And I forgot to buy the four mugs I wanted to bring back.
Okay, technically I went to a workshop on how to promote/organize/achieve interstellar travel. And it was great. I was one of the few people with very little technical training, because technical/scientific translation doesn’t help that much. But it did help me to sort of understand what was going on (as did the fact I read everything I can get my hands on about space travel.)
I came back with a reading list and an idea on how to finally start the YA series that a friend (another child of Heinlein) in the aerospace industry gave up an evening to brainstorm with me years ago. Then I got very sick, and it never happened. The funny thing is I have the long list of plots/stories (not a one-character series, as I want a great variety of backgrounds and interests in the kids) but I didn’t have a precipitating incident that sends us to space for the world building. I think I have it now. I have a reading list to deal with before I tell you more.
So, you see why I’ve been absent and when here have posted comments that resemble martian. It took me forever to “update” the intro to scheduled posts because otherwise they come out in martian. (I hate my tablet.)
I confess the whole “I’m having a blog war with posts Sarah put up before leaving for a workshop that’s taking most of her time and mind power” is hilarious. Well, it’s hilarious now that I’ve slept.
The only big problem with the workshop isn’t. The letctures start at 8 am. This is actually pretty good for the east-coasters who do stay up late, but are in their time zone. For us and with three people sharing a bathroom/shower, days started at what our bodies insisted was 4 am. (Next year, if money and time permit will go up a week early and acclimate.) Add to that moderate carousing and fraternization with colleagues, and last night was the first night I SLEPT in a week. And lack of sleep distorts everything, so mostly I felt really annoyed.
Speaking to that topic, I found it hilarious that one of the things I noticed askew from these scientists with long histories in Academia was the insane preoccupation with “who gets to go” to space and the unspoken, un-examined belief that “diversity is essential.”
I will confess right here that I too have written “single race in space” world building. Only in short stories, though, because it doesn’t hold up. The idea of either “We sent all minorities off Earth to stop them making trouble” or “Only white people go to the stars” require SUCH bleak futures I don’t want to GO there for novels.
Space, at least while it’s a pioneer place will HAVE to be a meritocracy, particularly since it’s a “Harsh mistress” and any place we settle, until completely terraformed will require everyone to be fairly sensible and safety minded.
This means that we should pick the best, period. Whether they tan or not is likely to be irrelevant. (Though of course I can come up with planets where it’s very relevant.)
The last thing we should worry about is “who gets to go” and the most important thing to worry about is “who can do the job.” And it will be that way for generations. Pioneers can’t afford the fuzzy thinking of wealthy societies.
Yeah, sure, send (fertile) women because to quote Heinlein, the race must go on, even (particularly) in the face of insanity, and also because single-sex societies very rapidly devolve to Dante’s Inferno, if there’s no hope of ever rejoining larger society.
But do not worry about “a woman’s special way of thinking.” I think in that discussion I actually blurted out “with her brain?” which is my hope for anyone going out to seed humanity away from the rock of our birth.
I do not want to give the idea this was a major part — either time or attention — of the workshop, as it was about 10 minutes of a discussion among one work group to which I belonged. Most of the conference is solid, science-based, technologically inclined and riveting. (Those ten minutes and my response did serve to earn me the adjective “passionate” though.)
The only other thing that bothered me in these discussions was periodic references to “corporations” eclipsing “governments.” You see the dent on my forehead, children? I have yet to understand where the idea of “magical, evil corporations” comes from. Well, maybe from working for them. Whenever Dan worked for a large corporation, they all functioned like communist governments or the Rome of the Empire, which means centralized, inefficient and (in the limber-versus calcified stakes) about as capable of real movement as a fossilized dinosaur.
BUT the point is that a corporation is an entity CREATED and supported by governments. It is the government (usually state) that grants them their status. Multinational corporations have to get status in several countries. Without that they can be many things (and probably will be limberer — totally a word, shut up — since a lot of their insanity is the regulations requiring they act in certain counterproductive manners) but they won’t be corporations in “law and fact.” And as for their going out of the rock first? Well, one wonders how they’d mutate. BUT again, they wouldn’t be corporations. Not as we know them. Yes, they could be unimaginably worse little (or big) nation states with the power of high and low justice, but they’d not be corporations AS WE KNOW THEM.
If it sounds like I spent a lot of my time annoyed, that last one doesn’t even rise to annoyance, it was more an internal (do I explain what they’re doing wrong? Nah.) calculation, but I had to say it somewhere, so I’m saying it here.
I did find out/learn far more important things, but those will take a little time to digest. And I have a few short stories to write related to it, but RIGHT NOW I have two novels to finish.
And I’m prepping Sword and Blood (which reverted) to go up for pre-order tomorrow (HOPEFULLY) and live next Saturday.
So, I go back to work. More as I go over notes and think of stuff.
(I have two guest posts waiting that I think relate to the topic (from skimming) and since both commenters are old hands here, I’ll probably run, though I’m not going to have the time or patience not to mention interest (I don’t care. What people yell about in their own blogs is their business. If they come here, I’ll let the huns eat them, but in their own places? Their business.) to engage in that bucket of warmed up insanity.