...is the idea that the conventional wisdom about the structures of the human mind and the the universe in a hundred years will have any resemblance to what we theorize today.
Which I guess is my problem with mundane SF. Well, that, and aliens are so pretty and useful from a narrative perspective, and I don't believe in letting my ideology get in the way of the story telling. (I'm going to have a great time watching people assign me to one side or another of the philosophical arguments in Carnival, lemme tell you. My favorite character in the Jenny books in the pacifist, and my second-favorite is the wisecracking bandy-legged old academic, but of the various ideological stances I've been assumed to be taking with those books, nobody's yet twigged to that. My favorite character in Carnival is consistently and creatively wrong. And kind of a bigot.)
You dance with who brung you.
I had a conversation with arcaedia and mcurry recently in which mcurry asked me about author insertion characters. Which is a funny thing to try to answer.
Almost none of my characters are people I'd like to be. Elaine is crazy as a sack of hamsters and a pain in the ass to boot (she's a bit of a deconstruction of what truepenny calls a Byron Sue), Muire is self-absorbed to the point of needing a swift kick, Jenny is pretty much incapable of happiness and has enough post-traumatic stress disorder to power Cleveland for three days in spring or autumn, Whiskey likes to seduce and drown virgins for fun, Will's a manipulative jerk, Kit suffers... what we will generously term "poor impulse control," Cathoair is even crazier than Jenny, Mingan eats people who annoy him, Vincent is a stone cold son of a bitch with a completely plausible shell, Michelangelo is this close (--><--) to a sociopath and I mentioned the bigot thing, Lesa's ideology is suspect, Tribute is what you get when you take the world's oldest spoiled teenager and turn him into a vampire, Abby Irene is a sad old drunk, Ian acts exactly like you'd expect an intentionally emotionally retarded eighteen year old to act, Valens is... the evil that exists to oppose other evils, and Matthew... poor Matthew. He's such a nice boy. He's got Hamlet Issues, Matthew does.
Which does leave a few. Sebastien and Jack Priest are good men, and Sebastien certainly deals with his, er, special needs more successfully than Tribute does his. And Jack is just delightful. Of all my characters, I adore him the most.
The other Jack--Jackie--and Stewart have their moments of denial, but they're good eggs, doing their job the best they know how. Gabe Castaign is pretty much a profoundly decent human being, his temper aside. Autumn and Annie and Lily are all much better people than they have to be, or, really, than you would expect of them.
Fyodor Stephanovich... I love Fyodor Stephanovich. He's not good. He's not nice. He's just right. Morgan, too, though Morgan is even less nice than Fyodor is. Morgan is the Not Nice. She's the witch; we're the world.
Jack Priest and Leslie are the characters I'd probably most like to be. Funny, nurturing, sharply intelligent, accomplished in their own ways, unconcerned with what anybody thinks of them. As for the characters I am most like, the actual author-insertion characters? Elspeth the pacifist, who alternates the paralysis of being afraid to decide wrong and hurt somebody (though she's also kind of parody Mary Sue, with her multicolored hazel eyes and her Giant Brain and the way everybody likes her--but I got away with it because she was chubby, I think) with snap decisions that maybe are or aren't so good. And Matthew, who lets himself be swept along by events, taken advantage of, underestimated, and can't get out of his own damned way to save his life.
They both pull it out in the end, more or less, though, so I guess I have a soft spot for myself after all.