Like all things, fandom moves on. The most highly visible writers producing the most compelling work in the field no longer grew up in the shadow of the original Golden Age. They’re taking their rightful place in a community that ostensibly pretends it’s about limitless aspirational storytelling but regularly erects towering walls of ice to keep out those who don’t reflect the narrow truth of their lived story.
Many readers (most, I’d reckon) have adapted, and opened their experiences to the myriad brilliant writers working today. Some others, though—instead of embracing the future, they push it away and cling to the very writers whose legacies of literal fascism are being struck down by the very awards they’re hosting.
Clay Cooper’s knees hurt. Gabriel’s shoulders are hunched with the regret of two decades chasing the dreams of a younger man. Some people don’t like swear words. Moog cannot bring his husband back. The world is not what it once was. Tomorrow is not today. New voices are rising up. New heroes emerge to fight new threats.
The heroes of the old age become the villains of the new one.
We are shaped by the past, in ways. But the past is static and constant, unchangeable. The future is not. We are made of the past, but its permanence need not define us. Change is not only possible, but required—or you’ll be left behind, wondering what happened.
The past cannot anticipate the friends we make, nor the communities we join. It does not supersede what we learn, nor our desires to be better than what we’ve seen, to overcome what we’ve lived. If Lastleaf feels defined by the past, it’s because he refuses to look to the future.
Clay Cooper could’ve faded into obscurity, but Golden Gabe wouldn’t let him. Gabe didn’t understand how to change. Clay showed him. They got the band back together, but Saga didn’t survive on their old tricks. They thrived through sore backs and beer guts, self doubt and a world that had passed them by understanding the need for the new guard fighting at their side. Because those youngsters aren’t just the heroes of tomorrow—they’re the heroes of today.