TECHNOLOGY

Is Becky Chambers the ultimate hope of science fiction?


Some of that knowledge he uses professionally, writing short fiction stories, mostly based on fantasy, his favorite books and movies. Chambers’ mother introduces him to Tokien; Star Wars and Star Trek were the mainstays of Movie-Night; He was obsessed with the sailor moon. When the chamber was 12, Communication Came out to explore the unknown, “through a female protagonist” to face the alien, Chambers says, “it held me tight.” After that, he began reading Carl Sagan, the beginning of his fascination with space.

Looking up and out, though, in the “complete absence” of not being able to see inside the chambers he felt at the center of his young life. “Who I was, where I was fit, what kind of life I could expect,” he said, and there was nothing. Then, at the age of 13, Chambers met a girl in a science class whose older sister had a gay best friend. “I was, oh, is that an option?” The chamber remembers the thought. “Well, my whole life is meaningful now.” It will take several years before he is comfortable enough to get out to his parents. When she did, Mom was awesome; Dad, not so much. “It was too bad at first, you know,” he says, pausing a bit. Although he’s “turned around a lot,” Chambers says he still doesn’t like to talk about it.

In the Chambers books, man-a term he uses not only for humans, but also for all member species of his so-called Galactic Commons. They simply don’t have to. “I have no conditions for being gay, straight, etc.,” he says. “People bring home who they are and who they’re going to bring home and they love who they love.” Inside Long way, Rosemary, a human female, develops feelings for a female reptile-bird alien named Sisix. Rosemary “leaned down,” Chambers wrote in a landmark scene, “running the tip of a smooth finger along the length of the feathers of Sisix.” When I tell Chambers that one of my (straight, male) colleagues, who has read the book, doesn’t believe that people actually want to have sex with giant lizards, he’s scared. Was he on the internet too?

The Internet is where a college-age chambers met his future wife, Berglag Asmundardottir. In the role-playing forum of a Star Trek, to be exact. Asmundardottir is not, as far as we know, a lizard person; He is, merely, Icelandic. When Chambers talks about it, the light in the room seems to somehow become brighter and softer. In the recognition section of each Wafers book, the chambers thank his wife in a new way. A Spaceburn Few’s record: “Berglag is incredible.” A closed and normal orbit: “The best part of every day.” Galaxy, and inside the ground: “If a scrap of my writing keeps me alive, I want it to say I love him, and so I’ll write it wherever I can.”

Outside of college, Chambers moved to Edinburgh with Asmundardottir. The plan was to look for work in the theater scene – that’s what the chambers used to teach in school – but nothing happened. A few years later, they moved to Iceland, where the chambers freelance for U.S. publications, all the while writing dialogues and scenes for an unpublished story about humorous abuse in space. For a long time, the chambers didn’t think “this is a real book,” he said. “I was, no one would want to read this. This is not a real story. No planets are flying here. In other words, the tension was internal. It comes from the character.

When I suggest to Chambers that the details of his novel reflect the process of coming out অনেক too much tension, too little plot সে he pauses. “I think … I think it’s fair,” he says. “It’s not one of those conscious things, but I definitely think it’s fair.” Whatever it was, the story resonated. With a small following he developed as a freelancer, and with the interest of a handful of strangers, Chambers was able to self-fund Kickstarter novels. Long way to a small, angry planet. Among other positive notices, io9 called it “the most enjoyable space opera of the year.”



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