Sunday, February 12, 2012

Negative Space

Now that I've been doing this for a year, I'm more or less aware of who my audience are. Here's a rough guess, based on the data I've gleaned from my own obsessive analyzing of my stats page.

Roughly 60% of the people reading this are people I have known all my life, and hence their support and continued readership is a basic, and very very kind, act of charity. Because I am a shallow cow and because I am the first generation of people to have grown up with the internet, this means nothing to me.

Do you hear that?


When you use the internet as a tool for getting your chosen form of creativity out there, you tend to become sort of insensitive to the people you know and love. They don't COUNT. They HAVE to read it. If you want to give a blogger a complete career boner, you need to find a way to hack into their stats page, and somehow alter the data to read that a hundred and fifty thousand people in Singapore are now reading their blog. Whenever something like this happens to me, I almost always feel the need to call someone and tell them straight away. "I don't even know anybody in Singapore!" I'll exclaim. Sometimes, just for variation, I'll pretend like I'm super freaked out about the whole ordeal. This is of course a rouse, because as we've learned this past year together, my entire personality is just one giant ego trip disguised as being awkwardly self-aware. I am, for all intents and purposes, a disgusting sham of a human being.

But you try and look at this every day and not go crazy:

The Philippines!?? What in the hell are the Philippines doing in there?!

But back to my original point, which is the people who read this blog. Or, my 'audience' as blogger prefers to call you. (As you can imagine, this choice in terminology lends itself extremely generously to the aforementioned ego problem)

The majority of the people who read this blog are at least a bit nerdy. By virtue of the fact that I write this blog, I'm a bit of a nerd. Not the good productive kind of nerd that invents stuff like Facebook and iPods though. The other kind. I obsesses over long-cancelled TV shows. I lord over people the fact that I read the book before the movie. I radiate a false sense of superiority concerning all of my interests. I do not participate in group sports or exercise. Some people call this pretension or hipsterish, but I disagree, because I'm not cool, and I'm not pretending. I know exactly how fucking lame I am, and you probably do too.

And in the spirit of communal lameness, let me say that in what I'm about to say, I know that I'm alienating at least half of the people who read this blog.

I hate space.

I hate everything to do with space. I hate Star Trek. I hate Star Wars. I hate Alien. I hate Scully's alien baby. I hate the planets, and I hate the stars, and I hate everyone who has ever been to space. I hate Buzz Aldrin, and I hate Neil Armstrong. Actually, I hate Neil Armstrong for other, more personal reasons also, but we shan't dwell on that today.

I've never seen Firefly, but I probably hate it.

I've never seen Doctor Who, but it annoys me.

If nobody ever creates another narrative that takes place in space again, then I will personally see it as a success on the behalf of fiction and storytelling.

I realize, by the way, that I'm completely wrong.  Today, while eating lunch with my boyfriend and his brother, I was forced to explain my stance. Needless to say, the former looked at me with a mixture of disbelief and hatred, and the latter looked at his brother with a look of "Dude, what are you doing? She hates space."

Have you ever been with someone who has started a conversation with the words "I had the weirdest dream last night."? Didn't you want that conversation to just end, before it even started? You did, didn't you? You probably abruptly changed the subject so you wouldn't have to talk about your friend's weird dream. You don't care how weird it is. Hearing about other people's dreams is like looking through a stack of someone else's photos: if you're not in them and nobody is having sex, you really just don't care.

The reason you don't care is not because you're a bad friend, but because nobody is in charge of the narrative. First of all, the thing that happened in your friend's head while they slept didn't happen. But that's not the thing that makes the story boring: our friend's tell us fictional stories all the time, and we accept them because it's interesting and polite. Anything can happen in a dream, and that's what makes them so annoying to listen to. There's no laws in this universe. If a talking dinosaur that represents your mother starts mentally abusing a spoilt liberal-minded raccoon, that's ok.

This is how I feel about fiction that is set in space. Our 'hero' (the bastard love child of one fictional, vaguely human race and another fictional yet entirely different vaguely human race) is in his spaceship, and lands on a planet entirely peopled by a vaguely human race that have udders instead of hands.  He settles down in Udderania, becomes a local space blacksmith and lives a quiet life milking his space-wife's cuticles until a rival planet peopled by racists that are vaguely representative of the Nazis, the Communists or both invade his planet and he has to find a wizard to help him.

What is this? This isn't a story. This is just wank. I can't relate to this narrative, no matter how many metaphors for the corrupting nature of power or romantic subplots that are thrown in.

Like I said, I know I'm wrong. I'm completely and utterly wrong. This is just something I've been carrying for a long time, and it's time to air it out. If I die tomorrow, I want there to be a published document that represents my feelings on this issue. There's no wider subject matter here.

I just really, really, really hate space.


  1. Where did the intergalactic blogger go for a drink?

    The spacebar. Hah! I just made that up on the spot. Further hilarity may periodically appear in your comment section with or without notice.

  2. Rest assured, madam. We are the 40%. Plus, if I didn't enjoy reading this stuff, I really wouldn't come back here. Take that for what you will. Keep at it you crazy legit writer human!