May

1

Much of the action of “Dance of Knives” is set in a lesbian bar in 22nd century Vancouver. Before I could write that, I had to ask myself: Will there still be a gay subculture in the 22nd century?

I concluded yes. First, Vancouver has the religious and social baggage of many different cultures, and all that’s not just going to disappear. Also, it seems there are always people out there who feel they need to make rules for other people’s sexual behaviour. I’d love to think that will go away, but I don’t.

And cities draw people. Growing up in a small, isolated community is always going to be difficult if you’re gay–if only because the dating opportunities are dismal. In the future Cascadia of my books, where mobility is very limited, there are still people who are strongly motivated to head for the city, even if there’s no jobs or housing for them.

The KlonDyke was set up during a global economic depression by a group of lesbian refugees who took over an abandoned building. They opened a bar downstairs and living space above, and the venture became successful enough that they were able to build their lives around it. By the time of “Dance of Knives” (forty years later), the bar has grown into a large operation, and its profits have enabled ‘SisOpp’ to build a nearby residence for several dozen families.

It’s a story of resilience, particularly the resilience of people working together. The traditional SF trope is a lone hero with a gun, but in real life people succeed because they either have or build a network of support.

We can’t shoot our way out of the trouble this planet is in. The heroes of the 21st century will be people who can inspire other people to put their energy into working together for positive goals.