I have to confess up front: I don’t like post-apocalyptic stories. I don’t like them because watching my favorite characters struggle for survival hits too close to home. My daily experience is one of life and death in a microcosm–work can be very stressful at times. I have to make decisions and live with the consequences. So while I can appreciate finding common ground with favorite characters within a television show, I typically look for something lighter in my home entertainment.
I might be changing my tune soon.
I’ve spent this past weekend immersed in the fandom of Battlestar Galactica, and though I can legitimately call myself a fan through my love of the original show (which had me writing fanfiction for it, though I didn’t know at the time that this is what I was doing), I had some qualms about coming to Galacticon 3. Would it be all about the new series–of which I’d only seen half? Would it make fun of the original series that I adored so much, even as I can see now the inherent cheesiest within? I didn’t know.
I needn’t have worried. I met some of the most interesting people that I’ve ever encountered at a convention before. Young fans, even people who couldn’t have possibly watched the re-imaged series when it was on five years ago. Old fans, who embraced the original series with the same love that I had done. Science fictions fans have always struck me as being some of the most open-minded and tolerant people I’ve ever met–and I think it is because fans of the genre are open to the concept of alien cultures and different ways of thought. However, I was pleasantly surprised by some of the conversations I had with the most unlikely of people.
On a bus ride to the Johnson Space Center, Anna and I had a conversation with a fellow writer and historian, who despite being a native Texan and a white male of a ‘certain age’ decried the actions of the media and the GOP in demonizing the President and how everything boiled down to the protection of privilege and power—and that the things the GOP is telling us that Obama is trying to do cannot happen–there are checks and balances in places to prevent one man from making these kinds of sweeping changes that the GOP insists Obama is trying to do. The fact that he is African-American adds a frisson of terror to the scare-mongering–the threat that the era of the White Male Supremacy is over. It was an astonishing and enlightening conversation to have–but I did discount it slightly because, well, he was riding a bus on a Galacticon tour.
And yet, astonishingly, I had another conversation with a native Texan that completely blew me away. Anna and I had entered the crowed bar the first night on our arrival–and not finding a table, she’d asked this man and his young adult son if we could join them. We’d covered the usual ground (what we were doing there, where we were from, etc) by the time his wife joined us–and then Anna boldly stated that we wrote M/M romance and were there to promote our work while hosting a writing workshop.
I could have died.
I wanted to take her by the arm and tell her we didn’t do that sort of thing in America. Not in Texas. To my utter surprise, not only were the parents receptive (the son was definitely distancing himself from the whole thing) but the wife took our contact information to give to her daughter who wanted to be a writer–and the father stated that his brother was gay. The next thing I know, we’re discussing why we write M/M romance and how yes, his brother might potentially want to read it.
Wow. Just wow. Because of my own blind spots, never in a million years would I have broached such a subject. Because Anna is from the UK, it probably didn’t occur to her to be circumspect about the sort of writing we do. And if I’d followed my own prejudices and biases, I’d have never had this conversation. And I’d have missed out on a wonderful opportunity to share with someone that there is a whole genre out there that his brother or daughter might be interested in learning more about. I found myself handing out business cards to someone that I would have assumed on meeting that he and I would have nothing in common–and I would have been wrong.
I’ve never been so glad to be wrong in my entire life.