Thursday, March 10, 2016

Free-writing Essay

     This is an essay I'm writing cold, within the box here on my blog, rather than in Microsoft Word. I got off work early today and decided that now is a good time to knuckle down, that is, down to the keyboard. In 2012, I had written a paragraph in a writing class about a type of bacteria that evolved to digest concrete. I don't know yet what its waste products would be and it started with a vision in my mind of stranded cars. To explain the stranded cars, I invented concrete digesting bacteria. I did share my idea with the class and, of course, some of the women (they were all women) looked at me as if I were the strangest thing in existence. But that's what they do - all the time. I once shared an idea with a female co-worker about my idea of piercing the Sun with a tube of fusion resistant material (all the way through), thereby allowing transit through the Sun to observe its processes and she reacted most unpredictably. She started telling everyone about piercing the Sun; it was crazy that I had made her run around and talk about my idea. It just seemed so normal to me, but she thought it was monumental. But, when I lent that same woman one of my favorite science fiction novels, she never returned it and never said a word about it. No comment - nothing. That is typical.
     Over the years, there have been instances where I've talked to a woman over a length of time and eventually lent her one of my favorite science fiction books, so we could talk about it. Mostly, I wanted to get her opinion, but the prospect of discussing the novel interested me as well. Never once, not one time, not one at all, has a woman ever returned a book I've let her borrow or mentioned anything about it. These were not low profile books, but considered to be among the "best of the best". I wondered if the women were stupid, retarded, fucked-up, couldn't read, didn't like to read, etc. I wondered all sorts of things, but the one thing that mystified me above all is that some of the greatest writers of science fiction are women. So women do like science fiction, though they are quite scarce. I have two close relatives that read science fiction occasionally - my Mom and my uncle. They read it, yes, but their interest isn't quite at my level.
     So why do I read science fiction? Well, it seems to run in my family, on my Mom's side. My Mom read it a lot when she was younger and so did my uncle, but not their siblings (my aunts and other uncle). Neither did their parents (my grandparents). My Dad and his siblings do not read science fiction. However, my Grandma (my Mom's mom) told me a few years before she died that her dad used to read H.G. Wells. That was very interesting to me. My great-grandfather used to read science fiction. I seem to be something of an anomaly in my family, because I'm the only one that really goes out of my way to read as much science fiction as I possibly can. I don't know anyone that reads as much as I do, nor do I know anyone that has a great passion for science fiction. So who keeps the publishers and authors from going bankrupt? I don't know, but I know they exist.
     What is science fiction? I don't know what it is, but I know it when I read it. I am utterly sincere. I know what it is, precisely, but I can't define it. What is fantasy? Well, it's not science fiction. Those genres differ greatly and it annoys me when booksellers, such as Amazon, group them together. While I can't define science fiction, I can easily define some sub-genres of science fiction. The easiest one to define is alternate reality, which is when some detail about the real world is changed. A good example of alternate reality is "The Man in the High Castle", in which both Germany and Japan defeated the United States in World War II. Another good example is "Bring the Jubilee", in which the South won the Civil War, rather than the North. Alternate reality typically makes for light, though frightening, reading.
     My favorite sub-genres of science fiction are Hard and Humorous. Hard science fiction plays by the rules of physics and typically involves mega-engineering projects or vast changes to the structure of the universe. A good example of hard science fiction is "Dragon's Egg", which speculates how life could exist on a neutron star. Humorous science fiction can be in the form of tall tales, something with a "twist", or just outright bizarre.
     When looking at what intrigues me the most in science fiction, one can see that I greatly enjoy an adherence to rules - and blatant disregard for them. I've been told by a lot of people that I should write for a living. I will admit that I enjoy the process of creating a story because, like the reader, I also don't know what will happen. What I want to write is a mixture of many things. I'm not a strict person, though I am a bounded person. I am bounded by desires. A desire to feel good, a desire to understand, a desire to not be tired and a desire to rest when I am tired. These are simple things, they are hard to achieve and it seems that other people do not desire them, but desire that YOU do not have them. There is another desire and that is the desire to communicate. By having made this blog and through this very post, I am satisfying my desire of communication.

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