dolorosa_12: (emily)
This week's linkpost is early, and somewhat shorter than usual, as I was at a conference during the first half of the week. As I've said before, I build these posts out of interesting stuff that's crossed my path on Twitter (because I follow awesome people who share wonderful things), and while I was at the conference, I wasn't able to pay attention to my Twitter feed. Therefore, fewer links this week.

'Help Ahmed Make', a Google doc where you can sign up to support Ahmed Mohamed. (This was put together by Anil Dash, and was done with the agreement of Ahmed and his family.)

If you're in the US and over 13 years old, you can enter this giveaway to win multicultural books for your school library.

The Book Smugglers have put out a call for submissions for novellas.

Rochita Loenen-Ruiz interviews Tade Thompson about his new book, Making Wolf.

She also talks about experience, empathy, and her ongoing journey as a writer.

Kate Elliott talks about code switching in her YA novel Court of Fives.

I just missed this post by [personal profile] dhampyresa about the Breton Arthurian tradition last week. Read it. It's fantastic. There are great Arthurian recs in the comments, as well.

This is a brilliant post by Athena Andreadis on Ayn Rand.

Jenny Zhang: 'They Pretend To Be Us While Pretending We Don't Exist', on Michael Derrick Hudson's act of yellowface, and racism in publishing more generally.

Aliette de Bodard on colonialism and empire.
dolorosa_12: (emily hanna)
Slightly flippant title, wildly inaccurate characterisation of my reasons for doing these linkposts. Over here I am gearing up for a much needed long weekend, after one of those weeks that just seem to go on and on and on.

Kate Elliott wrote a great post on 'Diversity Panels: Where Next'. I would encourage you to read (most of) the links that follow, particularly the panel discussion at The Book Smugglers, which I included in a previous linkpost.

Some (unintentionally Australian-centric) Hugos follow-up posts:

Liz Barr of No Award livetweeted the Hugos.

Galactic Suburbia did a podcast discussing the results.

On a less awesome note (in the sense of this needing to be said at all), Sumana Harihareswara responded to the use of the Hare Krishna chant in the Hugos ceremony in an extraordinarily open-hearted and giving way.

A lot of people were sharing this (old) 'How to (Effectively) Show Support' by Dahlia Adler. This part particularly resonated with me:

There is a really big difference between being a person who only rages and a person who both rages and makes a real move for change. And maybe people don’t realize that. Maybe they don’t get how. But I’m tired of seeing raging with no support counterbalance, and I’m tired of people thinking raging is enough without backing it up in a meaningful way. I’m tired of people not realizing how limiting the effects are when all you do is talk about who and what is doing things wrong and not who and what is doing things right.

(Incidentally, I think the first person I saw sharing the post was Bogi Takács, who very effectively shows support with regular roundups of #diversepoems and #diversestories recommendations.)

Aliette de Bodard has set up a review website, designed to host reviews of 'books we love, with a focus on things by women, people of colour, and other marginalised people'.

Here's Sophia McDougall doing a podcast with Emma Newman. My poor, Romanitas-loving heart hurt when Sophia talked about one particular scene in Savage City involving the Pantheon. (I know at least one friend is currently reading the series for the first time, so it might be wise to avoid this podcast until you've finished - it's mildly spoilery.)

More on the invisibility of older women authors, this time from Tricia Sullivan.

Ana has gathered some great, library-related links at Things Mean A Lot.

'Breakthrough in the world's oldest undeciphered writing'.

Via [personal profile] umadoshi, these photos of the world's oldest trees are really amazing.

I hope you all have wonderful weekends.
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
Canny readers will have noticed that today's post contains three weeks' worth of material, and is posted on a Thursday instead of the usual Friday. While I have no excuse for skipping several weeks' posts, I should explain that I will be spending most of tomorrow on a train, and felt it would be easier to post today instead.

Amberlin Kwaymullina: 'Let the stories in: on power, privilege and being an Indigenous writer'.

Here is a Q and A with African writers of science fiction at Omenana. I found some of the questions (from students at Simon Fraser University, Canada), to betray some rather ill-informed assumptions on the part of the questioners, but all of the answers were illuminating.

Tansy Rayner Roberts' Continuum 11 speech: Fantasy, Female Writers & The Politics of Influence.

'In The Rustle of Pages', a short story by Cassandra Khaw.

I loved this poem, 'A Visit With Morgan Le Fay', by Sofia Samatar.

Via my partner, this review of the new Channel Four show Humans.

