In Kate Paulk’s Con Vampire series, she has the forces of evil gather at science fiction conventions.
Now, part of that is necessity of the set up. Her character is a vampire who hangs out at science fiction conventions because there really is no natural light inside the hotels, as long as he’s careful, and it beats sleeping all day and wandering the empty streets at night.
So, of course, the big bad will also have to be at the cons.
But she has a good explanation nonetheless (because she is a good writer.) And that is that SF in particular gathers most of the Odds and that the Odds dream the future for the normal people who can’t conceptualize it, and you break the back of the optimists in the world.
Now, if this were true, she’d be 30 years too late, at least. At that, it’s got better with indie, and of course, Baen was always a haven of relatively sane science fiction.
I don’t know about you but I remember screaming something like “I’m so tired of rusty futures” in the late 80s.
Of course, by the nineties, I was getting it both directions: the books I bought all assumed dire post-apocalypse or dystopia ahead. And the writers’ groups were even sillier. People were writing characters in 2010 having to continuously wear masks outside because of the pollution. And meanwhile I was screaming “WHAT POLLUTION? Y’all are way cleaner than Europe.”
Or it was 20 years in the future and everyone was living under underpasses and only owned a shirt. I kept looking back and trying to figure out when the bomb had hit EVERYWHERE, because dudes, even if we have a major crash ahead — and we do — our material wealth isn’t going to VANISH.
You’re not going to be in the situation I was in, as a kid, where our family owned ONE SHARP KNIFE. It had been sharpened so often it was almost as thin as paper, but mom used it for everything nonethless, because knives were EXPENSIVE.
You’re not going to be saving pins and needles like gold, and owning a limited number, because most of us have thousands in the house. We could subdivide twice and it still wouldn’t be scarce.
You’re not going to have people living in used container boxes. Not unless they want to. Because I don’t care what they told you, but there isn’t a massive overpopulation crisis that will require a bazillion new houses built faster than we can accommodate. Not for 20 years or so. In fact, with commercial buildings becoming less needed we’re more at risk for ghost towns.
And yet, a recent TV series had people in 2030 cramming two to a shipping container.
You see, the problem is that Kate was right. Most people can’t project the future at all. Instead, they get the idea of what the future is from things they catch in the air, which in turn is things that Odds and Futurists (BIRM) think are coming, and which pervade Science Fiction.
(In trad pub, except Baen, they enforced this, too. Which is why I never sold science fiction elsewhere. “This can’t be the future. There’s no overpopulation.” “What about the depletion of resources? They’d all be poor” or “It can’t be set 500 years in the future. If there are still humans we won’t even look the same.”)
The crazy internationalist agenda, demanding we eat the bugs, trying to cram us into giant non-funtional megalopolises, wanting us to use electrical everything because “we’re running out of oil?”
This is the science fiction of the seventies and eighties coming through. And because it was based on a bunch of popular, very badly figured out “non-fiction” they piously believe we have too many people, and we’re running out of everything, and they want us to live the future they were promised.
I suggest you hoist middle fingers aloft, and give it to them good and hard.
They were sold a lie! The future is more prosperous than they can dream.
We’re Americans. We come from the future, and we’re going back there.
Yeah, yeah there’s going to be a little inconvenient contraction for a little while, and we might have to eat the bread the devil kneaded for a couple/ten years.
But in the end, America will be prosperous again. And we’re going to the stars. If nothing else to spite everyone who doesn’t want us to. Because we’re G-d’s own bastard children, and we don’t recognize the authority of these so called experts.
We can dream our own futures, thank you so much. And we’re going to dream they bright and shiny and prosperous.
Let’s leave the rust in the past and embrace the amazing future.
Ad Astra per Aspera!