As the AMBROV X Kickstarter is now running, (I've been telling you about this for weeks, so I'm not repeating it here -- go look even if you've never explored Kickstarter.com
I did a web radio interview today telling everyone more about the project and Sime~Gen.
Listen free here:
Here is Part 1 of this Theme-Dialogue series, What's Eating Him?
Last week, Loreful, the videogame company developing a Sime~Gen RPG style videogame taking Sime~Gen into the space age, pitting humanity against aliens in a galaxy spanning war, launched a Kickstarter to fund the first of the Sime~Gen episodes.
The fate of that project is now in the hands of "crowd-sourcing" -- a concept that just tickles my heart no end! I have always been an advocate of associated groups of individuals banding together to do original work, to change the world.
I'm still, after all these years, totally dedicated to CHANGE -- we have just soooo mucked up! We have to FIX THIS, I keep ranting. And that means we have to change our entire idea of what the problem is, so we can solve it.
When I was about 5 years old, no actually more like 3, -- which I remember because we moved coast to coast when I was about 4 1/2, and this particular memory is from before that move -- I parsed the problems in my little world (this was during WW II when they kept preempting or interrupting THE LONE RANGER on the radio to insert war news), and I decided that all the problems in the world were caused by adults having missed one, tiny but salient point about the structure of reality.
Yes, such was my thinking before the age of 5. Consider at that age I thought the reason the wind blew was that the trees waved their leaves. I hadn't yet figured out the world, even when my Dad explained wind blew because of pressure differences. I KNEW it was tree leave that did it.
My ideas about how weather happens have changed -- markedly!
My ideas about THE LONE RANGER have not changed, -- much.
Here's the thought that has persisted, and which is behind all my novels.
Fiction consumption is a life-function of the same level and magnitude of the 5 life signs, organization, metabolism, growth, irritability, and reproduction. Respiration, mobility, etc. are often cited as well. I've seen definitions that include adaptation, but I could dispute that as if it were TRUE, we would never have species die-outs.
So as a 3 or 4 year old, I added FICTION to that list, which I hadn't yet learned. It never occurred to me that animals and trees didn't imagine. Boy do humans learn a lot in the first 10 years of life!
But my main fiction sources, The Lone Ranger, Superman, persisted into the TV era, and onwards, and my ideas about the vital necessity of imagination developed through my exploration of science fiction - then adult Fantasy, and I launched a career into the teeth of the prevailing winds, adding Romance to Science Fiction but hiding that so deep inside the fictional worlds I built that editors couldn't see it. My first sale was the Sime~Gen story Operation High Time to Fred Pohl -- read some of his novels and see how anti-Fred Pohl SFR really is, and I sold him a Sime~Gen story! It is so deeply disguised, he didn't notice.
Today, I still firmly believe fiction -- specifically The Lone Ranger, Superman, -- and yes, Sime~Gen -- is more important than war, more vital to staying alive than winning a war, because fiction of this type reaches and nourishes the parts of your spirit that make you want to live and enjoy life.
Remember the gusto and zest with which Captain Kirk on Star Trek tackled impossible odds?
Given an incompatible First Officer who refused to acknowledge the importance of emotions, particularly hunches and "gut feelings" -- Kirk enjoyed associating with Spock so much that Spock changed his mind.
Spock watched Kirk surmount impossible odds --
The formula for a novel of any genre has 2 main plots -- which bespeak the very essence of STORY.
a) A likeable hero overcomes apparently insurmountable odds toward a worthwhile goal.
b) Johnny gets his fanny caught in a beartrap and has his adventures getting it out.
Memorize those two, (they are true for ROMANCE too!) and evaluate every story you see or read to see which one it is. Some really great literature has both. Look at your life, and you'll see yourself doing both, often simultaneously.
Jim Butcher's Dresden Files novels, ...
...which I've reviewed on this blog many times, is mostly a beartrap plotted series -- but the wider envelope which keeps these novels a strong series and got it onto TV as a short-run SciFi channel (before the channel name change to SyFy), is crafted from A) the Likeable Hero with a Worthwhile Goal.
