Years ago, back in the dimly remembered (nineteen) Eighties, I read and delighted in Norman Spinrad’s science-fiction novel, Child of Fortune. Two years ago, for the 2010 NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) thirty day dash, I desperately grabbed ideas from Spinrad’s book to get something—anything—started, and ended up with a collection of hacked together chunks of plot and bits of character sketching out a story that put me in the head of, and had me speaking with the first person voice of, a thirteen year old girl (Earth years). How embarrassing! I put it away; I had other things to do.
Until now. It’s been bugging me; I had to pick it up for another look. It’s the embarrassment, you see, an almost perfect sign that I was on to something. Plus, the NaNo stuff was fun to write, and is fun to read, even in it’s current scattered state. I now need to put fresh batteries in my flashlight and go poking around for the storie’s missing bits. I estimate about eighty-five percent is missing (I didn’t achieve the NaNoWriMo fifty thousand word goal in 2010). But first, there’s the question of the liftings from Mr. Spinrad. I took two things: Telling a wanderjahr tale, and telling it with the first person voice of an ernest, self-absorbed teenager. I’m not dropping either; they’re why I’m willing to commit a year to digging this story out of my head and getting it cleaned up and ready for presentation. Still, it might be a good idea to re-read Child of Fortune to be sure I’m not mimetically channeling it.
A few things have already changed since the NaNo roughs. There is now something unique about the biology of this society that is the reason they have a wanderjahr tradition, and as a side effect of this biology, the protagonist is no longer a girl, not entirely. And no, it’s not an alien, or an androide, or an uplifted whatever. Let’s just say, to cover my butt, I also re-read Ursula K. Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness.
Next Blog: Most likely, an ode (most definitely, not a review) to Child of Fortune, and possibly some swooning words about Left Hand of Darkness.