So, about this cruise I’m on — I’m working with a multi-disciplinary group which researches and investigates paranormal phenomena and the like. Interesting assortment of people — from bonafide scientists to flaky psychics. They are very interested in me (and Alene.)
But why are we at sea? Well, it’s a rather paranoid group that favors seclusion for its conferences. Considering all the empty space in Australia you’d think a conference could find a suitable venue in the outback rather out at sea — but the group is especially paranoid about Australian government at all levels — and somehow feels more secure at sea!
So, here I am — still. It was a few days before it dawned on me that I’m rather stuck here. Although I am a VIP guest, I’m still a guest — and not in charge. I can’t just order the captain to head for shore when I’ve had enough. So it has actually bothered me a bit. I have a private cabin — and the catering is rather good — but I miss going for decent walks — and there’s nothing much to look at.
Back in Seattle, Alene is going gung ho at some online courses — spending several hours an evening in the library for the WiFi. It’s not something I feel inclined to follow along with — which is just as well, because that’s the time that I need to be paying attention to where I am.
But last night, as Alene was struggling with a problem set, the PA system announced an event that was about to start — celebrating the legacy of the science fiction author Octavia Butler — a science fiction author who happened to be a woman — and an African-American woman to boot! Alene doesn’t read science fiction — but she did find Kindred a powerful read. So I suggested she call it a day on studying and go downstairs to learn something else.
I excused myself from the local conference and watched the proceedings in Seattle. Alene doesn’t write science fiction — but she definitely writes to the fantasy genre — with a hefty dose of dry English humor — and she was encouraged to see the possibilities for fantasy and science fiction with regard to social justice. Visionary fiction.
Alene is a decent writer — but she’s still struggling to find her voice. Last night gave her something fresh and exciting to think about.
Check out Octavia’s Brood