Speculative Fiction Blues

So I have been working this month on my science fiction/young adult series, and the more I write, the more I need to work on world-building.

As someone living in the U.S., I have been amused by the explosion of dystopian YA fiction, mostly because I think it’s a case where truth is stranger than fiction these days, so why compete? Of course, I tend to be a glass-is-half-full or at least, let’s-never-quit-trying-to-fill-the-glass type person, so I don’t think dystopian settings would appeal to me in any case. So my vision for my near-future setting, a century or so from now (or longer?), things are more utopian than dystopian. Or just better than now. I imagine a time when we have figured out how to protect our environment, which is so satisfying to imagine, even if I keep missing some key details.

Much harder is that I’d like this future time to be a place where we’ve improved in terms of issues related to bias and prejudice. While the issues related to gender discrimination are usually easier for me to imagine (universal holistic healthcare/daycare/early education, for example, and superior childcare available at any meeting, concert, educational or public event), I realize how clumsy I am as I try to imagine a world with less bias based on the way race is constructed. I trust myself to recognize the obvious issues, but the subtle ones are much tougher. Plus I may just flub my use of language itself, because while my heart is in the right place, I am a product of our culture, too, so I may not be able to see or articulate a vision as positive as I want it to be.

One solution I am going to try is not to articulate the belief that the issues of discrimination (all the -isms) have been completely addressed, but rather that there is ongoing action to address them. There have been and, I hope, there will continue to be steps forward in terms of a more equitable society, but decolonizing our minds is a project that will last far beyond the next few centuries.

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