The problem with writing science fiction is that what was once fiction is rapidly becoming reality. Writers have to stay ahead of the actual science. In Bradbury’s time, the concept of space ships and aliens were so very fictional. Now? Not so much. Oh, sure, we’ve not found aliens yet but we’re finding more and more planets and several that are within that “Goldilocks zone”.
There’s actually two kinds of science fiction. There’s the ‘soft’, which is the science in the book may or may not be actually, physically possible. And there’s ‘hard’ where the science is actually quite possible or is provable. I’m no where smart enough to write hard fiction.
Which brings me to my point. I’m writing a science fiction novel. I have tried this one before but it didn’t feel right and I ended it on this really out-of-nowhere over-the-top ending just to put it and myself out of my misery. I have another one, too, but it is in perpetual research and I sincerely doubt it will ever be written. But I love the research part! Anyway, back to the story at hand. I decided one of the problems with the original story is that it was too far removed from the emotional impact I felt it needed. Some big stuff was happening, emotional stuff, and I just never got the reader close enough. So I put on my Big Girl Pants and am rewriting it in first person.
Gasp! Say it ain’t so! However will you limit yourself to just one viewpoint? Are you even capable of it?
It is so. I do indeed feel very limited. There are some behind-the-scenes stuff that I cannot show and it irks me. And yes, I am very capable of writing in first person. It ain’t easy but I’m doing it. And I feel like I am doing a darn good job. And, by george that emotion is right there. Raw and available for the reader to soak up. In my humble opinion, that is.
And I watched the one that gave a far too brief introduction into the Universe As I Now Know It. In a span of a few hours, I’d gone from a pre-med student who kinda sorta knew SETI existed to being able to tell SETI where to aim their radio telescopes. Except those telescopes no longer existed. Nothing on Earth existed anymore. My apartment. My bike. The very expensive stacks of textbooks. My parents’ graves. All of it, gone.
I was in the kitchen, pacing. I even picked up the chair and considered throwing it. I guess I got myself all worked up. I felt a kind of pinch on my shoulder. My vision narrowed and I felt myself falling.
And then I woke up again.
I had hoped that when I opened my eyes, I’d see the white ceiling in my apartment. Or maybe the brown ceiling in Jose’s. I’d hoped that perhaps maybe wouldn’t it be great if I had been dreaming. But, no, it was that sickly, institutional gray-green instead. It was not a dream. I was back in the infirmary.
It was a small room. Just a toilet, a small counter and a tiny sink. In the toilet was a bluish water like in port a-potties. But it sure didn’t smell like one. There wasn’t much smell at all. I sat down to do my business and opened the small box. Inside was a simple bar of soap that smelled like lavender. I sniffed that soap like I was huffing spray paint. That smell, a very familiar smell, was real. The soap felt slick. That was real. My pee was warm and the sound of it hitting the toilet was real. I liked real things with real sensations.
I finished my business, flushed the toilet and washed my hands. I must have washed them about five times. I marveled at the lather, at how much just a few rubs of the soap on my palm could produce. Very real lather and very real water that washed it away.
It felt good to move at a fast pace. It felt good to sweat. It felt real like the water and the soap. My breasts were not comfortable flopping about as I jogged but I accepted the discomfort as another sign I was alive and real and whole. Tears wet my cheeks as I thought of jogging through Fairmount Park. Of how the sounds of the kids yelling, of the softball game, of the wind in the trees, the roar of the river. I thought of jogging along the river and watching the scullers. Gone. All of it gone.
The floor came up to meet me and I rolled off the treadmill. The alien wall on the alien ship in outer space was a far cry from jogging in a park. Crying, however, no matter where you do it, hurts just as much. At some point I felt someone come in and leave. Shortly after, or hours later, I couldn’t tell, someone picked me up but I fought them. I didn’t want to be comforted. I didn’t want to be consoled. I wanted to cry, dammit. I wanted to be miserable. I wanted to scream. When I felt something on my shoulder, I jerked away from it. I must not have gotten the full dose because even though I was dizzy as hell, I still was able to move away from…I didn’t know who it was. My vision was blurred by the tears and the swelling of my eyelids.
Up ahead near a large empty space where this aisle and an equally wide one sideways one met stood a crowd of women. Human women. I started smiling. I looked over at Julie and she, too, was grinning big. Humans. Awake humans.
We were mobbed by smiling, laughing, crying, hugging humans. Soft flesh, naturally warm. Bare skin, featherless and smooth. Light skin, brown skin, skin so black it reflected light. Hair. Brown hair, black hair, blonde, red, colors in between. Curly, straight, short, long, bouncy, flat, wonderful hair. Lovely women. Everyone of us a lesbian. It was better than any Indigo Girls concert could have ever been. It was orgasmic without the mess but just as wet. We all were crying. Happy, joyous tears of recognition in people I’d never met.
How long we all absorbed each other, I have no clue.
I have managed to bang out over 36K words so far. I did my usual stumbling at about mile marker 25K but Precious and I did a brainstorming session at Blue Mountain Pizza and I worked out some of the plot holes.
I know several folk would wish I would finish another Butch Girl book. Hell, I wish I could, too! But for some reason, they just don’t feel right. And no, I’m not even going to contemplate doing them in first person. I ain’t that stoopid.