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March 12th, 2007

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.