Aliette de Bodard has begun posting regular 'Shattered Wings Thursday' posts, which consist of related content for her upcoming novel House of Shattered Wings. Keep an eye out for upcoming posts in this series.

One of my former academic colleagues, Myriah Williams, who works on medieval Welsh manuscripts, has written about the rather surreal experience of having her research attract wider attention in the mainstream media.

YA Books Central is running a giveaway for Serpentine, Cindy Pon's latest book.

No Award posted about Australian kids' TV show themes (Lift-Off forever!).

'The Definitive Oral History of How Clueless Became an Iconic '90s Classic'.
dolorosa_12: (what's left? me)
The links this week are a bit of a mixed bag, partly because I've been somewhat distracted, and as a result this post is a bit shorter than usual.

Tade Thompson made some important points about literature and diversity, storified by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz. I see Tade's thoughts as another part in the conversation I linked to last week.

Rochita Loenen-Ruiz had some further thoughts on the matter.

Zen Cho posted 'Ten Things I Believe About Writing'. There's also a great interview with her up at Kitaab:

I write stories as a way of answering questions.

Another post by Rochita talks about language, identity, and the process behind writing her latest published story, ' Bagi: Ada ti Istorya':

While thinking of language recovery, I found myself thinking too about what lies buried in language. What narratives had I chosen to erase when I chose to leave behind that language? What narratives could be pulled out of a text or a few lines or a word? What memory–what emotion would rise up from the use of a language that has lain dormant for so long.

More on language and storytelling: Samantha Shannon interviewed her Dutch translator, Janet Limonard.

I loved this new, bilingual Ghostwords post.

Kate Elliott had lots of thoughts about Mad Max: Fury Road, and Charles Tan storified them.

This review of Mad Max: Fury Road by Julianne Ross really resonated with me:

But where Fury Road really surprises is in its genuine respect for the five women Furiosa is trying to save. They are beautiful, generous and kind — deliberately feminine traits that have allowed them to survive as long as they have, and which the movie refuses to treat as a burden or incidental.

This Mad Max fanvid by [tumblr.com profile] jocarthage is simply breathtaking.

Happy Friday, everyone!
dolorosa_12: (emily hanna)
This week's post goes from the sublime to the ridiculous (but mainly focuses on the sublime).

To start off, an absolutely fabulous roundtable on diversity. The participants are Aliette de Bodard, Zen Cho, M Sereno, Bogi Takács and JY Yang, moderated by Charles Tan.

Over at Ladybusiness, Renay has created a fabulous summer (or winter) reading recommendation list.

On a sadder note, Tanith Lee has died. Athena Andreadis has written a lovely tribute. Sophia McDougall shared an old anecdote about meeting Lee.

There are a lot of new updates at Where Ghostwords Dwell.

Sophia McDougall has posted an excerpt of Space Hostages, which will be published really soon.

You can enter a giveaway to win an ARC of House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard here.

I saw Mad Max: Fury Road this week and absolutely adored it. (If I had endless money and more time on my hands, I would have seen it at least five more times since Tuesday.) This essay by Tansy Rayner Roberts goes a long way towards explaining why.

I found this post by Kaye Wierzbicki over at The Toast very moving. (Content note: discussion of abortion.)

This is the last week of A Softer World and I am really not okay. This and this are probably my favourite recent comics of theirs.

Natalie Luhrs is reading what looks to be a terrible book for a good cause. I encourage everyone who has the ability to donate. I will be donating to an equivalent UK-based charity.

This post's title comes from my favourite Eurovision song this year, which didn't win. This did not bother me in the slightest.
dolorosa_12: (epic internet)
So. Lots of stuff to get through this week, as my corner of the internet has been particularly full of people doing wonderful, clever and awesome things.

Rochita Loenen-Ruiz had a busy week. Here's Rochita on the uses of anger, her new short story, and being interviewed for Lightspeed magazine's author spotlight.

Catherine Lundoff has had so many submissions to her 'Older Women in SFF' recommendations post that she's had to split it into two. Part one, part two.

I really liked this review of Zen Cho's writing by Naomi Novik.

This review by Sarah Mesle of the most recent episode of Game of Thrones made a lot of points I've been struggling to articulate. Content note for discussion of violence, abuse and rape.

I really appreciated this thoughtful post by Tade Thompson on safety, community and dissent.

Natalie Luhrs makes some really important points here:

This is part of the ongoing conversation about the importance of different voices in our community. About making space for people who have been told–explicitly and implicitly–that what they have to say isn’t worthwhile and that they need to sit down and listen and that someday, maybe, they’ll be allowed to speak.

