Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake
jaylake

[writing] Speculative fiction and Third Culture Kids

Yesterday I was ruminating on a Sekrit Projekt with squirrel_monkey, when she commented that I was a TCK. I'd never run into the acronym. Turns out she meant I was a Third Culture Kid. Reading up on that, turns out she was right. Many of the characteristics cited near the end of that article map to me quite well.

It's stereotypical to comment that our field is the literature of alienation. Scratch most SF/F fans and writers and you'll find someone who more likely spent their teen years in the bookstacks rather than the malt shoppe or on the playing field. As I've commented before, all the cool kids were out having social lives while I hiding in the corner with a book.

Being a Third Culture Kid is all about alienation, but in a reasonably constructive form. Which is to say, not a terminal case of emo, but rather a fine infestation of polyculturalism. And you do see TCKs in our field (such as S.M. Stirling, Jeff VanderMeer or me). Also immigrant writers (such as squirrel_monkey herself), who have a lot in common with TCKs. I think it's the foundational sense of cultural dislocation that denormalizes our worldview sufficiently to have the thought processes to write SF/F.

So I present the Dangerous Poll. I shall also don my flameproof comment suit forthwith.

Poll #989361 Third Culture Kids in SF/F

If you're a reader of science fiction and fantasy, would you consider yourself a Third Culture Kid?

Yes
34(34.7%)
No
58(59.2%)
Men are from Mars
6(6.1%)

If you're a writer of science fiction and fantasy (published or aspiring), would you consider yourself a Third Culture Kid?

Yes
30(32.3%)
No
55(59.1%)
Earth girls are easy
8(8.6%)

Throwing out a few labels (always a dangerous game), which of these might you claim for yourself?

Third Culture Kid
3(3.1%)
Immigrant (to a country where they speak my cradle language)
1(1.0%)
Immigrant (to a country where they speak a language I had to learn as an adult)
2(2.0%)
Ethnic minority
0(0.0%)
Religious/cultural minority
1(1.0%)
alt.gender
0(0.0%)
Differently abled
0(0.0%)
Privileged
3(3.1%)
Underprivileged
0(0.0%)
Alienated on general principles
2(2.0%)
Just plain weird
13(13.3%)
Something else I'll explain in comments, you insensitive majoritist lout
6(6.1%)
Tags: culture, personal, poll, process, writing
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