You will find that same combination in C. J. Cherryh's Foreigner novels that I rave and rave about here ...
Study this structure, it's the key to why FICTION is a life-necessity like air, water, food, shelter.
Heroic fiction -- Westerns, Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy -- fiction with a real HERO whose mind and heart are revealed to you in a way that you can become that character -- is a necessity of LIFE, because it gives your spirit the strength to overcome obstacles, just as food gives your body the strength to overcome disease and heal and reproduce.
In Occult practices, this principle is applied by "donning magical robes" or a "ring" or other symbolic garb, and becoming your best self, even if you are only pretending for the moment. Do this pretense assiduously enough, persistently and repeatedly, and you do become what you pretend to be.
That is part of the nature of humans: you become what you emulate.
There is another principle promulgated at the heart of Kaballah, that the entirety of existence is made from pure energy. That's a principle of the occult studies, too, and was derided and scoffed almost to death by the early Scientists. Now we have split the atom, and are examining quarks, bosons, and other phenomena that compose space and the stars.
We are made of pure energy, and that energy (says Kaballah) is God's Love breathed into the world and shaped by Words. God recreates the entirety of creation millisecond by millisecond.
That's a principle -- our very existence depends on being recreated by Words in increments too small to perceive.
Science now scoffs at that -- and is desperately trying to explain all of human experience in terms of biochemistry and the electrochemistry of the brain.
That is the science that science fiction is based on.
The recent dust-up over the SFWA Bulletin Cover and a blog by another person that erupted into a discussion of how the SF community is viciously rejecting women and SFR might be parsed into an example of how society is trying to reject the existence of the HAPPILY EVER AFTER "ending" - or "worthwhile goal" that we strive toward.
The Occult Studies -- particularly Tarot -- see the feminine principle as the masculine principle's aperture to "heaven." See THE LOVERS card -- the male looks at the female on the material plane, and the female standing on the material plane looks upward at an angel. The female connects the male "real world" to the ineffable.
Without that connection, goes the theory (which I didn't know at age 4), men behave in very brutal ways.
I suppose by now you've all forgotten the video images (that surfaced in June 2013) of a Syrian "opposition" fighter killing an Assad regime soldier and cutting out the man's heart and liver and eating them on camera. That pretty much sums up in symbolism the "brutality" referred to in the theory. The philosophy advocated by most of the factions trying to re-create the Middle East as a Caliphate are intransigently anti-woman.
You might look at the way that society insists women be wholly covered in public and NOT LOOKED AT. Thus, in public, no man sees a woman, and therefore is free of all contact with God (even though they publicly bow down to God repeatedly during the day, they do it without contact with the feminine principle.) Sans femininity there is no way a male can connect with God.
That's what SOUL MATE is all about -- connecting our men to God on a soul level.
In Occult Studies, sex magic involves the public displays of feminine nudity, and even public sexual acts. This practices releases a certain type of (very dangerous) power into the world, and especially into the hands of the men involved in this practice.
Masculinity seeks power within the material world. That is the nature of male-ness.
Femininity seeks power within the spiritual world. That is the nature of female-ness.
But "within every man is a woman; within every woman is a man" -- we are all composed of both.
The balance though is not (usually) equal within a human.
Occult studies maintain that Souls reincarnate sometimes as male sometimes as female.
Kaballah maintains that Souls reincarnate (if they do at all) always as the same gender because gender is a property of the Soul, not the body alone.
Sime~Gen uses the Occult theory - and in Sime~Gen Souls sometimes incarnate as male, sometimes as female, and sometimes as Sime and sometimes as Gen -- and even more confusing, Souls reincarnate as aliens. That is humans can reincarnate as aliens of another species, and Souls that are now human may have been non-human prior to that.
This concept is reflected in Kaballah theory as the idea that some Souls occasionally incarnate as inanimate objects or insects or other animals, for the sake of completing some task.
The Kaballah based Chassidic school of thought maintains that Joy Breaks All Boundaries.
