WORMDATE:2.5: 2-346: 155-21,743
Mood: A bit knocked on my ass. Kind of a cranky, ugly, and short mood. It’s not really coming out of me though, not a sharp mood. More of a rot. I haven’t been all that snappish. But I find it hard to say things that I don’t immediately regret saying. It might just be some weird sensitivity. I’m not like saying horrible things or anything. I just feel a little flayed.
But it’s like, I put a post up, delete it, rinse, repeat. And it’s not like it’s particularly controversial stuff. Just shit like, I did not like that show AWAY. Thought it was garbage. But just saying that and how I say that makes me feel gross. I try not to do things that make me feel gross, even if I don’t understand why they make me feel that way.
A weird sort of indication of the basic weirdness of my mood:
So, I heard that Sneaky Dee’s was going to be turned into condos. (Apparently Toronto is suffering some sort of shortage of condominiums.) Now, I spent some time at Sneaky Dee’s, of course, but I always preferred The Bistro, which was across the street. The Bistro was a lot cheaper. A lot more punk too, — if we just want to come out and say it.
Back when I lived in that neighborhood, around the corner from Sneaky Dee’s at Augusta and College, I was more a forty of OE and can of Crest on the hostel stoop, drinking with the junkies fresh out of the Scott Mission on welfare day at The Bakery. Like, maybe I’d hit up The Bistro. If I did, I had to meet some sort of punk rock high roller to cross the road. And by the time I got a job and some money in my pocket, those raves had started up on College and I did those until they got shut by the city due to overdosed suburban daughter panic.
I never really liked Sneaky Dee’s. The layout didn’t lend itself well to stealing from the clientele and that used to be important to me. Getting in was kind of an aspiration when I was broke and underage, and when I was of age and could afford it, it wasn’t even a place I wanted to go. It was always someone else’s idea and usually one that ended badly. And, to be honest, by the time I left The Market, I wanted very little to do with The Market. Just too much gossip and heroin and drama and a lot of people who kind of stopped growing up at age seventeen. Still, Sneaky Dee’s was a big part of whatever, I guess.
But like, that wasn’t even the weird mood. (Though even thinking about it has called up some weird memories. Like, I got in a fistfight with one of Toronto’s most famous underground projectionists in his own damn house? More like a scuffle, really but still. He jumped me on the stairs and I threw him against a wall. Strange. My past is alien.)
The weird mood came from thinking abut this shit then listening to Deltron 3030 for the first time in ages. The music put me in a time machine. I remembered this perspective I had from 2000 to, I don’t know, 2008 or so. It really seemed so obvious to me the direction that sci-fi should take and the one I just kind of assumed it would. There was so much sci-fi hip-hop back then. And electronic stuff. All that “set phaser to stun” boom-boom-boom. I just figured written sci-fi would kind of merge with that. Like, it just made sense.
Fucking hell, I wanted and expected some SF publisher to release a series of cheap-ass pulp paperbacks set in the Deltron universe. Another series for Kool Keith. Like everyone kept talking about science fiction dying and I was like — the fuck? There’s plenty of drugged up kids who love the shit and are listening to sci-fi music all the time. Get in on that.
I mean, fuck the Trek and Star Wars books, give me the fucking Deltron novels. And Cyberpunk? Like, that shit is as old as I am. It was old in 2000. It was just sci-fi to me.
Like, I just kind of took it for granted that written sci-fi would be part of that. Took it for granted that sci-fi was some weird counter-cultural drug product. Like, there was the straight and square nerd shit, your hard sci-fi and space operas, which was like exotica or whatever and okay in their own right, but you had your hippie sci-fi, then your glam and punk and goth sci-fi. Sci-fi was dime store surrealism. Just vulgarized high art and I like that.
I just really thought there was just going to be some sort of punky-rave, hip-hop sci-fi. Abrasive and social and shit but with some funk, you know? It just seemed natural. Seemed inevitable. There were even some indications that it might even be incoming. Coyote Kings by Minister Faust, Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson. They kinda had the sensibility and perspective. It was about people, outsiders, the city, and it felt modern.
But then I bumped into the science fiction community for the first time. And these were just some totally out of touch motherfuckers. Like, forget hip-hop. All of it. Forget the idea of sampling. They were into Joni Mitchell and the like. Flik? Is that what they call their folk music? I’d never lived in world without Bladerunner and cyberpunk was still radical to them. Many still viewed it as an anomalous and threatening sub-genre. The community was just complete L7. And Boomers. Jesus Christ, they just do not just get out of the fucking way. Ever. THEY DO NOT FUCKING BUDGE. They are here forever. Will outlive us all.
It was just so obvious we were not going to get the science fiction we should have got.
Instead, what’s it fucking called? Steampunk. Like Jesus . . .
Now, we do get some good hard sci-fi and I actually like that shit. I also like a lot of the shit I’ve read out of Iraq. And we do get some decent literary sci-fi, and that stuff is okay too. (I mean, I kind of see literary sci-fi as gentrification but, you know, it’s okay.) It’s not a total wasteland. And there is the odd breath of the sort of work that I’m talking about. Like, I really liked Infinite Detail by Tim Maugham. Not just because it’s a book with a lot of heart and one that reminds me of a science fiction version scenario version of just, you know, losing your fucking files, which is no joke actually, but also because it has that breath of the Deltron universe in it. It’s kinda the perspective and sensibility. So, there’s some of that out there.
But I like that cheap paperback pulp shit. Always have. The fusing of pulp, b-movie style, written sci-fi to something it should have been fucking fused to since the early 2000s. This is a thing we should be taking for granted by now. One that should just be getting respectable.
And that’s kind of where I got this weird melancholy. Because, like . . .
I can kind of picture the world where sci-fi went the way I wanted it to go and the way I thought it would go. About now, we’d be getting shows in Deltronverse or at least totally infused with that sensibility instead of more Trek, more Star Wars, George fucking Martin, and the rest of it, sound-tracked by David Bowie’s 1970s musings about Mars. And I’m not even really against these things. But, holy shit, it would be nice to be able to see these people and their works as respected ancestors. We can’t even do that. We have to labor forever under their senile rule. I mean, I feel like Del and others showed us the way. The way was squandered. Just totally fucking squandered.
So, yeah, that album, listening to it, made me glum. Just glum for the science fiction present we don’t have — the one I thought we’d get when I listened to shit like Room Warfare. The one I thought was coming but the one that never did. The shit we should be taking for granted but still don’t have. It’s like . . . I miss a fictional world that never existed.
I dunno, man. Like I said. Odd fucking mood. Not great.