For the last few months, I’ve been scribbling bits and pieces of a story that has been developing slowly, mostly in my mind. I mentioned it in an earlier post: SF somewhat along the lines of Childhood’s End, but very different. Aliens observe earth and have to decide what to do about the danger of humans to the rest of the universe. It will reflect my unashamedly negative view of my species, and the aliens will be, in effect, my mouthpieces for a broad view of what we are doing to ourselves, the earth, and, potentially, any planets we might discover. Although, fortunately, the chance that we will ever travel much further than we already have is decreasing by the year.
There are two, seemingly contradictory, autistic traits that can be the making of a writer. First, is the obsessive way in which you can focus on a topic of interest until you’ve exhausted it. Second, is the tendency to do that with many, many topics. The pattern can be established very early, but may not be recognized until well into maturity. What you recognize, at some point, is that you have developed a bird’s-eye view, a big picture view of connections between topics that, to most people, seem to have nothing to do with each other.
It’s a slow, cumulative process: acquiring, sometimes in a very casual way, knowledge of topics that gradually reveal their relationships. What does the almost hysterical excess of words about the deaths of a couple of movie and music celebrities have to do with the current political situation in the US? And by extension, with climate change? A neurotypical person (that’s most of you out there) will shake your head. Some of you might see some of the connections, but they won’t capture your attention for more than a few moments. The media parade moves on and you will move with it, victim of your brain’s distractibility and forgetfulness.
It is that characteristic of the typical human being that determines what my aliens will do. It’s that characteristic that supports my writing, and drives me to despair about the future of our species.