This list of Best Young Australian novelists looks great, and reflects the Australia that I grew up in. Congratulations to all the winners!

I have to admit that the #hometovote hashtag has been making me cry.

I wrote two longish posts this week. One is over at Wordpress: a review of Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. The other is here at Dreamwidth/LJ, and is a primer to Sophia McDougall's Romanitas trilogy.

My mother is a radio journalist. Her programme this week is on Eurovision, and you can listen to it here (not geoblocked). There are additional features . I am an unashamed Eurovision fan, and as you can see, it runs in the family.

Texts from Hieronymous Bosch made me laugh and laugh.

Happy Friday, everyone.
dolorosa_12: (epic internet)
Ambelin Kwaymullina talks about diversity in Australian YA literature.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: 'Fear of causing offense becomes a fetish'.

Here's Daniel José Older on diversity, power and publishing.

Laura Mixon talks about building bridges and healing divisions.

Rochita Loenen-Ruiz talks about self-care and 'staying in touch with the child-self'.

Aidan Moher discusses writing military SF without combat.

Astrid Lindgren's Second World War diaries have been published in Sweden.

Ana of Things Mean A Lot reviews Pride in the light of the recent UK elections.

I love this review by Electra Pritchett of Stranger and Hostage by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith:

If I had to pick a post-apocalyptic YA society in which to live, I'd pick the community of Las Anclas hands down, warts and all: rather than a hierarchical dystopian society where something random is outlawed and the government controls something else crucial to society, Las Anclas represents a kinder, gentler post-apocalypse. It's not quite a utopia, except in the sense that everywhere in fiction is, but that's precisely what makes it a believable and desirable place to live: its busybodies and jerks are notable because they're not the only kind of people in the town, and dealing with them would be a small price to pay in order to live in such a supportive and inclusive place.

The upcoming publishing schedule at The Book Smugglers makes me so happy.

I am really looking forward to the publication of Tell The Wind And Fire, Sarah Rees Brennan's latest book.

Via Sherwood Smith, listen to the oldest (recorded) song in the world.

Happy Friday, everyone!
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
This week's post is a little early, as my partner's parents are in town and I have to grab whatever time I have to myself when I can.

I really liked this essay by Kari Sperring in Strange Horizons. It's ostensibly about Katherine Kurtz, but its broader point is that the 'women who made fantasy [and science fiction]' keep getting ignored, erased or forgotten in the genre's history.

In a similar vein, Renay has written at Fantasy Book Cafe about recommendation lists that contain no women.

Also by Renay, a review of The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan for Ladybusiness.

This post by Tumblr user allofthefeelings is a reaction to a very specific fandom situation, but I feel it has broader applicability, given that it talks about unexamined preferences, narrative default settings, and representation (within texts, of fandom and of fannish culture and preferences).

I have a not-so-secret love of '90s teen movies, so this post on Tor.com by Leah Schnelbach and Natalie Zutter about teen movies that adapt or draw on Shakespeare's plays was right up my alley.

Abigail Nussbaum reviews Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho for Strange Horizons.

Here's an interview with Zen Cho by Sharmilla Ganeson in The Star.

My friend Raphael Kabo wrote this poem called 'Axis' for Noted Festival. He writes a lot about identity, alienation and place, which are themes very dear to me.

Still on the theme of poetry, Athena Andreadis shared an older post on Sapfó (Sappho) of Lésvos.

This is a raw, emotionally honest post by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz about the struggle to find her voice and courage after ill-treatment, silencing and the twisting of her words and judgement of her actions. I continue to be awed by her words, bravery and determination. SFF needs more people like her.
dolorosa_12: (Default)
This week's linkpost is up a bit early, and contains many fabulous things.

I'm a huge fan of Sophia McDougall's review of Birdman: over at Strange Horizons. In it, she compares the film to Boris Johnson. It's an apt comparison.

Here's a great interview with Samantha Shannon. 'Cities are made of narrative' indeed.

Aliette de Bodard's description of her subconscious as a library is a fabulous metaphor, and one that I might steal myself!

There's a great set of guest posts over at Ladybusiness on 'What books are on your auto-recommend list?' (For the record, mine are the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, the Pagan Chronicles series by Catherine Jinks, Space Demons, Skymaze, Shinkei and Galax Arena by Gillian Rubinstein, Parkland, Earthsong, Fire Dancer and The Beast of Heaven by Victor Kelleher, the Romanitas trilogy by Sophia McDougall and the Crossroads trilogy by Kate Elliott.)

