A week from today I reach a milestone birthday, my 40th. Between being very busy at work and trying to finish this current draft of Across Two Universes (I have two more scenes to go!), I haven't had much time to dwell on it. (There will be no midlife crisis this week; my schedule is already full.) Still, the milestone has made me think about my generation, Generation X.
We seem to be a forgotten middle generation, neglected in favor of our more popular siblings, the Boomers and the Millennials. In terms of size, Gen X was a baby bust, and my year, 1970, had the lowest birth rate. I like to think that makes me a rare specimen. I think my generation was most discussed in the news back in the 90s (and dismissed as slackers), though Time ran an article on us two years ago. We may be ignored, but we aren't slackers any longer; we do the quiet, practical work that, as Jeff Gordinier, Gen Xer and author of a book on Gen X, puts it, "keeps the world from sucking."
So, does the generation you're from have an impact on your writing? The changes in technology I've lived through have made writing a book much easier. When I started high school, I had to use a typewriter (and I learned how to type on an actual typewriter too). I went off to college with a cheap computer with attached printer my parents bought from a home shopping network; I never did figure out how to create a paper longer than 5-6 pages on it, and I had to search all over for special printer ribbons and thermal paper. My laptop today doesn't come with its own printer, but it does so much more. Plus, of course, the Internet makes research, networking, and promotion possible on a new level. I think attitudes also play a key role. I grew up during the second wave of feminism, when we were all supposed to be "Free to Be You and Me." I'm a feminist, I enjoy attending WisCon, the world's first feminist science fiction convention, and I try to convey feminist attitudes in my work, even if I'm writing about men.
I know of a few speculative fiction authors from my generation, such as Jay Lake, Naomi Novik, and Mary Anne Mohanraj. Can anyone name some others? Perhaps someday my name will be mentioned too. Guess I'd better finish Across Two Universes to increase the chances of that happening!