In the last week or two I have been getting a lesson in how wide even a small space can be.
Now those of you who know me well, will know that I don’t do crowds. The trip into London was pure purgatory for me (that’s Cambridge above, and Wales above that. I did not take any pictures in London.). For many people, that IS the UK – London, cities, thronging people. Now don’t get me wrong I know full well there are people who love it, love the bustle, the shops, the surge of people around them. And they are welcome to it, I wish them every kind of joy in it – so long as they don’t want me to be there – or to pretend I like it. Oh some of the buildings are pretty enough, but once seen (or even not seen) I am happy to be with the sheep in the emerald field.
It occurred to me what an apt metaphor this was for the genre of sf and various sub-genres -they may look as narrow and shadowy and crowded as those streets, especially when viewed through the eyes of those who love that environment. But really they don’t have to be. They’re as varied and different as the imagination of the author.
My own foray into Steampunk (CUTTLEFISH and THE STEAM MOLE) are into a steampunk subgenre – but they’re mostly set in the wide open parts of the world (and yes, they do reflect my opinion of coal, and it’s written from the POV of a biologist. (And no. It’s not about carbon dioxide. Soot yes. But it’s not PC to mention soot. The West has cleaned up its soot. The East and Third world have not. ). I know, there are always the self-elected gatekeepers who try to keep wrongthink out (who wander the the internet to bludgeon the ‘unrighteous’ with their version of the narrow truth – like the troll Hyrosen who showed up here – but really they are (despite their lynch mobs and pile ons and attempts at exclusion) fairly powerless against writers. I think they find this infuriating.
So if there is something I’d like you take from my adventures on this small island is that even the narrowest small subgenre of the imagination is bigger than anything they can limit you to.
It can be as open as this (Idwyll Slabs, Wales)
Or as chocolate-box as you please (Ogwyn)