Starting Out in the Evening
What do you do in middle age when you find yourself bored with your career and at loose ends personally? What I did was become what I always knew I was: a writer.
This could be called late blooming or less flatteringly, “starting out in the evening.”
I wrote a science fiction novel about love in the age of artificial intelligence called Cel & Anna. It now has a literary sibling, a dystopian fairy tale called Warning: Something Else Is Happening.
Why science fiction? First, because it reflects two longstanding interests of mine: fantasy and the relationships people have with machines. I remember that mid-1990s hinge in history when personal computers were about to change everyone’s life forever and everybody knew it. I was an early adopter of the technology; my first computer was a Mac Plus, circa 1988. And by the mid-1990s, I had been using social media for two or three years.
Yes, there was such a thing as social media in the early 1990s. I was on CompuServe then.
The other reason I write science fiction is more personal. My 20-something self read widely in science fiction and fantasy. She stopped when she entered the world of “responsible adulthood.”
When I write science fiction and fantasy, I meet her again. It is amazing to meet a lost part of oneself and find it whole, intact, and willing to be used. This is a gift I want to share.
Warning: Something Else Is Happening
The title came from my niece Brynn’s linear algebra instructor at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He said it, Brynn wrote it down, and I stole it. Obviously, someone had to write a book to go with such a great title.
Warning is a dystopian fairy tale, which as far as I know is a brand new genre. The novel takes place half in Earthworld, half in Networld. There was no way I could realistically write about the Internet (In the words of my brother the programmer, “How the internet works is fairly complicated.) Therefore, I populated it with fantastic e-beasts.
Why not? Fantasy creatures turn up everywhere else: outer space, forests, oceans, lakes, gardens, kitchens, even machinery (eg, gremlins with a specific interest in aircraft).
My e-beasts have various natures. In general though, they feel about humans the way natives feel about foreign invaders.
In Earthworld, people have got enough problems without being snubbed by e-beasts. The United States was ravaged by another civil war and has been reassembled under the name of the Reunited States. The country is showing signs of coming undone again.
Draw Me an e-Beast
That is a request I throw out to the world at every chance I get, hoping I will encounter a willing artist. I cannot draw and they need to be drawn.
For example, here is a description of an e-beast called a Jackanapes:
A jackanapes differentiated itself from a large pile of garbage and approached with a grin on its horrible maw. Cel [another e-beast] had never seen a jakanapes before. They were crazy-quilt Infimi, put together by no logic and therefore unmaintainable. Reason said they should not be alive at all. Yet here stood a jackanapes, wearing obfuscationary characters, variables, and capital letters like gypsy rags. Little bolts of lightning ran around its body. It spoke loudly in mangled Hungarian.
With bells and whistles jangling, the jackanapes led Cel into a palatial residence.
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Lindsay Edmunds blogs about machine intelligence, books and independent publishing, movies and TV, and life in southwestern Pennsylvania at Writer’s Rest. Drop by, say hello, and share a story or two. She is newly on Tumblr, looking for people to draw her e-beasts and sometimes blogging about old movies, and on Facebook and Twitter.
Her favorite movie of all time is Local Hero. She is a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and in 2012 wrote about MST3K for HuffPost TV.