Tuesday 1 March 2022

Micro-interview with Sean Chua

We asked a few questions of Sean Chua, author of “Ten Degrees of Freedom” in The Future Fire #60.

What does “Ten Degrees of Freedom” mean to you?

SC: “Ten Degrees of Freedom" is, I guess, me trying to grapple with the contortions one has to take to survive in these Interesting Times of late-stage capitalism. It can be wishful for us to imagine a frame of reference where queer and/or neurodivergent existences feel normal - wishful, or even utopian. But we're already exploring ways to express ourselves and talk to each other without the need for fantasy: the times I've shared meaningful looks with my friends, the soft silences and tender hugs, even how we occupy a room, all form this really nuanced language of love that I don't think is articulated enough as a way of world-forming in itself. I wanted to bring that kind of world-forming into the light and say, "hey, we're already here!" Emancipation doesn't always have to come from some promise about liberatory new technologies or the conquering of new space. It can also come from realising the existing dimensions between and within us. I wrote this story to feel closer to those dimensions, and in the process, bring joy to myself.

Illustration ©2022 Fluffgar

TFF: What are you working on next?

SC: Something post-apocalyptic, something really sweet. P.H. Low’s story The Loneliness of Former Constellations swept me off my feet last year when I read it—there was a powerful tenderness to how her world worked, which had to do with how elemental it was… I think there's something to learn about using elemental things as they are (the flowers, the swords, the spaceships, the heroes) to tell a freshly futuristic story. Less pretension and more conviction. I want to do something like that.


Fascinating, I think, the way fingers bend in four. I take the rings apart and it hurts a little less. I take a deep breath and put the rings together. My fingers break again. Snap.

Reminder: You can comment on any of the stories or illustrations in this issue at this post.

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