>Lesa, and Vincent if that happened.

As long as it doesn't end, "and then they woke up/logged out/discovered they were computer-generated sims." (It would be nice if the bears got indigestion, if you have to go that route.)

Drat. Shouldn't have eaten that feminist....
(The first thing we do, let's eat all the libertarians.)

Let's not. They're stringy and leave an unpleasant aftertaste.

See, this is why I write amusing banter and romantic situations -- easier to sneak the depressing commentary on urban socialization and our lack of general decency as upper-tier animals past the overthinking, already-depressed author and straight on into the impressionable minds of the readers...

That's the plan, anyway.

Personally, I just think all political theory is just a different candy coating on "do what I think is best, you moronic sheep."

Religion too, for that matter (as opposed to faith).

Which is probably why I keep reducing innocent pollsters to incoherent tears over the phone. Maybe I should just stop answering the phone?
Well, I just wrote a happy fun playful book, and a sexually transgressive book, so I guess it's time for some hardcore ick. Drat my brain anyway. :-P

Handling dystopia

Have you read Alan Furst's novels? The quality is as high as Le Carre's, but instead of the Cold War, their backdrop is Eastern Europe in the 30's and 40's. "The Polish Officer", for example, is about a man trying to do his best when it's clear to him, and everyone around him, that they, and their country, are completely screwed. "Dark Star", "Kingdom of Shadows", "Red Gold" --- they're all good-to-excellent, despite being set in a world that's much worse than ours, and still going downhill.

Re: Handling dystopia

*g* Aren't I depressed enough without your help, Greg????

Re: Handling dystopia

But that's the thing --- somehow, they're not depressing. And it's not because the good guys win, because they often don't. I think it's because even when they lose, the good guys are still the good guys... (Yes, I'll be more coherent in an hour, when I've had coffee...)

Re: Handling dystopia

I think it's because even when they lose, the good guys are still the good guys.

That's pretty much the best my guys can hope for, really. Although I'm still trying to find a way to weasel them out of it. *g*
(The first thing we do, let's eat all the libertarians.)

*pours a nice balsamic vinaigrette on his head and sits down on a bed of polenta garnished with steamed haricot vert and cherry tomatoes*

Bear, you're too smart for Daily Kos. There's no one there who has a deeper understanding of the world than the average seventh grader who Knows It All, and is positive that everyone is against him.

If you're looking for intelligent lefty blogs, take a look at Left2Right, Crooked Timber (although even the academics there sometimes totally lose it and start spraying spittle), or maybe even Kevin Drum (but ignore the comments, which are usually as deranged as those on Eschaton or Kos).

Good libertarian blogs include Jane Galt and Marginal Revolution.

A non-spittle-flecked conservative blog: Jim Geraghty's TKS.

But Daily Kos? Please, tell me you don't read it for more than entertainment and schadenfreud.
I read it for links, actually, and because I'm too lazy busy to go looking for things, and it aggregates all the kerfuffle into one nice convenient lj feed. I get Fox news and WB at work, and listen to NPR on my own time, so I figure that makes for a balanced perspective, if a teeter-totter is balanced. *grins with light sparkling off teeth*

You shpould have seen me during the six month period when I was paid to listen to conservative talk radio. I still have scars from the steam valve I had to have installed in my head.

*dusts off the viagrette* Don't let the cannibals see you like that.

You know, it's weird being me. Because my political perspective is that pretty much every system I've seen demonstrated sucks, sometimes for more people and sometimes for less. I might someday be convinced that one system or another holds the Truth--perhaps the equitable solution is unabomber cabins in the woods for all?