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Did You Dance in Your Childhood?

Did You Dance in Your Childhood? - Saturday night. J's birthday. Adults and Children at Thirty: a table of family and a table of mostly gay men. There is a female belly dancer and expressions of confusion and disdain when the former approaches the mostly latter. Everyone loves a cliche. At any rate, after spending some time talking about World of Warcraft (there is a disturbing moment when J introduces D by his name/character and vice versa) and telling C that it was, in fact, the subversiveness of a guild that is predominantly homosexual and called The Spreading Taint that had me agree to J's idea that I should join a guild, I ended up talking with the only young, single girl at the night.

It really wasn't what you think.

"Heinlein?"

"Stranger in a Strange Land!" She is shouting, but we both are. Music, voices. It's shout-talking. Maybe bolding it will be the ticket. "I just love that future society stuff, you know? Brave New World, Orwell's book--"

"But Heinlein?!" I have to learn to be less judgmental. This is what I'm deciding--

"You don't like?"

--Maybe tomorrow. "I can't read Heinlein. It's all bad old school sci-fi. The social thought, the writing--the problem with science fiction is that authors like Heinlein are still in print."

She laughs and leans in to me. "I love it," she says, still shout-talking. The belly dancer music is just beginning again. "I try to get my roommate to read it, but he says it too big!"

"Rightly so. Authors like Heinlein are a bad influence on new authors, especially in sci-fi. You ever read this Eddie Campbell graphic novel called How to be an Artist? No? Anyhow, he has this line, right, how some artists in the comic world just learn to draw so they can keep their childhood hero going in adventures. Taking part in that childhood fancy. That's the thing with science fiction: there's a whole bunch of authors who just got into it so they can work that first buzz they got from Heinlein or Asimov and never realise on everything has--and should have--moved on from that!"

"You make it sound like a bad thing!"

"I really have to work with my judgmental qualities!"

I end on an internal joke, but she laughs, anyway. If she had been the kind of girl who read old Stephen King, I might have given her my theory that a portion of the horror community never left the awkward teen stage, but she doesn't go there, thankfully. Instead, we talk about Zevgeny Zamyatin's We and it's influence on Huxley and where she can probably find a copy, though I think it has dated very badly. Then the belly dancer is there and J has a pole in his belly and is moving up and down opposite her. We applaud because neither of us can do it. At any rate, I know everyone loves a good cliche, and you should know that this young, single girl who liked dystopian fiction, wasn't single. Of course.

Comments

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(Anonymous)
Mar. 11th, 2007 10:59 pm (UTC)
What's wrong with Stranger in a Strange Land?

asks the stranger...pm
benpeek
Mar. 11th, 2007 11:01 pm (UTC)
what's right with it?

:)
kaolinfire
Mar. 11th, 2007 11:06 pm (UTC)
Dystopian fiction makes me so happy. :)
benpeek
Mar. 11th, 2007 11:27 pm (UTC)
everyone loves a dystopia.
bodhichitta0
Mar. 12th, 2007 01:57 am (UTC)
It goes so nicely with my dysphoria.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 11th, 2007 11:07 pm (UTC)
Found it to be an entertaining, thought provoking work, but it has its dated qualities.

...pm
squirrel_monkey
Mar. 11th, 2007 11:08 pm (UTC)
Old-school SF is so stab-worthy... of course there's Bradbury and Simak and Kuttner/Moore, but still. And Heinlein? The mysogyny alone is frightening.
benpeek
Mar. 11th, 2007 11:26 pm (UTC)
i never liked bradbury, but i'm a big leiber fan. i can sit and read his stuff any day of the week.
squirrel_monkey
Mar. 11th, 2007 11:53 pm (UTC)
I like some Bradbury, although not his popular stuff. ANd yes, Leiber is awesome. He wrote my favorite short story ever.
benpeek
Mar. 12th, 2007 12:25 am (UTC)
which is that?
squirrel_monkey
Mar. 12th, 2007 12:41 am (UTC)
"Space-Time for Springers". I cry every time I read it.
benpeek
Mar. 12th, 2007 02:11 am (UTC)
is that the cat one?
squirrel_monkey
Mar. 12th, 2007 02:33 am (UTC)
Yep.
benpeek
Mar. 12th, 2007 03:42 am (UTC)
you're on your own there :)

there's pieces like 'smoke ghost', the mouser/frafhrd novel (and short fiction--all that stuff i love), THE BIG TIME, OUR LADY OF DARKNESS...
(Anonymous)
Mar. 11th, 2007 11:13 pm (UTC)
Can't deny the past.

...pm
benpeek
Mar. 11th, 2007 11:27 pm (UTC)
i reckon there's plenty of examples saying otherwise, i do.
squirrel_monkey
Mar. 11th, 2007 11:55 pm (UTC)
I don't believe saying that the past sucked equals to denying it existed.
ashamel
Mar. 11th, 2007 11:26 pm (UTC)
never left the awkward teen stage

There's a way out?
benpeek
Mar. 11th, 2007 11:26 pm (UTC)
yeah, you have to start writing that preachy, crawl up your own ass fiction of your twenties ;)
jack_ryder
Mar. 11th, 2007 11:28 pm (UTC)
can't we write both and then leave nothing but a cum-stained exit wound behind?

That was my plan.
benpeek
Mar. 11th, 2007 11:29 pm (UTC)
that is so angry teenager.
jack_ryder
Mar. 11th, 2007 11:32 pm (UTC)
your point being...?
benpeek
Mar. 12th, 2007 12:28 am (UTC)
nothing, i guess. jus' saying.
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benpeek
Mar. 12th, 2007 02:16 am (UTC)
:P

one of these days i'll start putting our conversations on this blog.
benpeek
Mar. 12th, 2007 02:15 am (UTC)
well, everything after i don't like heinlein might be a mix of lies, afterthoughts, and amusement. in fact, that whole campbell bit i just added :)
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