Episode 4 of Fangirl Happy Hour is up. This week Ana and Renay are talking Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear, Jupiter Ascending and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. I'm not quite as critical of S.H.I.E.L.D. as they are, while I think there's room for difference of opinion about the feminism of Jupiter Ascending, but as always, I appreciate their thoughts.

The first few guest posts about representation and diversity are up on Jim C. Hines' blog.

Shannon Hale talks about gender segregation at readings she's done at schools. It's heartbreaking.

I thoroughly enjoyed this article by Robert Macfarlane about language and landscape. Beautiful stuff.

I really liked the recent BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall. This interview by Julia Raeside of Claire Foy, who played Anne Boleyn, goes a long way towards explaining why.

For reasons that will soon become apparent, although I can't provide a link to it, the #readingAuthorName hashtag on Twitter has been a powerful and positive movement. It works like this: think of an author whose works moved you and shaped you into the person you are. Tweet about it. Add the hashtag #readingAuthorName (obviously replacing AuthorName for the author's actual name). Feel happy.
dolorosa_12: (pagan kidrouk)
This week's linkpost is up a bit early, and contains many fabulous things.

I'm a huge fan of Sophia McDougall's review of Birdman: over at Strange Horizons. In it, she compares the film to Boris Johnson. It's an apt comparison.

Here's a great interview with Samantha Shannon. 'Cities are made of narrative' indeed.

Aliette de Bodard's description of her subconscious as a library is a fabulous metaphor, and one that I might steal myself!

There's a great set of guest posts over at Ladybusiness on 'What books are on your auto-recommend list?' (For the record, mine are the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, the Pagan Chronicles series by Catherine Jinks, Space Demons, Skymaze, Shinkei and Galax Arena by Gillian Rubinstein, Parkland, Earthsong, Fire Dancer and The Beast of Heaven by Victor Kelleher, the Romanitas trilogy by Sophia McDougall and the Crossroads trilogy by Kate Elliott.)

Episode 4 of Fangirl Happy Hour is up. This week Ana and Renay are talking Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear, Jupiter Ascending and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. I'm not quite as critical of S.H.I.E.L.D. as they are, while I think there's room for difference of opinion about the feminism of Jupiter Ascending, but as always, I appreciate their thoughts.

The first few guest posts about representation and diversity are up on Jim C. Hines' blog.

Shannon Hale talks about gender segregation at readings she's done at schools. It's heartbreaking.

I thoroughly enjoyed this article by Robert Macfarlane about language and landscape. Beautiful stuff.

I really liked the recent BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall. This interview by Julia Raeside of Claire Foy, who played Anne Boleyn, goes a long way towards explaining why.

For reasons that will soon become apparent, although I can't provide a link to it, the #readingAuthorName hashtag on Twitter has been a powerful and positive movement. It works like this: think of an author whose works moved you and shaped you into the person you are. Tweet about it. Add the hashtag #readingAuthorName (obviously replacing AuthorName for the author's actual name). Feel happy.
dolorosa_12: (ship)
Various things could be considered the catalyst for this post, but the most recent was the first in a series of posts by Malinda Lo for Diversity in YA on perceptions of diversity in book reviews. In the post, Lo makes the disturbing point that a large number of reviews of diverse books criticise their diversity as 'contrived' or 'implausible'. It's clear that these reviewers need to change their default assumptions, but Lo's conclusions also speak to a wider problem: we need diverse reviews just as much as we need diverse books. Our understanding is enriched by exposure to a multiplicity of perspectives, and the work of marginalised reviewers is crucial in this.

This post, then, is intended to serve as a place for recommendations. A couple of things:

1. I'm not interested in identity-policing anyone. There's no need to argue in the comments as to whether anyone's identity is sufficiently marginalised to warrant inclusion, nor do you need to state exactly how the recommended reviewer is marginalised. Use your own judgement.

2. Self-recommendations are perfectly okay.

3. I am particularly keen to gather recommendations for reviewers writing in languages other than English, or writing in English about non-US/UK or non-Anglophone literatures. I have intermediate reading knowledge of several European languages but am essentially a monolingual English-speaker. These recs aren't for me! They're for people who are not used to seeing their languages and literatures represented in (English-language) lists of recommendations, or not used to seeing their literatures explored with any great nuance in the Anglophone world. (And this goes for any recs you might choose to post. They don't need to be accessible to me, just be important to you.)

