There will be another post later, but I’m finishing entering edits into Darkship Renegades and I wanted to have this post up ASAP – at any rate this post is needed as a follow up to yesterday’s and yesterday’s discussion of what Human Wave is.
Taking Martin S’s point into consideration, that we don’t want to limit so much as to set free, I decided not to express these as rules, but as “You might be a Human Waver if–” (Now if someone can come up with funny drawings…)
Some people LIKE writing grey mush and we’re not forcing them to join our movement or denying their right to write what they very well want, just telling them “That’s your way, that’s not our way” and validating OUR way of doing things. For too long writing what we do has been considered verboten or at best “stupid.” By revealing the philosophical underpinnings of our way of writing, we will hopefully convince some reviewers and critics to consider that our way is as valid as what has been accepted as expression in Science Fiction and Fantasy (and other genres as well, because at least some of these apply there too.) More importantly, by codifying and giving our principles a name, we will free other people to try it out. And by linking our blogs and cross publicizing, we will perhaps confer upon our congeners a little advantage that, in these transformational times, might be enough to – if not surpass – at least stand up well next to the establishment mode of writing.
First – who CAN be a Human Waver?
Writers, of course, but also critics, reviewers, people interested in the future of science fiction and even (just) readers. In these days of distributed connections and influence, “mere” readers who consciously decide to highlight the parts of the Human Wave that attract them in their Amazon reviews, or even to refer to the author as joining the Human Wave movement can do as much to publicize and expand and – yes – legitimize the movement as any of the professionals.
Now… If you’re one of those above
YOU MIGHT BE A HUMAN WAVER IF
- You like to write (or read) stories in which someone wins.
- You don’t think just making someone white, black, Asian, Hispanic, any other race or sub-race, alien, human, straight, gay, Western, non-western is enough to make him a villain.
- You don’t think just making someone white, black, Asian, Hispanic, any other race or sub-race, alien, human, straight, gay, Western, non-western is enough to make him a victim.
- You don’t think the purpose of a story is to deliver a message. (The story can have a message, but that should be subordinate to the characters, plot, events, and it shouldn’t leave the reader feeling like he just read a very long pamphlet.)
- You think a great story can touch the chore of humanity and the human experience without being relevant to current political events or polemics.
- You think something should happen in a story. Or something should have happened, the aftereffects of which are reverberating through the characters. (It can work for short stories.)
- You think the writers’ job is to write and sell stories – not to (pick one) educate, elevate, raise the consciousness of the public, change the world, stop a war, start a war or any other quixotic, grandiose and unlikely aim. (If you achieve any of those, great, but you won’t if you don’t sell. And if you “just” sell a lot, the Human Wave movement salutes you.)
- As a writer, you are humbly aware that readers are sacrificing their beer money for your story. As a reader, you don’t feel you owe a writer and have to read a book that’s a hard slog or no fun at all.
-Update: You might be a human waver if you think Science, technology, guns commerce and even success are not inherently evil
(THANK you to Dave Freer for that last one which, yes, is important.)
- As a writer, reader, critique or reviewer, you do not sneer at success. Yes, in the time when push worked, it was possible that a “mega block buster” simply made it because of distribution and access. But barring that, if a book is selling, it is because people like it. Congratulate the writer and move on. If your wish is to tell people what they SHOULD like for their own good, then you’re probably NOT a Human Wave writer/critic/reader.
Okay, that should be enough to get you talking. If one or more of you has problems with one or more bits, and can produce a convincing enough reason, I shall remove it. If there’s a glaring omission not covered, let me know.
Things that remain to be done: getting some sort of aggregate site going to which people who identify with we band of brother… er… sis…. Er… siblings can link their blogs.
Someone who will compile a list of reviewers or would-be reviewers who are willing to look at our stuff for the free books.
AND because every movement should have roots, perhaps a reading list of books of our writing forebears which writers/readers might be interested in checking out. I’ll give my list in a comment later, but part of the reason I’d like this is that there are lacunae mile-wide in my reading. Part of the reason I made do with French SF is that there was only ONE SF line in Portugal, it published one book a month. Back list was notoriously hard to get, unless some friend’s parent happened to read SF and was willing to lend you his old collection (yes, I made friendships entirely based on that, like you wouldn’t!). And at any rate, they didn’t translate nearly everything. Which is to say, some of the names you guys bring up I’ve only vaguely heard of and never read. For me and for the young as well as for those who will discover SF through us, a reading list of classics might be worth it.
Update 2 – I don’t think I’ll do another post today, unless it’s late at night. Revised manuscript sent. Chapters of Witchfinder to get in shape for human (and dragon) eyes. Might happen, but I doubt it. It’s too bad since I wanted to do a post on how to dissect trolls.