It's nice, sitting in the early morning, drinking tea, reading while he works on his computer. I'm re-reading Octavia Butler's Dawn, the first in her Xenogenesis trilogy. This is research, of a sort -- I'm trying to write a story for Nalo's post-colonial anthology, and I'm interested in the idea of humans colonized by aliens, but I don't want to just repeat what Butler's already done. So I'm reading this, admiring it, and thinking about how the scenario could be different, and what that would mean. I'm particular interested in more subtle colonizations -- I look at the difference between how the Britih acted in India and how they acted in Sri Lanka, and the difference in how they ended up leaving (thrown out vs. leaving voluntarily), and how they were perceived in retrospect. I think I may try to write a sf version of what happened in Sri Lanka -- imagine the colonizers actually wanting to help, actually trying to help, and in fact, actually helping. And leaving when they said they would, leaving things better in many ways than they had been before. If you were one of the colonized, how would you feel about it? If you were a native girl, in love with one of the colonizer boys, what would that love be tinged with? Resentment? Gratitude? Both?
(Jed, when we were talking briefly about collaboration at WorldCon, I was thinking about something like this. It might be interesting, alternating limited third-person pov on this story. I could write the whole thing myself, but it would be an interesting experiment, to do the parts separately. I don't actually have a plot yet, but what I'm most interested in is the point of departure, which would be a crisis point for a couple in love. Does she leave with him? Does he even ask her to? Does he stay with her? What would he have to deal with if so, as the remnant of colonization in a country where his supporting power structure has been voluntarily dissolved?
It might even be interesting to abandon plot entirely and present the situation in a series of snapshot vignettes (like Ted Chiang's recent story about beauty). Which would be conducive to a collaborative model. Or, if there's a plot, to hide the plot among the vignettes... Interested in giving it a shot?)
This is the sort of thing I think about, when I think about writing stories these days. :-)