4. No platform is too small. Feel free to recommend reviewers writing for well-known, influential sites or tiny personal blogs with small readerships. I'm attempting to gather recs that go beyond the usual suspects.

5. This is a cross-post at Livejournal and Dreamwidth, so feel free to comment at either place.
dolorosa_12: (teen wolf)
It's Friday afternoon Saturday morning (and I'm mirroring this from my Wordpress blog), and that means it's high time for your weekly links. Most of these were gathered via Twitter, because I follow some fabulous people over there, and they keep finding and doing wonderful things.

A.C. Wise's monthly post for SF Signal on women to read in SFF is filled with some great recommendations. This post is part of a series, so if you want more recommendations, you'll be able to find them in the related posts links under the article.

Jim C. Hines is calling for guest posters to write on representation in SFF, so if you think you fit the criteria, you should definitely try and submit something. He's already run a previous series of posts on this subject, which were collected as an ebook, the sales of which have gone to support the Carl Brandon Society's Con or Bust programme. The call for guest posts runs until today, so get in now if you want to be included.

I'm really looking forward to Aliette de Bodard's new Xuya short story. She's posted an excerpt on her blog.

This post by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz about the struggles people face when trying to speak up (or even speak at all) is powerful and important.

Kate Elliott's short-story collection The Very Best of Kate Elliott is out on the 10th February. She's been blogging up a storm recently. I particularly appreciated her guest post at The Book Smugglers on self-rejection and the courage tosay yes.

Also from Kate Elliott, 'An Illustrated Love Letter to Smart Bitches and Trashy Books', which does exactly what it says on the tin. I'm not a regular reader of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (which recently celebrated its tenth birthday), but I am a firm believer in unapoletically loving the things you love, and not shaming other people for their fannish choices, so this resonated with me a lot.

This guest post on Ladybusiness by forestofglory is full of great short-fiction recommendations that I will definitely be checking out.

Finally, I went on a bit of a Twitter spree about cultish behaviour and abuse dynamics in fandom. These tweets should be considered the preliminary stage of a more detailed post that I've been thinking about for a while. Charles Tan was kind enough to collect my tweets together on Storify.

Happy Friday, everyone! Enjoy Armenian teenager Vika Ogannesyan singing 'Plava Laguna' (the opera song from The Fifth Element).
dolorosa_12: (Default)
This is the obligatory Hugo Awards reaction post. I'll add more links as the appear, but at the moment most of the winners and nominees are probably feeling the aftereffects of last night's celebrations and haven't had time to write anything.

This year was different. There was a sense both of a tipping point, and of a real struggle for the soul of the speculative fiction community. And, as [twitter.com profile] fozmeadows said, the awards results showed that the community turned a corner, and headed in the right direction.

Here is a full breakdown of the voting. I'm feeling particularly gleeful about the result for Novelette.

Here is the writeup by Hannah Ellis-Petersen at The Guardian, which quotes Best Short Story winner John Chu:

Other major winners included John Chu, who won best short story for his deeply personal work The Water that Falls on You from Nowhere, which grapples with questions of sexuality and tradition within a fantasy framework.

Picking up the award, a visibly overwhelmed Chu described the challenges he faced in getting his story published. "I can't begin to describe how much this award means to me," he said. "When I started writing, so many people's words were 'I'm not racist, but …', 'I'm not homophobic, but …' There were so many buts, and they all told me, sometimes in those exact words, that no one was interested and no one would publish anything I would ever write. So to win a Hugo, and for this story, I can't put into words how much that means to me."


John Scalzi's writeup makes some more good points:

[Larry] Correia was foolish to put his own personal capital as a successful and best selling novelist into championing Vox Day and his novelette, because Vox Day is a real bigoted shithole of a human being, and his novelette was, to put it charitably, not good (less charitably: It was like Gene Wolfe strained through a thick and rancid cheesecloth of stupid). Doing that changed the argument from something perfectly legitimate, if debatable — that conservative writers are often ignored for or discounted on award ballots because their personal politics generally conflict with those of the award voters — into a different argument entirely, i.e., fuck you, we got an undeserving bigoted shithole on the Hugo ballot, how you like them apples.

Which is a shame. It’s fine for Correia to beclown himself with Day, if such is his joy, and he deserves to reap the fruits of such an association. I suspect, however, there are others whom he championed for his “sad puppy” slate who were less thrilled to find themselves looped in with Day by involuntary association.


