Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Future is Not Now

I'm back to writing science fiction, and yesterday I wrote a scene in which our hero completely botches a rescue to the point of the whole thing becoming physical comedy. I find myself wanting him, in his sarcastic internal dialogue, say, "Willy E. Coyote to the rescue!"

There are so many reasons why I can't.

The biggest is the most obvious. This is the future. My son only knows about Willy E. Coyote because he's been watching the DVDs of the Warner Brothers cartoons via Netflix (which he finds hilarious, btw.) There's no reason, however, to assume that these cartoons will be consumed by the generation after him or the generation after that.

This is one of the reasons I write urban fantasy at the speed of thought, but it takes me forever to write science fiction. The "Willy E. Coyote" line would have been a gimme in a Garnet book. I either have to abandon it entirely or come up with some alternative that runs the risk of being a "smeerp."* And, being me, because I can't use it, I stare at the screen for at least four minutes mourning the opportunity for easy humor, and then go write a blog about the whole thing.

All I have to say is that the future is not now.

"To call a rabbit a smeerp" from the Turkey City Lexicon


Bill Henry said...

"Duck Dodgers" worked pretty well in Babylon 5, I thought. A lighthearted touch.

Jon said...

I think you're looking at it from a position of absolutes and I don't think it would be that black and white.

Would everyone be a Bugs Bunny scholar in the far future? Would Bugs Bunny still be a much used and well recognized culutral icon centuries from now?

Probably not.

But is it POSSIBLE that someone somewhere had seen it? Is it POSSIBLE, especially considering the information compiling practices and things like Youtube that go on today, that the old Bugs Bunny cartoons could still be available?

Absolutely. It's not like they'd be LESS entertaining...

So use the reference if you want. If you circle back at some point and it seems horribly out of place, cut it loose.

tate hallaway said...

Good advice! Thanks to you both.