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Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Why I'm Jealous of Sci-fi Writers
Though I guess it should be "Why I'm Jealous of Sci-fi/Futuristic Writers," but you understand.
Tonight's two-hour strand of hopefuls wailing their small-town-American hearts out (aka, American Idol. Is it just me, or is the pool of talent shrinking?) was interspersed with commercials for the nightly news. Weather, bank robberies, car accidents, custom made babies, fundraiser benefi-- wait, what? Yep. Custom made babies.
Let that sink in.
Custom. Made. Babies.
My first reaction was "Seriously? They can-- with the genes-- and the children-- all right. I guess they are serious. Weird."
But the more I thought about it, the more my reaction slipped from "weird" to an odd sense of awe and wariness. This will take some background info:
In my mind, there are three "time periods" people write, regardless of the actual genre/setting of their novel. They can write in the past (their novel has a distinctive "historical" feel, ie: people wear dresses/breeches, lack electricity, fight with bows and arrows and swords, or it actually takes place in history); they can write in the present (their novel has the "modern" edge to it, up-and-coming technology, or literal modern-day references); or they write in the future (advanced technology, post-apocalypse, etc).
I've always been a past-novel girl. For some reason, my mind is set in the ways of sword-fighting and dress-wearing, and the majority of my worlds resemble medieval Europe. Don't get me wrong; I adore my worlds. I couldn't imagine my characters traipsing through any other style of life (and when I do write novels set in modern/futuristic societies, I have one heck of a time getting the world fixed in my head). But I've always harbored a secret jealousy of those who write futuristic novels, and here is why:
Custom made babies.
One more time:
I'm not sure where I stand on the whole being-able-to-pick-your-child's-eye-color debate yet, but what I do know is a wwhhhoollleee lot of futuristic/sci-fi writers were bouncing up and down on their couches tonight, temporarily forgetting about the atrocity that was some of the American Idol contestants, when they saw the snippet of tonight's news. "Custom made babies?! That was in the novel I wrote last year! Honey, hit 'record' while I call my agent!" Right before their eyes, their novels are dancing across their television sets. That story they slaved over for months, maybe years, that started as a far-fetched fantasy about what the future looks like in their head, is real. Real. They'll get to live their book.
That's why I envy sci-fi/futuristic writers. I've accepted that I'll never see a news blurb about sediment-stealing pirates (unless, of course, it's something along the lines of "Novel about sediment-stealing pirates flies off bookshelves! Story at eleven."). But sci-fi/futuristic writers have the hope that one day their stories won't be just stories. That they'll end up like that creepily accurate book Futility, without all the death. And having that hope, that one day you'll be able to see you're story walking around, is awesome. And terrifying. And awesome. And terrifying.
I'm certain only more creepy news blurbs will guide us into the future. But if we all write futuristic novels, it won't be as scary...maybe.
Shameless plug: Two days left to enter Book Trailer Contest #2! Hurry, hurry!