20 Minutes Into The Future – What has changed, and what hasn’t?

Hello World returns February 23rd 2021

20 Minutes Into The Future trope has us looking at technology and what it can hold for our futures.

It’s not super often I get to you write you to in first person about myself. But when it comes to our debut novel I feel as if it’s a most. Hello World was originally released just under four years ago. The original idea for this post was going to be about how futuristic technology that Scott used to run around menacing corporate tech giants in the book was now being sold mass market.

And in some ways that is true. Most notably is Amazon’s Echo Loop. Their design is exactly how I pictured Scott’s ace smart ring. And what is his own AI, Hallie, if not a private non-commercial version of Alexa that helps you do crime?

But the nature of the 20 minutes into the future trope isn’t about catching up. As Mystery Science Theater’s Tom Servo says, “Fifty years from now it’ll be three years from now”. Unlike other types of science fiction that predicted flying cards in the year 2000. Stories set 20 minutes into the future don’t predict. They tell you something that is already happening, or easily could be behind the scenes.

Turns out Hello World is as relevant as ever. A story about the interplay between technology and identity.

Now days, ‘being yourself’ is even more commercialized. You are your brand. If possible a corporations would kill off the idea of anonymous. And more often than not, it’s not some evil company directly enforcing that change. It’s us. It’s our digital interactions, self policing. Behavior adjustments we make in order to get more likes, just so we can be connected with others.

People like to think of that all being run by an algorithm. But it’s all from people in one way, shape, or form. The human element is the very thing that companies are unable to fully remove.

Hello World is a story about the actions of individuals. And together what changes the world.

A recent example of ‘internet culture’ banding together to change global markets is Wall Street Bets reddit’s interest in Game Stop stock. Their power was in the camaraderie within those memes that allowed them to group together. Without the digital connection among individuals outnumbering the normal rules of the game they’d be less hedge funds going bankrupt today.

If anything Hello World is even more important today than it had been yeas ago, because every day our digital shadow grows. Our lexicon of internet culture grows and just becomes culture. Especially during covid times where we are using technology to safety stay part, and safely connect, and hopefully continue to subvert those withholding freedom.

Be sure to preorder the new edition of Hello World in paperback and ebook. There’s new edits, formatting, and if I do say so myself the paperback is much better size. If that wasn’t enough there’s an exclusive preview to book two within it!

Asexual characters in sex scenes – Should You Do It?

This is actually a cross post from the Fuck Yeah Asexual blog, since I always find the subject of asexual characters important and thought it should be shared in a new format here.

It started with an anonymous ask that went like this:

“I have been seeing a lot of smut with asexual characters having sex. I understand that some Asexuals will still have sex. But I don’t get why some Ace people want more Asexuals in smut. Isn’t that like wanting Gay people in heterosexual smut? I just don’t understand the defense of non tagged asexual characters in fanfiction.”

Here’s our answer if asexual character’s should, well, do it:

We can agree content should be tagged appropriately to help people find or avoid it. The anon’s question is wildly dismissive of the aces. People they already fully acknowledged exist. Why should one person get to see their experiences represented but other’s can’t? Why must we deny expectations of a singular ace experience. Since it would deny the lives of so many people in our own community.

More importantly, we should we never insist on a narrative that contributes directly to our own oppression. One that would ensure allos, allies, and aphobes walk away with a tremendous misunderstanding of asexuality. One that encourages a narrow understanding of what asexuality is. We were there for this type of asexual exception before. We worked for YEARS to shut it down, to spare future aces. So know learn it now: this attitude that aces can never engage in sexual things is one of the most violent tools in the aphobe quiver.

The not so cute sleight of hand attempt at equating the very existence of the fictional asexuals in sex scenes as always wrong makes it clear that the anon asker desires a world where aces are a stereotype. You’ll find no support for that here, and we will not cast stones at aces writers who do write sexual content.

