Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Science Fiction Kitchen

In two weeks I start a new writing class through UCLA Extension. This one's on writing short speculative fiction. I'm doing this as a double-dog dare to myself, and it's bound up with all kinds of panic, anxiety and self-doubt.

Kind of like cooking.

You wanna talk about alien worlds, alternative timelines, horror and urban fantasy--well, then, that's pretty much talking about what's cooking in my kitchen.

If you stand quietly before the scorching peas and pause for thought while reaching for the flame retardant, one could not fault you for wondering whether Something Strange were going on: has this not just happened? Again?

Kneeling to lift the raw bird from the oven at 6pm on Christmas Day, it would not be unjustified to speculate that, whatever world I was in when I turned the oven to 350 and then went skating with the 12 members of my dinner party for four hours, it was perhaps not THIS world.

Perhaps the door between this world and that, or those, is the same door that leads to the pantry, wherein, mysteriously, live 7 bags of organic quinoa but not a single grain of sugar. Wherein may be found a child's size 3 shoe and two box of Baby NumNums--although the only child in this house is a 7yo boy--but no cereal of any description. Whose shoe is that? It looks familiar, but.....No. Impossible. For 5 years? In the pantry for 5 EARTH YEARS?

Many dozens of identical squares of baking chocolate--unsweetened, semi-sweet, sweet, bitter--none of which are in boxes, leaving the sugar content of all desserts a matter of scientific fascination.

Cinnamon eerily transformed into curry leads to an odd prickling feeling at the back of the neck over "breakfast."

And through all of this I stumble like a dim-witted Star Trek extra who doesn't know what it means (DEATH DEATH DEATH) that her tunic does not match the others'.

I would call the genre "suburban fantasy," but that gives entirely the wrong impression. No ripped milkmen here. (Although vomiting can really give those abs a workout.) (Trust me.)

This is about horror, people, and the uncanny, the undead (that chicken divan just would not stay down), revenants that walk among us reeking of tuna casserole. Burnt tuna casserole.

I best I could pass this course just by submitting menus and including tasting notes.

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