Not Your Sidekick takes flight in the year 2123, a hundred years after a major solar flare catalyzes for not just superpowers but also a series of major disasters which drastically changed the world. Yesterday The Gay YA hosted NYS on their monthly book club discussion, and the question was asked about how sexuality is seen in the NYS world, how it’s not entirely accepted, but not too much phobia either.
I tweeted something quick about things being better but not perfect, and started to talk about how society would have progressed after the Disasters, but you know, character limits. So, blog post.
I wanted to write a fun and ridiculous science fiction novel; there are characters who know their sexuality and some (you’ll find out!) who are still discovering things about themselves. It’s fun, lighthearted, superhero campiness, and I wanted the world to be a hopeful one and yet still be able to address issues that would be relevant today.
Jess is bisexual; she accidentally comes out to her classmates her sophomore year while discussing a poem. In the NYS world, sexuality is not a Big Deal. The LGBTQ+ community is lot more prevalent and accepted than it is today, and for Jess’s coming out, her classmates found it interesting, but only in the sense of how teenagers think about other teenagers and who they might be crushing on.
However, things aren’t perfect in NYS, and that’s on purpose.
Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, once said, “Star Trek was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in life forms…If we cannot learn to actually enjoy those small differences, to take a positive delight in those small differences between our own kind, here on this planet, then we do not deserve to go out into space and meet the diversity that is almost certainly out there.“
I think in science fiction especially, it is crucial to show diversity. We have all the creativity in the world to tell so many stories, possible futures that we can imagine ourselves in. For example, Star Trek series showed a future where people from different backgrounds worked together and explored the stars, and was an important landmark in representation. I think science fiction that shows these beautiful positives are great, and I’m always curious about how we got there. What was the society before the Federation like? How did we reach that shining future? What ways did our world progress?
In NYS, society has been rebuilding for about a hundred years after a major nuclear disaster (and natural disasters, and WWIII– whew!), so they’ve gone backwards quite a bit, and then forwards. I think a hundred plus years from now, how society sees sexuality won’t look like it does in the novel. It’ll look better.