Around the middle-ish of last week, my Kickstarter copy of Sunvault arrived.
Now, Sunvault is a "solarpunk" anthology and when the Kickstarter launched I was all for
the concept as explained by the publishers then, because the general gist could be boiled down to "cyberpunk but with an ecological bent and we're gonna fight to un-dystopia the place because wallowing in grimdark misery is not fun yo RISE UP" and bloody hell is that notion basically my jam. More diverse settings, people, etc etc.
It also wasn't going to be all perfect hearts and flowers -- one of the examples of "solarpunk" given on Upper Rubber Boot's blog was Paolo Bacigalupi, whose short works I'm very fond of and then I was surprised how hard I bounced off of The Wind-Up Girl
because, meh, gengineered sex worker is not my bag and the book didn't have the verve of the short-form I'd read. But this was nonetheless a good sign for me also. It said (then) that things could even be post-apocalyptic or fighting losing battles as long as people were fighting
those battles and doing it for each other. I am all in
for that shit.
... You all know there's a 'but then --' coming, don't you.
But then, with the Kickstarter ending/ed and the submissions call rolling (and yes I did submit a work, which had some significant fuckups; most notably accidentally using a surname from a Syrian politico because I didn't check to see if my random stuff actually existed in the real world *facepalms* *has since altered placename*), I started being not so sanguine.
The concept seemed to be rapidly flanderizing into extreme diversity representation above all, and a drive to excise everything but the most ... I don't even know how to describe it, really. But the impression I had by the end of it all is that by the time the project was a wrap, Bacigalupi's work would be considered anathema for not toeing the line. In fannish terms, not "pure" enough.
What bothered me in a different way was watching the sunvault twitter spend the last ~three weeks or so calling again and again and again for more insert-minority-here submissions. Again and again, this was the only drum they banged on. This was and is discouraging.
I sent in mine, and was rejected; I was never told even the vaguest idea why, except that it "wasn't what they were looking for" -- but was that because it wasn't a perfect progressive utopia? (there's some fights in mine, and people get injured; again, see frex Bacigalupi) Because of the name gaffe? (understandable, but I could have changed it then also.) Just not up to par as fiction? (definitely possible, hi I am an amateur author.) Or was it because even after swallowing my distaste for needing to wave a laundry list of where I fit on the progressive minority scales, I wasn't high enough on those scales? Or didn't have enough entries on them? Or something?
So, essentially, what started out as sounding like A Damn Good Thing slowly mutated into a weird purity-utopia cult (from my vantage point) and it makes me cranky and uneasy. And now I have a book that I don't know if I really want to even read, which then makes me feel guilty and kind of like a betrayer because I have Issues[tm]. That and I still
am totally onboard for what this was all said to be initially.
I just want my eco-bio-everythingelse duders fighting against The Man[tm] like any proper child of the 80s, damnit.
Ironically, there's another Kickstarter
currently running, this time for a translation of the very first solarpunk anthology to use the word -- which was a Brazilian specfic anthology and hell yes, I want to read this. So I'm doing it again and going back to the well, because I still want this shit and want it to pick up steam.
But note that this translation team is also running their own anthology, and their submission guidelines seem, again, painfully narrow-focused for a genre and not what I was hearing just a year and a half ago. So I want to see that anthology translation, to -- if nothing else -- find out if it's just my understanding that's off-kilter. (will I submit? probably not; small window, and I'd rather clean up Equinox and add Lion's Teeth to it in that timeframe, which is also a 'real life continues to mess with my shit' timeframe. maaaybe if I have a sudden crazed inspiration for something short. not getting my hopes up this time, though.)
Related: this "hopepunk" thing
is also going the rounds and just reading
this thing is tiring. Look, it's everything that I want
but all wrapped up in some ridiculous performative bull and I can already see potential battle lines being drawn over just what is "real" "hopepunk" and *puts bandsaw through skull*
Basically, coming down to points I guess my point is: why do we need entire fucking genres
-- and performance, and purity, and etc etc -- just to write and read and have media that isn't a fucking cesspit of misery
. Why. I just. Baaaaaah.
(if you haven't yet, go read Kings Of The Wyld
, by the way. this book was fucking everything that these people could have wanted for inspirational and it is fucking amazing
Unrelated but intriguing and awesome, Iraq + 100
is an anthology of science fiction -- the first one from Iraqi authors -- and does exactly what's on the tin: what might Iraq be like in a century?
(Science Fiction in Arabic Literature
The TOR release is dropping on Sept 12 -- this Tuesday -- but there's a 2016 release from Comma Press
on Amazon so I'm guessing this is a wider-release sort of thing and I am all for that. And yes, this is something headed for my mailbox --