There should be discussions on the number of stories that feature ace characters who are sexless and those who aren’t. Concern about the difficulty of finding the content that does exist due to inadequate tagging are also very understandable complaints, and we’re sympathetic to them.

That’s not actually what the anon asked however. They specifically lashed out at their own community–not the fictional representation, but the real, living, human aces who create or ask for or enjoy that content. Their complaint *as worded* is not a gripe about the fiction landscape, it is an attack on real people, and one that directly mirrors specifically oppressive movements among aphobes.

The anon didn’t ask for sympathy in their difficulties with finding the kind of stories they want to read. They asked us to join them in leveling vitriol against “aces who want [the content anon doesn’t like]” and against aces who “defend [portrayals of their own lives].” That is absolutely not a conversation we will participate in. Especially given how closely it echoes aphobic arguments that do things like deny any ace the right to consent, put forward rape apologia, exclude aces from relationships of any kind, and homegenize and dehumanize the entire community. Let alone echoing the very schisms that have haunted this community since it’s inception.

There’s a lot of history behind this question.

We’re more than happy to encourage conversations like the one this anon wanted to have. Or about how best to accommodate those experiences and where things might be falling short. But that will not happen at the expense of our own community members.

We can have good faith with each other even after comments like this which can read as harsh. Here’s proof of that as the original anon came back and added the following:

“Hey! I was the Anon about Aces in smut. I’m really sorry if I hurt you in any way. I am trying to learn more about Asexuality after one of my friends came out to me recently and was talking about that subject specifically. I am a pretty young lesbian and am trying to learn more about the entire LGBT+ community. Thank you for responding, I appreciate your time! Again I apologize for any hurt I caused, that was by no means my intention. I hope you have a good day!”

Dew adds, Hey thanks! I really appreciate the follow up on this. I know I came out swinging on that ask, but you unintentionally hit on some very tender points. In some really specific ways that unfortunately mirrored attitudes that have historically been very dangerous for the ace community.

But I’m really glad to hear that the underlying motive for that anon ask was ignorance and not malice. Please know that ignorance is not a character flaw; it’s the natural state of humans and easily changed. It sounds like your heart is in the right place and you’re eager to learn more so that you can be a better ally to your friends. That’s awesome, and if you want some more resources on how to approach this topic with a better understanding of ace community history and respect for the diversity of ace experiences.

Others brought up that they actually trust aces writing this more than others. Dew went on to say: There’s definitely a wide range of the quality of depictions of asexual characters of all sorts of experiences. It can be easier to trust ace-spec writers to be coming from an informed and respectful place.

I would of course caution that this doesn’t fall perfectly across clean lines based on the identity of the writers. Nor dismiss the efforts of allies who also approach the subject respectfully. (Recall that the broader aspec community does include allo members!) Nor discount that aces can also externalize their own possible struggles with internalized aphobia.

However, it can be particularly cruel to dismiss the efforts of ace writers. There are valuable discussions to be had about the differences in writing asexual characters from and internal vs. an external perspective. Especially considering how plentiful misinformation and erasure are.

When people suggest that only aces should write asexual characters we have disagree with that blanket statement.

Fuck Yeah Asexual doesn’t stand for stark divisions across identity lines. We can and should talk about what constitutes a respectful portrayal, where the common pitfalls are, and what damage can be done from irresponsible or misinformed understandings of ace experiences without this level of insularity. Not every ace will magically produce a great ace character, and not every allo will magically produce a terrible one.

If only reading works by other aces is a boundary you want to set in your own life, please do so! As I addressed in the previous ask, there are patterns in play that make that an understandable choice.

