Sunday, June 14, 2009

Beyond the usual unusual

As readers of SF/F we like to think that we're at the forefront of the unusual, the different, the strange. I sometimes think that, comfortable in our endless stream of colorful and weird imaginings, we miss the truly strange and the truly different in the world that exists around us. Two things that made me think of this recently:

Hulu now offers "The Farm: Life Inside Angola", a film about life inside the Louisiana State Penitentiary, free for streaming. I watched it the other night, and it was a disturbing, haunting, bizarre experience. So many people living lives so totally, radically removed from mine, practically next door. In a structure created by the same society I live in. Many of them with no hope of ever knowing a different life. Talk about imagining the alien - yet the same could happen to literally any of us.

On Twitter, @persiankiwi is microblogging about what's going on in Tehran right now. Iran is a reality far removed from mine on the best of days; today is not the best of days. In the words of Neil Gaiman @persiankiwi's stream is "like an apocalyptic novel played out in tweets". Sobering to think that every day somewhere in the world things like this are happening, while I enjoy the afternoon sun and agonize over whether I should get some Cold Stone.

Just a little perspective to round out a lovely Sunday here in the city.


  1. It certainly can be disconcerting to live the good life while horrific things happen out in the world. Every few months, one news item or another leaves me very aware of just how well off we are over here.

    On a happy note, I received my WOTF check today. I really did not want to go and deposit it. I nearly ended up framing the silly piece of paper before common sense finally kicked in.

    Getting the first paycheck as a writer: I can’t recall how many times I’ve daydreamed about that moment over the last fifteen years.


  2. Haha, trust me, I know exactly how you feel. I seem to recall thinking at 12 that, oh boy, surely I'd be published by 16. Fast-forward a few years. . .

    Enjoy it! And, as I pointed out to KC, don't forget we still have to pay taxes :( :D

  3. I agree. It is sobering to see how truly alien we are -- often right next door to each other. People living totally different, totally odd lives. Some by choice. Others not by choice. Sometimes you see how they live and you say, oh wow, that is so cool. Most of the time I think we shudder and quietly say thanks to the universe for our good fortune. I know I do, especially when I see what's going on in other countries.