Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Recently I've pulled out Quest for Video, the first of a trilogy that I originally started planning way back in 1993 when I was working at Moraine Valley Community College and we had an exhibit on the early days of television. It's set in a world where an attempt to use genetic engineering to end sexism led to a catastrophic war that resulted in a rejection of technology. Four centuries have passed, and a few nations are slowly readopting various kinds of technology. However, electronics remains forbidden, although electricity has been readmitted for about a generation because of its general usefulness.

Trasin, an androgyne (medial sex that's a result of the ill-advised efforts to end sexism through genetics), dreams of re-creating television without the use of banned vacuum tubes or transistors. It's a tall order, particularly after sie had to flee hir native Gamorra for the more laid-back ac-Daithas. There, friendless and beset by both poverty and ill-health, sie struggles to keep the dream alive.

Sie is at the miserable day-job where sie has been ordered to work full-time to repay the debts that resulted from hir latest bout with life-threatening illness, trying to grab a few moments to jot down a diagram for a new design during the lunch break that is hir only free time. But a workplace bully grabs the notebook from hir hands and reads from it in a nasty voice, while his sycophants laugh in derision. Then they decide to play keep-away, tossing it back and forth over the head of poor Trasin, who tries desperately and fruitlessly to recapture it.

It's interesting to draw upon an actual incident that happened to me (although in my case the stolen item was a pair of shoes), and the feelings of helplessness and of fear of retribution that might come upon me by authority figures who either saw me as contributing to my own torment, or thought that bearing down on me might somehow force me to become stronger.