Culture

My Family, My Tribe

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtQUePN5y40

Hi, this is Sarah and has been a week to remember who my family is.  No, I don’t mean I suffered sudden amnesia and stopped remembering my parents and brother.  I mean, my other family.  My spiritual family, you could say.  Or perhaps, in a Portuguese expression “my family by affinity.”

My first moment of recognition came when Rose Eveleth – Vagina Vigilante, she who makes scientists cry – went on twitter to praise one of the google plugins for changing words containing man, so that manned was now “crewed” and unmanned was “robotic.” (Don’t shout at the stupidity of the later.  I know robotic is not the same as remote controlled.  She doesn’t, though.)

I’m always more or less upset when people play stupid games with the language.  I know it will surprise you from the excitable Latina™ but I’ve been known to stop under signs in bookstores saying “Herstory, really, do you even know how ignorant it is?”  I also once picked a fight in the grocery store that had navel oranges marked as “naval oranges.”  And we will not talk about the incident of the Lady’s Department at a store.  They never could understand why I was asking them who the lady was. (Sigh.)

So as a language snob, I was offended by stupid games with the language. But normally this would have warranted an eye roll, because I know these people existed and there’s nothing you can do about her.

But instead I spent quite a while composing a sneering post for facebook.  And then I realized why.  Because Rose Eveleth – Vagina Vigilante! – is on my sh*t list for what she did.  Not just because she made a man cry.  No.  She’s on my sh*t list because she made one of my tribe cry.

Rocket scientists, science fiction geeks, writers and nerds – they’re my people.  I understand their body language, their look.  I understand their inanities, and the fact that say sartorial subtlety is beyond them.

And anyone who attacks one of us for those characteristics that are uniquely ours is the enemy.  They attack my tribe, and I bleed.

It is probably the closest to belonging that someone of my odd disposition can come.

Which is why today was a sad day. When Leonard Nimoy passed away, the ongoing, rolling fight between science fiction writers was silenced. Instead, there were tributes, remembrance, silence. For a moment we looked at the burial scene from Wrath of Kahn and we listened to “Amazing Grace,” and we mourned.

Because he was of us, our brother, our tribe.

Even I who came to Star Trek late, having been inducted into science fiction via books much earlier, felt a pang at his passing. Star Trek, the original series, will be forever mixed in my mind with my first year of marriage.  You see, my husband was media, I was literature. I gave him Heinlein, he gave me Star Trek.

I read Nimoy’s book, I Am Not Spock, and his other book, I Am Spock.

It must have been hard for him to be so totally defined by a role and a role that so many sneered at. (I’m sure we all remember the days when Star Trek fans weren’t considered “real fans” don’t we?) It must have been hard to find himself at the crest of a wave of fandom. And though I’m fairly sure he was aware of the slash websites, let’s do hope he never gave them too much thought.

And yet, he came through with grace and aplomb. Instead of running from fandom, he embraced it. His very last tweet ended with “LLAP.”

You prosper too, Leonard, beyond our reach in the undiscovered country.

In our hearts, you’ll live forever.

Amazing Grace indeed!


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Asylum (Loralynn Kennakris #3)
By Asylum (Loralynn Kennakris #3) 

First, they called her a hero. Then they called her a medical problem. Now they’re calling her a criminal. It’s been an exciting first year of active duty for Lieutenant Loralynn Kennakris.

She started by proving herself to be the League’s most promising young fighter pilot, earning decorations and gaining both admirers and enemies. But those rumors wouldn’t go away: dangerous mental instability, hostile tendencies, latent psychosis. Pushed too far, she did the unforgivable, and now her enemies have the excuse they wanted.

They’re right about one thing, though: Kris is dangerous, and now she has nothing left to lose.