speculative-fiction

On the “What would be humans’ weird thing” topic

What if it’s this insane need to over optimize? I mean, look at our competitions.  You can run fast enough for any practical purpose with, like, a few months’ training. And most species stop there, like sane people. 

But not humans. Humans are like, “Oh, well, you can cover a mile in 4 minutes and 3 seconds? Well I can do it in 4 minutes and two seconds!”  

Most species figure that, if you don’t drown when you’re thrown in a liquid, that’s what we call a “good swimmer”.  But humans are like “No, you have to swim in this specific way.  And then we’re gonna see who can do it fastest!”

How many millions of dollars have been spent on technology, nutrition, equipment, not to mention hours upon hours of practice, just to shave 1/10 of one second off of a race time?? 

Or they make up rules, and then compete to see who can adhere to them better. “Strap blades on your feet and move across a slippery surface – but do it in this way, in this amount of time: no more, no less!”

We have competitions wherein the top two competitors differ only in their ability to make a single muscle twitch 2% faster than their opponent, or to make this muscle twitch instead of that one.  There is no practical difference between an Olympic weightlifter and any random US Marine… but we keep holding the Olympics anyway. 

And I just think it’s possible the aliens are going to look at that and go… “You do what, now?”

Here are my World Book Day picks in no specific order. Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five should be in here but I think it’s waddled off into the sunset without me:

  • Catherynne M. Valente - The Orphan’s Tales Vol 1: In The Night Garden
  • Robert Heinlein - Stranger In A Strange Land
  • Rainer Maria Rilke - The Sonnets To Orpheus
  • Arundhati Roy - The God of Small Things
  • Karel Čapek - War With the Newts
  • Frank Herbert - Dune
  • George Orwell  - 1984
  • Margaret Atwood - Oryx & Crake
  • Jack London - White Fang
  • Jane Lindskold - Changer

[animated version here]

ASPEROUS 

[adjective] 

1. rough, rugged, uneven.

2. bitter, cruel, severe, harsh.

Etymology: ultimately from Latin asperitatem (nominative asperitas), “roughness,” from asper, “rough, harsh”.

[Dora Wednesday - Dune: The Spice Must Flow feat. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard (animated version here)]

I can’t explain why but out of all the sci-fi subgenres, time travel is the one that doesn’t spark any interest in me. And it doesn’t make sense? I’ll read historical fiction, so it’s not that. I’ve read time travel that I like (Connie Willis, anyone?) but anything that has the premise of time travel I’m immediately like ehhh.

I just wrote a scene for my thesis and I’m really excited about it! I feel like I found a character who I thought was going to be impossible to find, and I think this is actually going to be a publishable novella that people might want to read! The concept is pretty neat, if I do say so myself, and now that this character is starting to come alive (well… alive might not be the best word…) I think I have a good shot. 

amazon.com
Chameleon Moon - Kindle edition by RoAnna Sylver, Laya Rose, Lyssa Chiavari, Claudie Arseneault. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
Chameleon Moon - Kindle edition by RoAnna Sylver, Laya Rose, Lyssa Chiavari, Claudie Arseneault. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Chameleon Moon.

For anybody interested in RoAnna Sylver’s LGBTQ Superhero Dystopia Chameleon Moon - It’s currently on sale for just 99 cents!  If you haven’t given this book a try yet, please consider it.  It’s a fantastic, character driven book with a lot of good gender/race/sexuality rep, a fun batch of characters, and a plot that emphasizes hope and victory, something I think we all could use these days.

This is just a book series I’m really invested in and that’s brought me a lot of comfort in recent months - plus the author is fantastic all around, loves talking about their book, and really just a joy to talk to.  They have both a sequel to this book available and a new title coming out soon so if you enjoy this, please consider picking those up!

My current read hasn’t sold me. The second part was the strongest, but the first felt tacked on and this third I’ve just begun has drifting into somewhere strange. There’s also been a few red flags that I’m hoping will be addressed (but my hopes are waning a little). However, I can’t ignore just how relevant this book’s speculative future is to current events. I guess I’ll just have to keep reading.

American War by Omar El Akkad

Solarpunk is just as much a utopic fantasy dependent on invisible Macguffin as the Gleaming Atomic future of the 50′s and 60′s.  It’s fantasy is of 100% efficient, clean solar energy that cures all social ills.  This is as much a fantasy as a matter replicator on star trek or the clean and safe nuclear power of the Jetsons

.  Solarpunk’s defined by what’s missing from it’s sunny, stained glass worlds.   Namely, the means of production, the problems of energy storage, ignorance of class inequalities in access to technology, and the miraculous resolution of all social conflict.