I am most happy about Ancillary Justice winning Best Novel. It's the best book I've read all year, and I'm thrilled that it swept the board of speculative fiction awards. A most deserved win.

I was also very happy about the nominees for Best Fan Writer, and to be honest, wished that all five could've won. But Kameron Hurley is a truly deserving winner, and her second Hugo for Best Related Work was just icing on the cake. (Speaking of which, if you haven't yet read 'We Have Always Fought', go out and do so now.

I'll leave you with a quote from Hurley's acceptance speech, which was read by [livejournal.com profile] kateelliott:

The conflict of narrative we’re engaged in online, in convention spaces, in stories, and in the wider world is a real one. It’s no less than a struggle for our inclusion in our own history. Not just my history, my future. But yours. Your friends’. Your colleagues. All of us, struggling together to write a better, truer story.

Tell them stories indeed.
dolorosa_12: (epic internet)
I saw Guardians of the Galaxy two days ago, and, a couple of quibbles with certain narrative choices aside, thoroughly enjoyed it. I don't really have much to say on the matter, but my friends [tumblr.com profile] jimtheviking and [tumblr.com profile] shinyshoeshaveyouseenmymoves have been having a very interesting conversation about it which I felt was worth sharing. Expect spoilers for the whole film.

This review of The Magicians by Lev Grossman by Choire Sicha doesn't really make me want to read the series, but makes a couple of points about writing women in fantasy literature that really resonate with me:

“When I was writing the story in 1969, I knew of no women heroes of heroic fantasy since those in the works of Ariosto and Tasso in the Renaissance. … The women warriors of current fantasy epics,” Le Guin wrote in an afterword of The Tombs of Atuan, “look less like women than like boys in women's bodies in men's armor.” Instead, Le Guin wouldn't play make-believe, and her women were sometimes vulnerable, including physically. She refused to write wish fulfillment, even the wish fulfillment many of us crave.

The first time I read the Earthsea quartet (as it was then), the stories of Tenar and Tehanu resonated with me in a way that was powerful and profound. I was fourteen or fifteen years old, and I think it was the first time I'd read stories that gave me a glimpse of how terrifying it was going to be to be a woman. They are not easy or comforting stories, and they showed a world that I was about to enter and told me truths I had at that point only dimly understood.

Here is a post at The Toast by Morgan Leigh Davies about attending the Marvel panel at SDCC. It made me deeply grateful that my fannish interest lies in characters and not actors.

This post by Mallory Ortberg at The Toast is deeply hilarious:

Far be it from me to criticize the tactics of modern union organizers, but frankly I think the world was a better place when tradesmen organized to agitate for their rights in the workplace and practice esoteric mind-controlling spells at the same time.

The Society of the Horseman’s Word was a fraternal secret society that operated in Scotland from the eighteenth through to the twentieth century. Its members were drawn from those who worked with horses, including horse trainers, blacksmiths and ploughmen, and involved the teaching of magical rituals designed to provide the practitioner with the ability to control both horses and women.


(As an aside, if you're not reading The Toast, you're missing out.)

Samantha Shannon has some good news. Her Bone Season series was intended as a seven-book series, but Bloomsbury had initially only committed to publishing three. But now they've gone ahead and confirmed that they will publish all seven. Samantha is awesome, as is the series, so I am thrilled.

Speaking of The Bone Season, I made a Warden/Paige fanmix on 8tracks. I go into more detail about the reasons behind my choice of songs here.

The [twitter.com profile] PreschoolGems Twitter account is one of the most fabulous things ever to exist on the internet.

This particular A Softer World gives me life.
dolorosa_12: by ginnystar on lj (robin marian)
I've got four links for you today.

First up, N. K. Jemisin talking about her experiences trying to publish a book in the face of industry racism:

But here’s something else I probably haven’t emphasized enough: I did have help. I’ve mentioned how crucial those early role models were in encouraging me to try for a pro career, and keeping me from quitting when things got ugly. But just as crucially, somewhere between my first and second attempts to break in as a novelist, the entire genre changed, just a little. Massive discussions about race and gender had begun to take place, spurred by early social media like Livejournal, and these were a clear signal to the SFF establishment that there was an audience out there for the kind of stuff I write. There always has been. More importantly, I did not have equal opportunity. In order to get my Nebula/WFA/Locus-nominated first novel published, I had to write a trilogy that got even more awards and nominations. I had to work around assumptions that a white writer writing white characters in a pseudo-medieval-European setting would not face, like Will anybody except “her people” read this book?

