Tuesday, September 04, 2012

More About Worldcon

A couple of panels got me thinking. I was on one, the one that drifted off topic. It was on alternative histories. I suddenly realized the obvious connection between alternative histories and time travel stories; and I also realized -- having just read over all my Big Mama stories, most of which involve time travel -- that I don't believe history is chaotic the way weather is. I may well be wrong. But my belief that history has tendencies, which are not easily changed, underlies my fiction. That was good to know.

The panel refused to discuss why alternative history is so popular, which bothered me. I am interested in that question. Apparently no one else was. I got Jo Walton to talk about why she wrote the Small Change trilogy, and I talked about why I wrote "Mammoths of the Great Plains." The audience was obviously uninterested. They wanted to talk about what would have happened if Eli Whitney had not invented the cotton gin.

The other panel that got me thinking was on the relationship between SF and "mainstream" or "literary" fiction. This is a topic that gets me fired up. (See posts below.) And I'm not entirely sure why. So I keep thinking about it.


Blogger Foxessa said...

Weather also has tendencies and underlying causes!

Your insight as to the similarity between time travel and alternate history is so obvious, i.e. so right, that one goes duh -- except one didn't think of it, until you did!

For historians, alternate history, or the ever-popular detour into what we refer to as counter-factuals, too often derails the consideration of what did actually happens, and thus living with the consequences of what we did.

For instance, the alternate history of vampires being the cause of slavery feels to historians of slavery as providing to so many an excuse to talk of what didn't happen as opposed to what we, human beings, actually did and are responsible for. And a lot of people prefer that.

This is something I've been thinking about for a long time, and writing about. It's considered heresy in certain genre circles. But I am a natural born heretic, I guess, in just about everything!

Love, C.

8:02 AM  

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