A Sight for Sore Eyes

Soon the third article in my Tor.com column comes out. The last two parts you can read here and here. For this one, I got to read Brave New World for the first time since I was a sophomore in high school. In fact, the copy of it I have *is* my high school copy, complete with a clear Property of Lincoln Park High School stamp on what is left of the cover. When I opened it, the smell of cigarette smoke and aging book paper brought me back 20 in an instant. It’s almost too bad I’d already used time travel as a theme already in the previous article because shit did that make me wistful.

I’ve been super grateful to have the opportunity to write this column. I had never once considered trying to write non-fiction, let alone an entire column, and Sarah Gailey is 100% to blame for it happening at all. I was super nervous about it initially, worried that I hadn’t read widely enough of older SF to be able to write about the history of SF with any confidence, but that’s the thing about any project – I never feel like I know enough about anything I’m writing about, but if I let that stop me, I would never write anything at all. And hey, that’s what research is for, after all.

And boy do I LOVE research, so writing it has been an absolute delight, and I harbor very little resentment that it leaves me no time to work on the two languishing stories I started at Rainforest in February (and we’re not even going to talk about the book draft).  I deeply appreciate the perspective it’s given me not only on major works science fiction and biology, but also fleshing out the larger context of these previously isolated mental data points. It’s also given me an excuse to read a lot of old foundational works of SF I never would have taken the time to read otherwise (what with my massive to read pile of contemporary books I am currently staring at even now with great longing from my couch). Being someone with one foot planted firmly in the sciences and the other in science fiction, having the opportunity to trace how they evolved side-by-side has been completely absorbing.

So my deepest thanks to Sarah for being a marvelous instigator, and to Bridget at Tor for her continued enthusiasm and support of this project. I look forward to continuing to be completely absorbed by it for the foreseeable future.

On the science side of things, my day job sent me out to Jersey City the other week for a meeting, and I got to arrive a few days before to spend the weekend with dear friends for two days of drinking and talking, and got to catch up with Bo and Ben, who it was so good to see after so many years. The work meeting culminated with a glass-domed dinner cruise, where I got to talk all the science talk and admire the Statue of Liberty and the lights of Manhattan by night.

Now I’m working on the next installment of the column, which should come out next month. It’s about mutation and the pulps, all working towards the following column, which will be about science and science fiction’s respective modern syntheses, a theme that is understandably near and dear to my heart.

I’ve got some fun stuff coming up, including a trip back to the midwest for a bachelorette party, a writing retreat followed by Worldcon, and between now and then I’ll turn over another year on the odometer. Can’t wait.

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