In other words, the "apparently insurmountable obstacles" between the Hero and the Worthwhile Goal are surmounted by tackling the problem with JOY.
Zest, verve, happiness, bright-eyed optimism, -- i.e. Captain Kirk asking Spock the odds -- is the spiritual fuel that causes success.
It works on beartraps too -- the beartrap is a "boundary." The beartrap is the consequence of not having assessed the consequences of other people's actions (the trapper sets the trap and you step in it before the bear does). Once it's snapped shut on you, you have been placed inside BOUNDARIES.
It is zest, joy, verve, happiness, that breaks out of the beartrap. You must pry the jaws apart, taking whatever physical damage that costs you, but you will fail without HAPPINESS (or so the Kaballah based thought goes.)
We, as SFR writers, are looking to convince a gloomy public (that sees War as a solution rather than the problem) that there exists a HAPPILY EVER AFTER, an HEA. It's real, and it's within your reach, except for the problem of the beartrap or the "apparently" insurmountable odds.
Where does a man get that zest, verve, joy, happiness that fuels a Captain Kirk approach to problems?
Note Captain Kirk is a "womanizer" -- i.e. is driven by sexual appetite. And woman accept his advances readily. That acceptance is one of his character traits, too.
There is a higher truth behind that formula. Contact with the FEMALE PRINCIPLE fuels that sense of impervious JOY that romps happily over every obstacle.
In other words, that JOY that the Kaballah theory talks about comes from God via the female principle.
The female principle is the nurturer, the astrological sign of Cancer, the 4th House of the Zodiac, and the other water signs, Scorpio, Pisces.
So what do women get out of men?
What is eating her?
Could it be war?
Last week in:
We touched on the idea that Mars represents a fistfight, maybe road rage or a bar fight, but Pluto represents a War - probably a World War.
Right now, Pluto is transiting opposite the USA natal chart's Sun (energy source, sense of individuality).
The Sun rules the natural 5th House (Hollywood, and children, siblings). Pluto stirs the unresolved conflicts of childhood (the much used defense of "I was an abused child, so I commit crimes now.").
The Nation's childhood was in the birth of the Constitution -- and I maintain that the USA has two valid natal charts because we are two countries interwoven -- based on two distinct philosophies which have traditionally been represented by the Democrat and Republican parties (what we now call "Left" and "Right" which I see as misnomers.)
The Sun rules Leo, the sign of Sovereignty.
Note how Astrology indicates that Entertainment (fiction), children (sex for reproduction, a life function), and siblings (bonding) are the selfsame identical energy. Opposite the 5th house is FAME, the 11th House, Aquarius ruled by Uranus, freedom. Think about the implications of the binding and intermingling of these concepts usually treated as separate and incompatible things.
You have the same kind of situation between the 1st House (Aries, ruled by Mars) and the 7th House (Libra, ruled by Venus). (these are the "Natural" Houses; the personal Natal chart indicate the same forces, but place them in different signs depending on the time and place of birth)
1st House is your personal, individual Identity (your sense of self that develops at puberty with a sudden, inexplicable, need for privacy, especially privacy from parents, and today privacy from the Nanny State.)
7th House is the OTHER, family, spouse, foreigners, strangers, groups, and allies, partners, even enemies! When there is a 7th House malfunction, you get xenophobia.
With Pluto transiting the National natal 7th, we have publicly espoused inclusive group principles, the public refusal to "discriminate" and reject people from our groups on various grounds. We rejected the principle that we should deny people loans on the basis of their financial condition. When Pluto finished the 7th House transit and hit the 8th House cusp of the USA Natal chart (exactly to the day) we had the financial meltdown known as the Housing Crisis, where the mortgage and thus banking industry collapsed.
Now Pluto is transiting the National 8th Capricorn, (natural 8th is Scorpio ruled by Pluto; USA natal 8th is Capricorn ruled by Saturn). The Nation has a stellium (complicated conjunction) in the Natal Second House which is ruled by Cancer.
Which brings us back to the feminine principle (nurturing, home building, Cancer ruled by the Moon) vs. the masculine principle, imposing human will on material reality, (career building, success, Capricorn, ruled by Saturn.)