Solarpunk is a ridiculous dream as it is now conceived..  If you’re attached to the aesthetic and don’t want to be disillusioned about your nice sun themed fashion lines don’t read on.  Or you don’t want to listen to a cranky person.

Keep reading

All Mixed Characters in a Dystopia

@biology15 asked:

I’ve come up with a dystopian world where everyone is of multiple/mixed races to some extent, including the main characters. The MCs are the heroes but are portrayed by the government as criminals, and, for some time, they also believe that they are criminals too. The president of the country is of mainly European decent, however, she has tan skin, coming from families with North African and East African ancestry as well. And four out of the six main characters have darker skin tones. Would this come off as racism towards darker-skinned mixed people (because they are “criminals” but are actually on the good side), even if there are lighter-toned mixed people on the good side and darker-skinned mixed people on the bad side too?

And everyone in my story is of mixed heritage, naturally, including part-east-asian/part-blacks, part-arab/part-latinx, and so on. Would this in any way come off as fetishization towards uncommon mixed people in today’s world?


Good question. With a dystopian world like that it’s good to really look at your world-building process and ask the right questions. 

  • How did the world turn out the way it did?
  • Why would everyone mix until everyone is mixed race?
  • What happened to the people who don’t want to mix (for any possible reason)?
  • What effect does this “we’re all mixed” situation have on the racism happening globally? (chances of racism being solves are next to 0 to be honest, so really think and do some research to make this realistic)
  • How does this affect the current views on race as a (social) construct?

Personally, I have to say that speculative worlds where everyone is mixed feel very unrealistic to me. I know interracial couples could easily increase over time and be more normalized, but I hardly think all people would let go of their reasons not to. I’ve had people tell them right to my face more than once, as well as seen them on the internet. There’s obviously the people who feel like “race purity” is a thing. The people who feel their or a certain race are superior *cough* white supremacists *cough*

You also have the people who see how other races keep on hating on them and decide to date people who actually appreciate and understand them. I bet there are more reasons on people’s minds, some I’d say good for you while other’s I’d personally want to dump on a faraway island so they don’t ruin the world for the rest of us. Reality is, all of those people exist, so what happened to those groups in your world?

Racism, colorism and anti-Blackness

Your question about the racism against darker-skinned people (colorism) is a good one to ask. Yes, I think colorism would most definitely exist in your world and could even be a hugely popular sentiment. Just think about how anti-Black racism can be found almost anywhere in the world and see how dark-skinned Black people are being treated the worst compared to lighter skinned Black people.

Your country’s leader demonizing your main characters by portraying them as criminals could easily be seen as an act of colorism. It depends on how they treat other dark-skinned people, if the discrimination is systematic and structural, and if and how you portray them in your writing. 

However, with how racism works in our world, many people could easily see this leader as racist or stereotype your main characters, consciously or unconsciously. Good thing to keep in mind. 

Mixed race and stereotypes

Another pitfall are the stereotypes surrounding mixed people that can seep into your writing. Multiracial people are not the epitome of the human race. We are not the answer to ending racism and we aren’t all a clear representation of our cultures and races in terms of our appearances. There are vastly different ways to identify as well. Some identify as one of their races, some as a few and some as all. Some identify as mixed, bi- or multiracial. I bet there could be more. 

Also be careful about the ambiguously brown thing. A common thing with mixed race characters is that writings find ways to omit culture or any sense they might have of their race and how it impacts their identity. They’re only POC in a superficial way. It’s not a problem because such mixed race characters exist, it’s a problem because it’s the norm. It’s a problem because they get whitewashed so easily and frequently. 

On “we’re all mixed”

The whole “we’re all mixed” scenarios leads to and ignores many problems due to (internalized) oppressive views and systems being seen as the default. This is one of the many reasons why many people don’t like it. 

If you want to write such a world, do your research, and ask appropriate beta-readers to check out your story. Be respectful and listen to the people you’re representing as well as the ones whom you’re actively NOT representing. POC often see themselves overlooked and erased from  stories, even their own, so think about how a world where they’ve been consciously taken out (maybe not literally, but that’s how it could feel) feels to POC.

~ Mod Alice

Cosmicpunk

Here’s a little something I came up. Lemme know what you think.

A blend of cyberpunk and solarpunk. Mankind has begun harvesting meteorites and asteroids for their minerals, making buildings and technology out of them. In a twisted version of solarpunk, everything is powered by solar energy, but by draining the energy through a machine, slowly accelerating the Sun’s life cycle by tens of thousands of years every month.