Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Imagining a Better Future

[personal profile] starandrea posted a favorite panel suggestion:

"F*** This Grim Cyberpunk Dystopia, Bring Us Luxury Queer Space Communism! Enough with the dystopian, desaturated sci-fi, superheros, schools of magic, and, frankly, real life. Let’s ride a technicolor rainbow to a better, gayer future. Preferably in space. We’ll talk about the canons and fanons that imagine how things could suck less, from escapism to utopia. Why is it important to dream a better future, and what is that future like?"

I've been writing this kind of thing all along. What was once my main science fiction setting, like my main fantasy setting of Hallelaine, dates back to junior high. And yes, it has a queer utopia: the Freedom System, with the lesbian oceanworld Gomorrah and the gay desertworld Sodom and Sanadu station with pretty much everything you can imagine, and a lot of mixing around.

More recently, of course, superheroes have become my most popular work. And you know what? Polychrome Heroics is gay as fuck too. I've been following queer culture all along, and in junior high I was particularly taken by Clark/Lex and Charles/Erik, because I was seeing it happen to some of the kids around me. Which is why Lawrence has a copy of The Joy of Gay Sex, and why he and Stan worked out their differences after a couple years of pigtail-pulling, instead of "All those years wasted fighting each other, Charles."

I realized something the other day. I've been an activist since I was a toddler and my parents explained current issues to me. I've been pestering people about that stuff for decades. While some progress has been made, it hasn't helped much overall. *SIGH* But all along, I've been writing. I've been describing what nicer societies can look like. And especially in recent years, I'm noticing that I have convinced a lot more people to go DO things by telling stories than by marching in demonstrations or writing letters.  

This reminds me of a favorite quote:
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I have long written science fiction this way, as a means of giving people the star-hunger in hopes they will get it up.  Turns out, I'm also good at teaching people to long for saner societies.  In fantasizing about the "food and cheer and song" way of hobbit-life, as superior in the pursuit of happiness compared to greed and violence, I have gotten quite a few people interested in making this world more like that.  \o/

Of course, I still write "here there be dragons" stuff too.  I have dystopias.  But Diminished Expectations and Tripping into the Future are two of my least popular  series.  Maybe the world is bleak enough that people don't want to read more of the same.  They're looking for something different.

I write what you prompt.  I write more of what you buy.  You can help me make anything of mutual interest.  You want luxury queer space communism?  We can do that.  You don't need to fanfic it when you can load it into the canon and launch rainbow fireworks into the sky.  Bring it!
Tags: gender studies, networking, reading, science fiction
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