FutureCon 2

The collaborative effort to run FutureCon can be proud of their accomplishment: they’ve built upon the first conference one year ago and made it to a second year, full of the same energy and enthusiasm that they started with. I congratulate one and all the organizers, as well as the writers, artists, publishers, anthologists, editors, readers and fans who joined in!

It is great to report that many of the hoped for projects – to create new anthologies in local languages, to translate speculative fiction works into other languages besides English, and to bring together the new authors from all over the world so that they can unite to create opportunities where they didn’t exist before – these are beginning to bear fruit. There are anthologies and stories and translations and inititatives now in an active phase of development that were only on the drawing board last year. And I have every confidence that by the time FutureCon 3 rolls around, those projects will be seeing print and distribution, too. So good work, everybody!

Here are some encapsulated highlights of the sessions.

I should also mention that it is my hope for the participants of FutureCon to know that not all of us stuck by accidental misfortune of being born on this fucked up planet in the dominant Anglo-American language sphere are jerks. You, sisters and brothers from all over the globe need to be a little sympathetic for those of us who appreciate what you’re trying to do, while we choke every day on the polluted blast of bullshit that passes for a mainstream culture in our own benighted lands. We are here, up to our eyeballs in this crap, believe me. And we hate it just as much as you do. We are hoping for and working towards a more inclusive human society which will be an absolute babel of languages, none of them particularly more important than the other.

Each story should be viewed within the critical framework of the readers, in whatever languages they feel comfortable with, and above all, according to their own tastes. Just as there is no arbiter of a “correct” language, there should be no dictators telling us what is “good” or “bad” for us to read. The stories themselves should speak to us directly, as they were hatched in the brains of their creators. We want that diversity! But that doesn’t mean that the English language is some sort of nefarious trap. It’s just a spoken and written human language that some of us grew up speaking and writing. We’re not imperialists due to being born. Keep that in mind, too. It should be the content of our writings, and meaning loaded in our prose that matters, no matter what language we are working in, don’t you agree?

Some of you currently struggling on the margins of the publishing industry might be surprised by the wave of anti-authoritarians, poets, permaculturists and solarpunks who are sprouting up all over the English-speaking landscape like mushrooms, and who have already spread the fungus too far and too wide to be stopped. It is a good thing. We can join forces and forge new enterprises and publishing modalities. We can tear down the whole stinking carbon-based nightmare of highways and replace them with gardens together. For it is inevitable now. The anthropocene was born in our unbridled rapaciousness and greed, now it will have to come of age by transforming everything as we know it, because it is obvious that capitalism has failed us, despite the continued crowing of its supposed champions from their blinking scimitar-shaped towers and their spaceships.

So, yes, that is my call-out to the fine people of FutureCon and to the actual potential we have to simply speak to each other like dockside tramps of old Alexandria who had to learn every human language to survive. We struggling authors, in this bottomless vortex of collapsing systems, we are the dockside tramps. And it’s time for us to jump on the nearest barge and get going. Work with whomever you find right next to you who is building something new, while chipping away at authoritarians who want to beat us down. It should be fairly obvious who your comrades are. They are not the ones screaming the loudest, or calling for revolution from safe perches. But in this crossroads, where humanity must save itself, we must build a bridge to a sustainable future. Not because we are fanatics, not out of despair, but owing to the simple fact that we have no choice. The carbon-extraction growth delusion of capitalism is an empty husk of futility. That’s the reason to act. Now is always the right time for anarchism, in my opinion.