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Somebody Will, again

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I'm having one of those everything-is-deeply-intertwingled moments.

On the way home, Ada Palmer's haunting and lovely and sad-yet-hopeful song “Somebody Will” came on in my iTunes rotation. (Link is to Sassafrass's Bandcamp site, where you can listen to the song for free or purchase the whole album for $5.) It made me cry, as usual. (Thanks again to Sumana for introducing me to it.) It's about not getting to live in the future we want, but still doing the everyday work that needs to be done to get there. Quote:

But I’ll teach the student

Who’ll manage the fact’ry

That tempers the steel that makes colonies strong.

And I’ll write the program that runs the computer

That charts out the stars where our rockets belong.

It will never get easy to wake from my dream

When the future I dream of is so far away.

But I am willing to sacrifice

Something I don’t have

For something I won’t have

But somebody will someday.

(Btw, it was great to get to meet Ada Palmer and Lauren, of Sassafrass, at last year's WorldCon, and to watch them perform with Jo Walton. I never did get around to writing up that con report.)

When I got home, I got curious about one of the lines of the chorus, so I Googled it. And that led me to a LiveJournal post from five years ago from rushthatspeaks (who I have people in common with, but whom I don't think I've ever met in person), that's in part a review of a graphic novel called Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?, by Brian Fies.

And that book is about, as rushthatspeaks puts it, “the evolution of the dream, especially the dream of space, and how what we got is not what anybody dreamed, though what we got is wondrous.” It starts out with the dreams of the future from the World's Fair in 1939. In their review, rushthatspeaks notes that in a variety of ways, our society got better for a lot of people in later decades, even if we didn't get jetpacks and moon colonies: “the dreams of the past didn't have much space for me in them, did they?”

Which seems to me to resonate interestingly with the movie Tomorrowland, which I watched the other day, and which also features a World's Fair and is partly about the future of the past—and also doesn't quite address the issue of underrepresentation in that utopian future.

And Fies, the author of that graphic novel, is also the author of the excellent webcomic The Last Mechanical Monster, which I read in its entirety the other day.

And rushthatspeaks has become closely tied to Strange Horizons.

And my plan for tonight is to finish editing my long-delayed article about the history of online prozines.

...And there are more or less explanations for a bunch of these apparently coincidental connections; the worlds of sf publishing and fandom are relatively small. But even so; everything is feeling particularly intertwingled this evening.

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This is Ada Palmer (Jo pointed me at this post). It was wonderful meeting you at WorldCon too, and I'm very glad that "Somebody Will" hits you so powerfully. It means a lot to me too, especially when I find friends who feel the same way. When I first wrote it I had to practice for 6 months before I could sing it without crying, and it's still a struggle.

As it happens, I know Brian Fies quite well, we met at the "Comics and Medicine" conference in London, an amazing little half-academic half-creator conference about how comics & grapahic novels can be used to discuss and teach medical issues. That's where I ran across Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow, and brought it home to share with rushthatspeaks. I had already written "Somebody Will" at the time, and was myself excited by the resonances, as I discussed with Brian, and by its resonances with 20th Century Boys, the much-acclaimed Naoki Urasawa manga which also treats the World's Fair and themes of a generation growing up expecting a more science-fictional future than it got. In fact, I have the same copy of Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow that rushthatspeaks read for the review sitting here on my desk now, waiting for a long-postponed post I'm intending to write about it someday. And the posters for Tomorrowland on buses around Chicago have been making me think a lot about it too. And, of course, it's a strong theme in the novel (Dogs of Peace) which I'm revising now for Tor. So, yes, all interconnected very directly in intertwined ways, all adding together to build the future.

Thank you for this, and looking forward to the next con where our paths cross!


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