Thursday, March 23, 2006

Future Farmers of America

Remember way back when I said I was working on an erotica piece? Well, I sold it. It will be appearing in Periphery -- Erotic Lesbian Futures (tentative title) under my OTHER name, along with such other amazing and talented writers as: Nicola Griffith, Catherine Lundoff, Gwyneth Jones, Marianne de Pierres, Cecilia Tan, and Melissa Scott.

This short story was really hard for me to write. I mean, it was just a pain in the ass (and not in the fun erotica way, either). I think it went through three complete drafts and took me three months to hammer out. What's funny about it is that the sex in it got less and less graphic the more I rewrote it. It went from fairly hot to what they'd call in the romance genre "sweet."

The reason the blog title is what it is because in one of its previous incarnations "istartu" (the name of the short story) had its climatic scene (yes, in the fun erotica way) on a farm. I ended up changing that for the final version because it wasn't terribly important to the plot, and in fact, had simply given me an excuse to meander through the scenery for a while.

Anyway, I'm kind of sad I ended up axing that now, if only because I don't think you see enough African-American lesbian farmers in science fiction.

Seriously, I was thinking about this in terms of what we talked about in class last night (which was overused F&SF cliches). One of the things we left with was the fantasy cliche of a world which appears to only produce adventurers and no one actually does the labor required to sustain a viable economy. I started thinking -- are there are lot of farmers in space? Not really. Okay, Luke Skywalker was a moisture farmer on Tatoonine. But, the farm existed as something to escape. I mean, it had to be literally torpeodoed for him to get his butt off-world and on to the work of becoming another science fiction/fantasy cliche -- the lost heir with the secret powers to defeat the evil empire.

James T. Kirk was from Iowa, but I don't think that should count. (Sorry, JPJ!)

Seems to me the girlfriend in "Vampire Hunter D" lived on a farm in the future (complete with ravenous mutants as a kind of stand-in for the coyote/wolf), but for some reason monsters and farms go hand-in-hand. (I just watched "Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Wererabbit." What a hoot! And also all about monsters and farms -- or at least veg!)

On a whim I checked into Adherents (a great resource for religion in SF) and found a few entries under Amish in Science Fiction. But, there's not a lot.

Of course, Serenity/Firefly had a kind of rancher feel to it, but I think that's one of the reasons a number of SF fans couldn't really grok it. The whole farm/frontier thing rang too much of Westerns, than SF.

I wonder why farms and farmers have not had their day in SF? I mean, I had some fun imagining farming in the future. (I went for the bio-dome myself). Anyway, I think that there's a lot about the current state of farming, particularly in America, that lends itself well to a dark, cyberpunk future. My sense is that family farms are becoming a thing of the past -- and who better to be a villian in a cyberpunk story, but THE CORPORATION??? It's not like farming isn't fraught with conflict and tension.

Maybe I should challenge myself to write an SF story that takes place on a farm of the future.


1 comment:

jpj said...

And here I thought "Future Farmers of America" was a reference to the great Philip Jose Farmer who is often considered to publish the first erotic SF story, "The Lovers" in 1952. So future publishers of erotic SF could be called "Future Farmers."

Speaking of the 1950s, one of Heinlein's juvies was FARMER IN THE SKY about how future farmers would terraform Mars.

Historically yours,