I finally turn on my computer this morning, and the flurry in the SFF world is all about Dr Peter Watts, a Canadian SF author who was arrested and beaten by U.S. Border crossing guards. The main article can be read here, a thoughtful follow-up here, and from his own blog here (and an update). Sherwood Smith writes about it here, including a plea for aid.
I have not actually read any of Watts’ work, but among the rest of the horror he experienced, this is what struck me most: ‘computer seized, flash drive confiscated, even my fucking paper notepad withheld until they could find someone among their number literate enough to distinguish between handwritten notes on story ideas and, I suppose, nefarious terrorist plots’ — because, I write science fiction too, and any of you who know anything about Orion also know that Jenai and her crew are not the most law-abiding citizens. And though I know the chances of something similar to what happened to Watts happening to me are very slim (because I’m female? because I can mask my tone well? am American? wouldn’t have gotten out of the car?), it is still scary, and I hope that Peter Watts gets out of this on top, and not in jail.
No, we don’t know the entire story yet, and I suppose it says something about my priorities that I was first more concerned about his notes and story than anything else. (Well, and being let out into a winter storm without a coat??) Er.