I loved it. It’s supernatural in a way that reminded me of Hyperion, with just enough science fiction elements to ground it in some kid of a reality.
It’s longer than what I usually record, coming in at about 75 minutes, but I hope you’ll find the time to listen to it. It’s a really neat story.
And while I have your attention, can we just look at this from a different perspective that I can’t define? Like, let’s pull back a little bit on the timeline, and take a longer view than we normally would right now.
This story was written by a woman, in 1936. CL Moore is one of the first women to be published as a science fiction and fantasy writer. I can’t even imagine what a challenge it was to get her work, which is brilliant, past the editors in those days. I know she used initials and wrote under male pseudonyms, and while I hate that she had to do that, I’m so grateful that she did.
That this work exists at all is a wonderful testament to her talent and the editors who refused to be as sexist as the world generally was then (and still is, in modern ways, today).
I’m sure, in her incredible, gifted, magnificent imagination, she never even considered for a second that, almost 100 years into her future, someone whose parents weren’t yet born would take her work, bring it to life in a unique way, and then distribute that new work to anyone who wants it, in the world, without even getting out of my desk chair.
What amazing thing is sitting just over our horizon? What amazing thing is waiting for our grandchildren that we can’t even imagine right now? Why aren’t we doing more to protect our planet and each other, so our grandchildren don’t have to live in some apocalyptic nightmare?
The world is so dark right now. Fascism is on the rise all over the world, and has been taking root in America for some time. People are getting sick and dying for no good reason, while selfish people refuse to make sacrifices to prevent those deaths from happening. People are scared and struggling, and selfish, venal men refuse to lift a finger to help them, because offering that help now, when our lives and homes and careers are at risk, would prove that it really is possible in America to support our population in a way that is similar to the social democracies across Europe.
It’s such a terrible time, and I need to remember to keep looking for the helpers, or I’ll despair so much I may never come back from it.
So one way to maintain perspective, a different perspective, is to look at this recording and recognize what its existence says about the human spirit, what we’ve gotten through in the past as a collective and as individuals, and that there is hope for our future. Maybe there is someone whose parents aren’t yet born who will take my interpretation of CL Moore’s Tree of Life and do something with it 100 years from now.
It is unlikely that my work will outlive me, or even endure as long as I manage to stay alive. It would take something truly remarkable for this thing I recorded today to find a new life in 2120, but the possibility is so enticing, so inspiring, so much like the ideas that powered the fantastic, weird fiction I love so much from the 20th Century, I’m going to go ahead and allow it.