Malinda Lo talks about sexism (and racism, and homophobia) and self-promotion:

Leaning closer to me, the woman asked in a lowered voice, “Is this because you’re a lesbian?”

I was charmed by her question because I could tell she was gay, and she seemed to be whispering a secret to me through a keyhole. I smiled and said, “Yes. Yes, I’m a lesbian.”

She said, “Thank you so much for saying what you said at the panel. I never knew books like yours existed. I’m so glad you’re out.”

I told her, “You are the reason I came to this festival.”

And she was. No matter how disconcerting it is to be forced to come out over and over again, both in real life and online, no matter how frustrating it is to get homophobic messages or reviews, I have to remember that there are queer women out there sitting silent in the audience, or reading quietly online, who have never heard of my novels. Queer women who have never realized that they could read books about queer women who are allowed to fall in love and have happy, fulfilled lives.


Sarah Rees Brennan wrote a companion piece to Lo's article:

I have heard often that it’s wrong for lady creators to talk about sexism or how sexism negatively affects their lives, and that we’re making it up. I don’t know why this always shocks me so much: this is very familiar stuff at its core. “Those crazy wimmins, complaining about their lady treatment when they actually get treated SO well” is something ladies get a lot from anti-women’s-rights conservatives. I guess that’s why it’s surprising to hear it from other quarters, sometimes from other women, but at least it makes things very clear: people actually concerned about sexism do not go around saying that women should shut their dumb faces about it.

Nor, in a society set up to make sure women have poor opinions of themselves, is anyone taking on the system by characterising professional women as bragging and boasting. Those who use a rhetoric that insists “these women talking in any way positively about themselves or their work are too self-satisfied” are upholding the current system, where women are socialised not to have any confidence, and that is reinforced at every turn by people telling them that the tiny pieces of confidence they’ve managed to scrape together are far too much.


And, in a post both hilarious and misery-inducing, Foz Meadows wrote 'How Many Male SF/F Authors Does It Take to Change a Lightbulb?'.

And now, on to the meme.

Meme questions and answers behind the cut )
dolorosa_12: (what's left? me)
I am so desensitised to the objectification of women that the first time I saw the video for Robin Thicke's song 'Blurred Lines', my only reaction was 'this looks like a hipster's Instagram album'. That version is bad enough, but there's an uncut version of the clip in which the female dancers are almost completely naked. And I know, the whole thing is clearly mainly a publicity stunt, because of course everyone will hear about it, get outraged and then go and have a look. And of course, 'music video clip objectifies women' is pretty much news at eleven these days. It's not so much that Thicke's video is doing anything newly horrible, but rather that it's one of the worst examples of undressed women-as-wallpaper that I've ever seen. It's bad enough to have half-naked women dancing around in a video clip, but in this one, they're being moved around (or rather dragged around by the hair) and posed like furniture. The point at which Thicke blows smoke into the face and mouth of one of the dancers makes my flesh crawl.

So then boylesque troupe Mod Carousel did a parody version, featuring the vocals of Caela Bailey, Sydney Deveraux and Dalisha Phillips.



The parody clip essentially mimics the original frame for frame, with some changes in props. Apart from switching the genders of the dancers, singers and rapper, there are no differences. It's a pretty powerful statement. But what interests me the most is the reaction currently playing out in the comments.

Now, Youtube comments are pretty much the dregs of the internet, and these are as awful as you'd imagine. What I'm seeing is a lot of clueless men Just Not Getting It. As Mod Carousel note in the information for the clip,

It's our opinion that most attempts to show female objectification in the media by swapping the genders serve more to ridicule the male body than to highlight the extent to which women get objectified and do everyone a disservice. We made this video specifically to show a spectrum of sexuality as well as present both women and men in a positive light, one where objectifying men is more than alright and where women can be strong and sexy without negative repercussions.

What we get in the comments is this:

If they had Calvin Klein models with just a thong on or something like that AND ATTRACTIVE Female artists then you would succeed. I'm not gay but I can say that Robin Thicke, Pharrell, & T.I. are all good looking dudes & they can sing/rap but..to be blunt they're [the female singers and rapper] not really at all attractive to the common male. - gman4eva9.

However if they truly were trying to objectify the men in the same way the women were being objectified, I think they should have done it in a more masculine way rather than the feminine portrayal of these guys. In my opinion, using Chippendale's or Magic Mike type of dancers would have demonstrated the objectification more effectively. - Kevin Wright.

