It Happened at the World’s Fair

Last weekend marked the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair, and with it the birthdays of Seattle landmarks like the Space Needle, the monorail, and basically all of the Seattle Center. There’s more awesomeness in that fact than I can unpack here, but the most visible sign of it is the stunning new/old look the Space Needle is sporting–with its “Galaxy Gold” top.

Look! It matches our banner! (photo by Leslie Howle)

As a Seattle native, this brings up a lot of personal feelings. But as a sometime writer of science fiction living in Seattle, it brings up questions. Questions like, “What happened to the future?” Dystopia and post-apocalyptic fiction is all the rage, but I find it refreshing for a moment to look back to a time when the future seemed glorious and within reach. And things came in colors.

This post says much of what I feel about the anniversary and why it matters to us Seattlites. But it leaves out the part about the future. Without World’s Fairs it remains up to us, writers and readers, to create the future. Let’s paint it orange.

Water towers are meaningful.

Yes, it's being power washed.

It's the way it makes you feel.

Seeing as I joined the Horrific Miscue gang after migrating to Seattle from a genuine small Iowa town, I feel a little compelled to provide some down-home Midwestern sensibility for the group.

This doesn’t really work, for a couple of reasons. I didn’t grow up in a small Iowa town, just rolled in to work for the newspaper, like a less exciting version of The Last Juror. And it didn’t take me long to decide that my future probably didn’t lie in a town that, while perfectly nice, didn’t even have a bookstore.

So I stayed for another two and a half years, then applied to Clarion West.

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Welcome home, sunshine!

Definitely not the same rain.

Hi. My name’s Emily C. Skaftun, and I grew up here in Seattle. And I just moved here six months ago. It wasn’t like moving to a whole new place, but neither was it coming home again.

I moved away at 18 to escape the gloom and the rain, but this rain doesn’t rattle me at all. It isn’t the same rain.

I have family and high school friends around, but I barely see them these days. I’ve made new friends of neighbors and baristas. But even better, I’ve plugged back into the community of writers I met at Clarion West in 2009—these people, Horrific Miscue!

So what am I? Am I a stranger here, or a local? Like all the other writers, I live in the otherworlds, with people who don’t exist in places I make from words. Yet we Miscuers (miscreants?) share those worlds, and words.

And now we’re going to blog about them (and using them) too. We promise. So, hi, theoretical reader. If you’d like to know more about me, check out my own often-neglected blog at