Investing in Futures

A few weeks ago I came across Investing in Futures, “a project which helps you imagine future worlds (wild, impractical, idyllic, and utopian) and what it would be like to live in them.” As a writer, I immediately latched onto the idea and became a backer.

Then they sent out a digital copy for playtesting. And, of course, I eagerly played.

So here’s my thoughts and findings. Will you, too, invest in futures?

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The Quest for Queer Lit

I was hanging around the guilds on HabitRPG when another user gave a heads up to queer writers: Have you heard about Strange Horizon’s “Our Queer Planet” issue?

The sci-fi e-zine is hosting a celebration of queer identity, specifically looking for “work that explores intersectional queer imaginaries and experiences around the world,” with an emphasis on stories set on Earth (timeline variable). So I looked through my past fiction, and some of my best sci-fi stories feature gay male leads or gender-non-binary aliens–but none of them take place on Earth.

So, I decided, I’ll just have to write something new.

But then, I asked myself, what’s queer literature?

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The Sci-Fi That Should’ve Been

Some things we can’t choose–our skin color, our parents, our aptitude for eyesight and how soon we need glasses, or perhaps how soon we lose our hair, or perhaps how long it takes us to remember what we were doing before we completely forget it. But some things we can choose–what we consume, how we spend our time, what we study.

This isn’t a list about choices. This is a list about all those things chosen for me–things that maybe I would’ve done differently had I the foresight to know better, the insight into my own destiny as the world shaped it for me.

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Dreams and Nightmares

I once had a dream that when I started college I’d write a story set on campus. It’d start with a student, like me, who had friends, like I wanted, and there would be magic and monsters and–to make it all relevant–it would be built around campus lore. That ghost in the tower? The girl who supposedly had the affair with the teacher and killed herself? She’d be the beginning–but surely not the end.

In a way, today, this dream came true.

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Everbody Dies in the End

Being in college is awesome. Not only do you learn a lot of cool things, you also get a lot of free stuff: Free food. Free transportation. Free t-shirts. Free reusable plastic cups. Free frisbees. Free computer labs, library resources, and wi-fi. Free clubs and free leadership training.

Free. Free. Free.

(Okay, so I know it’s not really free–that’s what your tuition and fees go toward–but since I’m not paying out of pocket each time they toss something in my general direction, it feels free. That’s good enough.)

One of the best things, though, hasn’t been free at all: the Campus Cinema. Over the past month, for less than I would’ve spent to see one new release at any other theater, I’ve seen four films–and they’ve all been so great collectively, I’d like to share my experiences with you.

It begins with a fairytale, and in the end, everybody dies.

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Hook Lines or Sinkers

Transitions are tough. Just look at me–I’m moving from one college to another, I’m living out of the house for the first time ever, and I’m actually (yes, it’s true!) starting to drive on actual roads. It’s a lot to handle. A lot to sort through and make sense of. In this melting pot of emotions, I somehow have to sort through all of these new feelings and figure out what they are–am I excited? Nervous? Some mix of the two? It’s not always easy to tell. Am I busy because I genuinely need to be, or am I just distracting myself?

Those questions plague a lot of us during times of transition, but do you ask those questions when you edit your story’s beginning? “But it’s the beginning,” you cry, “not a transition!” And that’s where you’re mistaken–the beginning is a transition: It’s the point where the reader transitions into a new world.

If you think moving on campus is a transition, how would you feel about moving into another world altogether?

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