We won’t, however, support extrapolating that boundary out until it cuts off anyone who isn’t asexual (and this effort nearly always wants to exclude the wrong “”kind”” of asexual. People must be free to write about aces in ways that don’t push way questioning folks or all the allies-in-the-making who won’t ever learn what their mistakes are because we’ve isolated ourselves from them. Nothing good or productive comes from broadly applying that kind of us vs. them approach to entire communities. – Dew

There is absolutely room to talk about the behavior of allosexuals in regard to their fandom treatment of canon asexual characters. There’s also absolutely room to talk about some publishers making a fetish-like “Demisexual For You” trope. Which is a perversion of the biphobic “Gay for You” trope.

But honestly the media we’ve gotten from a main stream source has been from allosexuals inspired by aces, ace works, and ace activism. It’s more of a conversational story feedback loop. That’s the nature of all media.

If you wish you view the asks in their original context you can via that day’s archive. https://fuckyeahasexual.tumblr.com/day/2020/11/20.

The erasure of “Tumblr Aces”

Having a blog with a ‘potty mouth word’ in it causes some problems. So them so I’m just rewriting my thoughts of the vilification and erasure of tumblr aces here. This post is a reference to another that said tumblr doesn’t have a “celebrity class” yet it reach on culture is equal to that.

Words like “aspec” and “allosexual” were born or popularized on tumblr from disabled activists speaking up. The phrase “A is for Asexual, Aromantic and Agender” were not common until “a bunch of tumblr aces” told GLAAD that one of their campaigns would harm our communities.  GLAAD agreed.

erasure of tumblr aces

Big 5 ace books used to be from a very allo pov. Written about how aces were weird to be with. But tumblr bloggers keep collecting our history. And books over the next years turned into ace written stories. Even two of these new novels mentioned what it felt like to first see themselves via a tumblr post. There’s been a literal explosion of asexuals canonically in fiction around this time as well.

What caused the erasure of Tumblr Aces?

After the community stopped out from AVEN’s forums to more shared spaces we gained a visibility that was consolidated before. Tumblr allowed aces to be in spaces shared by everyone, instead of their own niche spaces online.

“Mirco-labels” are a common tumblr thing. Because they were labeled as such as a push back against those communities were gathered socially and publicly on tumblr. The queer theory written about them furthered that lexicon both on and off tumblr.

What community popularized allosexual? Tumblr aces. I was actively there for, and debated on which label should be use and why and what all the nuance of that specific choice and others should mean.  

What community re-popularized the split attraction model and saved the gay history behind it? Tumblr aces. It allowed for an more open and sure complex discussion on how we are the same and how we are different but how we are still one with not only ourselves but the wider queer community.  

“Ace-spec” and “A-spec” were also coined by fyeah mods because it was a reaction making sure the whole of the community feels seen.

The aphobic push back spread just as far as people using the term.

“Inclusionist” started to be used specifically to allow aces and any one else others targeted by Trans Exclusionary Radical Fems. In 2018 if someone said “They are an exclusionist” probably mean they are an acephobic. In 2020, they may use it more widely, but its use is still heavily a-spec leaning. It was indeed the opposite of the E from TERF. Because it phrasing was popularized by trans aces. 

Making fun and shunning tumblr has always been about attacking the ones most vulnerable in a fight about respectability politics. “Those non-binary colored hair queers with micro-labels.”

So my question about even the phrasing of “tumblr aces” or “tumblr queers” as an insult is this: Do we want to be a community that fights oppression wherever we see it. Or do we want to remake Mean Girls one tweet or post about superiority over those who debate and advocate? What happens when people on tumblr even start saying “Oh those parts of ace tumblr”  vaguely without context what is actually being discussed?

There’s no citizenship under a platform. The fact that tumblr is supposedly full of “cringe kweers” is and always was ableism mixing with racism and transphobia to create new brand acephobia that eats at ace history and those who laid the bedwork of everything that is commonly found across all ace spaces.

Tumblr’s power, and fyeah’s contributions, and the contributions of all “tumblr aces” is the same that was AVEN’s before they came so allo facing. It’s decentralized, allows for anonymity to safely join, no one’s opinion was inherently worth more simply because they aren’t public facing or a “celebrity”.