The Locus Recommended Reading List for 2013 is up here. For once, thanks to my mighty e-reader and the easiness of downloading magazines as they come out, I'm a little more au fait with many of the works mentioned. As I scan the list this year, I can nod in approval, frown with disapproval, tut-tut and cheer, making it a far more participatory process.
And while you're over at Locus, stop for a quick read of Kameron Hurley's essay 'Making Excuses for Science Fiction'. I've been there. I still find myself there from time to time if I carelessly wander during a conversation. Mostly I just avoid telling people outside a certain group that I write because then they'll want to know what I write, and I don't want to go there because, like, you know, they wouldn't understand! Or so I tell myself. And often it's true - I can see the odd expressions on their faces. Mostly, it's just too hard.
Kameron Hurley also tackles geeky elitism as part of the problem, and wisely writes:
Yet I contributed to this very narrative about my work. Instead of talking about my books as serious (or at least fun) literature, I found myself falling into the same self-conscious trap I had as a kid, when I muttered about how I was writing a story about an expedition to Venus where the volcanos erupted with flowers. I said stuff like: ‘‘Oh, you probably won’t like it. It’s pretty weird,’’ or ‘‘It’s not for everyone,’’ or ‘‘You’ll only like it if you read a lot of science fiction.’’I anticipated their reactions, and pulled my punches.
One might think I said these things in a pure fit of shame. But as I got older and moved in geekier and geekier circles with folks who loved the same books I did, I recognized that some of this was not shame, but pride. There was some elitism in it of the, ‘‘People like me just get this and you won’t’’ variety.That’s not pulling a punch. That’s punching yourself in the face.
And yet it all just boils down to telling stories and readers hopefully enjoying them. Why, oh why, must we complicate things?