Whatever it is that is "eating her" nationally, is very likely to erupt full blown into national consciousness over the next couple years as Pluto transits opposite the national Sun.
The National Sun is in Cancer (in both national natal charts), Mother, Home and Apple Pie.
This eruption of complaints about how women are treated in Science Fiction communities is all connected to the national conversation about "the place of women" in the world, and in life.
There are those arguing that women should be kept inside the home and never seen in public.
There are those arguing that women are absolutely no different from men.
What's eating her is that society is using force and coercion to KEEP HER WITHIN BOUNDARIES.
What's eating him is that society is "including" her in public life, eroding the boundaries men have created.
The solution - magically and kaballistically speaking - is JOY.
The Kaballah maintains that there is an intrinsic difference between masculine and feminine functions in the matrix of reality. A very deep, abstract study of this philosophy reveals that the difference that Kaballah fingers as the distinction between men and women is very, VERY different from the difference that society (historical and modern) has tried to impose.
In other words, we have parsed the problem incorrectly, which is why we can't solve it.
It's very possible we don't understand Kaballah at all, really -- as it has traditionally been interpreted by men only. Today many female scholars are tackling the climb up the Tree of Life into the rarified reaches of Kaballah. So things might change drastically in the very near future.
What seems clear to me, and has always seemed clear since I can remember even thinking a thought, is that FICTION is the tool for solving this problem.
Fiction does two things:
a) it BREAKS BOUNDARIES constraining the imagination, allowing you to concieve and try out various descriptions of the problem and of the solution.
b) it INJECTS JOY into your life as you experience triumph together with your avatar in the story, and that lets you break the very real boundaries that constrain you in your everyday life
Which brings us back to Sime~Gen, and the space war that Loreful wants to present to the world.
Sime~Gen solves the problem of the way humanity has artificially imposed "boundaries" on each gender and thus created The War Between The Sexes -- which I maintained is a scam here:
Sime~Gen postulates that humanity mutates into Sime and Gen. There are male Simes and female Simes and male Gens and female Gens. Simes Kill Gens to live, to survive.
Thus the difference between Sime and Gen preempts, overshadows and wipes out the significance of the differences between male and female. But it replaces it with an even bigger difference, a lethal difference. Men and Women still find their Soul Mates, reproduce, and live Happily Ever After, and in fact it's those men and women who eventually solve the problem of half of humanity needing to Kill the other half.
Then with that problem solved, they dissolve the Territory Boundaries they created between Sime and Gen so each could survive, and they create an interstellar space drive that requires cooperation between Sime and Gen to work.
They venture into the galaxy, and run smack into an existing interstellar civilization.
The result is War. (that was planned into the Sime~Gen series premise, and the stories I want to write lie on the other side of that war, so I was happy to license Loreful to create me a space war, and so was Jean Lorrah, my co-author on Sime~Gen.)
Even at the age of 4, I knew that war was WRONG because it interfered with fiction imbibing. And I still stand by that assessment.
Fiction imbibing is a necessity of life -- war is all about death.
Remember Conflict is the Essence of Story.
Life vs. Death makes a good conflict to generate a fabulous plot.
I actually adore World War II movies -- the Hollywood version of war, not the real thing. Real thing is to be avoided - which is the message of all good fiction. NO WAR!!!
War is the result of the failure of diplomacy, which is a form of warfare.
War conflicts with the necessities of Life, and Sime~Gen is all about LIFE - about living, not dying, about the glories and joys of life (but, yes, there are some barriers to overcome to get there).
So the Simes and Gens who have hammered their way to Unity will now hit another barrier, one that will try very hard (Pluto hard) to shatter that Unity.
This game is going to be FUN - and it will spread much JOY into this world that is so sorely in need of JOY.
What's eating both him and her is BARRIERS -- walls around us that keep us from communicating.
Play this game, take home some joy, target your communications with others, see if that breaks or surmounts any of the barriers in your life -- especially the barrier to getting your own fiction published!
by Jacqueline Lichtenberg