Welcome to Presolutions Weekend for Chez Duskova. What a wonderful idea to have a weekend and a holiday before the new year arrives officially on Tuesday! I’ll be cooking and cleaning – getting the home lucky and at least a little more comfortable so I can start 2019 with a better slate than 2018. I’ll be studying Japanese so I can be a little more literate next year. Of course, the ukulele must be played (I got the sheet music for Blackstar ★ for Christmas!), because music is going to be a big part of 2019. And, I’m going to write just a little bit – just enough to remind myself that I am a writer.
In addition, I’ll make my formal resolutions on January 1, so this weekend is also about sorting out my brain.
On Friday, I was reminded of the importance of “keeping up with the industry” – or at least the news of my genre. I read this great article on Vox by Aja Romano about a trend called “hopepunk”. Apparently, the idea of hope-filled, never-give-up, positive fantasy and science fiction (and a whole slew of other narratives) has been trending since July 2017! Alexandra Rowland sounded the clarion on Tumblr with “(T)he opposite of grimdark is hopepunk. Pass it on.”
Vox’s Romano defines some characteristics of hopepunk, then goes on to tie it into comforting trends like the Japanese kawaii culture, and the Danish hygge/hyggeligt that Nancy Yeager has shared with us on this blog. The article also contrasts the self-made do-it-yourself aesthetic of hopepunk with the “she was born with it” aesthetic of the “noblebright” trend (noblebright is when the world is set right because a hero is born and leads the way to his/her natural destiny, whereas I think hopepunk is less about your DNA and predestination, and more about what you do with your DNA and your lucky accidents).
Romance writers have always been advocates of hope and love and perseverance, so hopepunk isn’t new for us at Eight Ladies Writing. But I’ve spent a lot of my time worrying that there’s no place in speculative fiction for my kind of hopeful, romantic stories. Kind of silly, really, because it’s obvious that my heroes in the genre (Lois McMaster Bujold, Terry Pratchett) have been doing it for decades and getting along Just Fine, Thank You. The trend is also in the mainstream, with some of my favorite shows like Parks and Recreation and Jane the Virgin. These stories tell us, sure, there’s an element out there that tries to drag us down. But, it’s worthwhile to keep working towards our happy endings . . . and working past those happy endings to the next spectacular goalpost.
If I had just kept up with the industry, I would have read it first on Tor (link; search on page for hopepunk territory) and Io9 (in this article, “utopia” is roughly synonymous with “hopepunk”). Knowing about hopepunk would have made me a lot more confident in my choices.
As it is, I’m now chasing the trend instead of leading it. Oh, well. Next year, I’ll make an effort to find out what’s on the edge, and if I’m writing that, I’ll try and push out the product a little faster. If I’m not writing that, well, I’ll just wait until the cycle comes around again.
So, to sum it all up, I’m tackling tasks before I make my new year’s resolutions, and I’m calling them “presolutions”. In the new year, I’ll be adding several sites to my daily rounds of internet reading, and doing my own version of Hopepunk 2019. Here’s hoping that your new year is wonderful and bright, and full of hope and just enough punk to keep things interesting!