Okay. I need a bit of help on this one, my friends on the edges. I'm about halfway finished with the new (kinder and gentler) version of Sita Roryn, and I've inevitably begun to think of what I might write next. I have a whole scifi epic stored up in my mind, but I'm a bit tired of wholly invented worlds. I'm considering going back to my roots and doing a novel about a group of kids in the `80s. I wanted to do something like this to go along with Bluebonnet Circle, but the characters in that are too fucked up from their childhoods. I'm aiming for shameless nostalgia and bittersweet romance in this one. So, tell me if you'd rather see some hard science fiction or fifteen year-olds in their first throes of angsty lovesickness. I think I can do both now, so my skills, such as they are, aren't in question. To help me make the choice, and you to see if either interests you, I'll throw out some ideas for both.
The scifi story would be the first of four, coalescing in the far future ascendency of the human species over its baby-step culture in this corner of the cosmos. It begins a few years from now (don't they all?) with the earth basically divided into two groups. Paranoid bacteriophobes who spend most of their time in virtual worlds and sensual overstimulation, while a few long to get out of the cushy boxes they live in. Alternately, there are outsiders, not quite Luddites, but the descendants of hippies and environmentalists who happily live off of the land and (ironically) the cultural leavings of the insiders. Among these are a few who are curious enough about the rich and varied society within the closed-up cities and apartment-ships to make contact with their unsatisfied counterparts. So, we have a guy who wants to get out into nature, but is acclimatised to living indoors and in the near-future version of the internet, and a young woman who is dirty, irreverent, and likes to shoot things to eat. Or the other way around, I'll let my first key-clicks decide that. When they go through a kind of meeting or dating service and are surprised to get each other, they immediately become fascinated and a little scared of the other (clichés abound). Meanwhile, one among the outsider group is secretly plotting to take down the AIs and such holding together the insider society and uses the guy's connections to get deep into the system. Corporate and governmental weirdness ensues, and the guy and his hippie chick are forced to flee into the wilderness as the civilization falters and comes crashing down...or not. The girl's friend was really a kind of double agent for old school cyberculture and turns out to be rebooting the system with his far more subtle and smarter AI.
So, that's only the first of four in a series to eventually span ten thousand years that I've been tossing around inside for a couple of decades. Nanotech, mmo Otherland-like inner worlds, decadent teen sex orgies between planets, and hard-fought living on farms and ghost towns in a near-wasteland of climate-changed North America. Sound good?
Instead (or, rather, to put off the other for another year or two), I have an idea for a teen boy who is spending time with his buddies circa 1983, when an OMG girl worms herself into their midst. This one begins with school getting out for the summer (back when the summer break was all-important), with the main boy and his buds settling into a weekly routine of playing games in an old tornado/fallout shelter in their neighborhood. There are introductions to each of the boy's friends during a few weeks of same-old-shit. Then, while one of them is out for two weeks on vacation and the rest find other things to do, our hero finds a girl who has similar interests and wants to join in the games. Well, of course, she meets everyone and is given a probationary pass...then the vacationer comes back and the two hit it off in a very un-friendlike way. Our hero is pissed, but more because the games are suddenly uncomfortable and rife with danger to the fellowship. for the next month or so, the girl 'makes the rounds' of the group (quite innocently on her part - she's really a nice girl who just doesn't yet know her natural effect on boys), going with every one in turn except our hero, who was the first one she met. Eventually, she meets a guy outside of the circle and seems to be losing interest in the games. The group, by now barely holding it together, realize that they need her as much as any other member and fight to get her back (as a friend, if nothing else). Finally, she returns just before school starts again, and makes that connection with our hero that everybody expected in the first place.
For this, there would be games like D&D, Starfleet Battles, Risk, and the like (although fictionalized just enough to make you groan). Also, bike rides across town to the gimongous mall to play the latest video games at a premier arcade, camping at the nearby lake with wine coolers, drama at a teen club, learning to play pool like the big boys, and all kinds of pre-cell phone loneliness. Watcha think? I'm more inclined to the second one, but I don't see it being the next The Big Chill.I'm hoping that it would at least seem real. Gimme feedback. Love'em both? Hate'em both? Just wish I'd stop advertising my hen scratchings? Want to beta? Whatev, comment, you lovely monkeys.