I’d sort of promised myself I wasn’t going to post anything negative here any more, because everyone likes the upbeat, everyone likes the happy. But then I went and spoiled it with a whinge about the Hugo Awards – but then I’ve whinged about them every year since starting this blog. However. Positive, er, stuff. I mean, I’ve read some excellent novels so far this year, I’ve seen some bloody good films, I’ve heard some damn fine albums and even watched some amazing live performances by bands. There’s good stuff there to celebrate. It doesn’t always have to be a total downer.
So much of the positive shit you see plastered across the Internet is just so brainlessly uncritical. Certainly praise where praise is due – but I see so much of it that’s just plain undeserved. I don’t see myself as a negative person (stop laughing), just a realistic one. Sturgeon’s Law may be glib, asinine and way too easy to overuse / misuse, but it wouldn’t have survived this long if there wasn’t some truth to it. But you’d think it was the 10% that was shit sometimes from the way people carry on…
As a result, it’s easy to over-react and be overly negative. And, sometimes, doing that means the important stuff gets overlooked. It’s good that so many on the Hugo shortlists were not white males. But don’t pat yourself on the back just yet, Hugo nominators; because you also put a stupid April Fool fantasy story on the shortlist.
Having said that, it’s not like I don’t celebrate the good stuff when I encounter it. See, here’s a positive review of Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312. And here’s an even more positive one of Gwyneth Jones’ The Universe of Things. And here’s a few words about my choices of the best books, films and albums I encountered during the first six months of the year. My tastes are perhaps not entirely mainstream – science fiction! death metal! weird Polish and Hungarian movies! – but I like to think I value quality and can recognise it when I see it (stop laughing).
There is no recipe, no programme of umpteen steps. Changing things takes stick and carrot. And occasionally a bloody great huge cluebat. It doesn’t happen overnight. When, that is, it happens at all. I like to think I’m doing my bit – not just on this blog, or in reviews on SF Mistressworks and Daughters of Prometheus. But in my fiction too. Not that I’ve been entirely successful – I’ve yet to break into any of the big short fiction markets (except for Postscripts). And a common response to my stories is “what happens next?” Er, nothing. It’s finished; the rest is up to you. Anyway, resolution is so bourgeois. Just like quotation marks around speech (small joke there).
I had a point to this post but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was. It wasn’t “be nice”, because being nice to everyone and about everything only devalues it. Nor was it “be negative”, because if the wind changes you’ll be stuck like that and then no one will be your friend. Be honest – that’s certainly important. Yes, above all, be honest. But I think I shall, as my pulled-out-of-thin-air point to this post, use something said by astronaut Gus Grissom, though it later proved to be horribly ironic:
Do good work.