A swing and a miss. Might have worked if they hadn't dolled up the men. It doesn't create an equal but opposite contrast. Should have had men portrayed as how women idealize them. - dwcupcakes.

why do the guys have to act gay....the girls in robin thicke's video weren't acting like lesbians....plus why are the girls dressed like guys.... - DisneyStarsTube.

I could go on. Of course, there are plenty of people articulately shouting down these idiots, who have spectacularly missed the point. It's not about whether heterosexual women find the dancers in the parody version hot (and I love how all these men in the Youtube comments are falling over themselves to tell me what I - and all women who like men ever - find attractive). It's about the fact that flipping the genders and posing men like scantily-dressed pieces of furniture provokes a very different reaction to videos which pose women like scantily-dressed pieces of furniture.

It's about the fact that when women behave towards men like men behave towards women, it's considered so unnatural that men think they are watching something designed for the gay male gaze.* It's about the fact that when the objectified become the subject in a faithful, image-by-image parody, male viewers' first response is to criticise the appearances of the female subjects for not being sexually appealing enough.

_____________________
*Which reminds me, yet again, of a post by Kate Elliott in which she refers to an email by a guy who berated her for 'pushing a homosexual agenda'. Eventually, she worked out that what he meant was that her books, written mainly from the point of view of heterosexual women, describe men in a sexual manner through the eyes of these women. Being made to view male characters in this way made the reader feel as if he were reading from the perspective of a gay man.
dolorosa_12: (matilda)
We watched Pacific Rim last night. While in some ways it's a deeply, deeply silly film (with obvious plot twists and characters who are little more than collections of tropes), it's also an incredibly important one. If anything deserves to be a successful summer blockbuster, it's Pacific Rim.

Seven reasons why you should watch Pacific Rim. Warning: mild spoilers )
dolorosa_12: (sokka)
We watched Pacific Rim last night. While in some ways it's a deeply, deeply silly film (with obvious plot twists and characters who are little more than collections of tropes), it's also an incredibly important one. If anything deserves to be a successful summer blockbuster, it's Pacific Rim.

Seven reasons why you should watch Pacific Rim. Warning: mild spoilers )
dolorosa_12: (le guin)
One of the benefits of growing up basically lacking any interest in watching TV* is that the primary exposure to stories that my sister and I gained was through books. And one thing that my mother did really well was pick books - both picture books that she read aloud to us, and novel-length books that we read to ourselves - that were very diverse in terms of the racial and ethnic identities of the characters therein. Part of this was simply because books aimed at younger children tend to be more diverse in this regard than books aimed at adults or even teenagers (which I think is actually pretty insulting towards adults. So a child is perfectly capable of identifying with someone of a different race and finding that person's story engaging, but an adult isn't? What a depressing thought), but part of it was, I think, deliberate.

My mother chose books that reflected my sister's and my interests, and what I was interested in as a child from a very early age was history and folk- and fairytales. I was fascinated in particular with how people lived in other times and places, and I was intrigued by patterns, tropes and recognisable archetypes in folk- and fairtales (although I didn't know the technical terms for these things at the time). I found it absolutely amazing that versions of the story most commonly known in the English-speaking West as Cinderella existed in China, Egypt and elsewhere. I adored seeing history through the eyes of children who were, I thought, just like me.

One of my fondest memories is the fact that whenever we went on a long holiday (anything lasting more than a weekend), we would borrow different books of folktales from the library and my mother would read her way through them over the course of the holiday. We read Russian folktales, Middle Eastern folktales, Celtic folktales, Japanese folktales, and, on one particularly awesome holiday, Fearless Girls, a collection of folktales from around the world where girls and women are the focus. (One of the best things about this book is that its stories represent a diverse range of female experiences. There are girls who fight monsters, there are girls who go on journeys, but there are also, in one Chinese story, a mother- and daughter-in-law who politely pretend not to have noticed that they inadvertently insulted one another when thinking they were alone. That is, the book represents more than one kind of heroism.)

I also remember beautiful picture books retelling Native American folktales and Indigenous Australian stories of the Dreamtime.

All of this is very well and good, but I'm not sure if all this was an entirely positive thing. The Indigenous stories are very telling. If all the stories about PoC that you are reading are set in the past, or at least in some indeterminate (but seemingly historical) folktale time, you run the risk (if you are white) of thinking that PoC being heroic and central to their own stories only in the past. At least in terms of the books I read, this problem was especially prevalent in terms of representation of Indigenous characters (most of the books I read that had a 'modern Australian' setting had a fairly representative range of characters in terms of the major immigrant (and I include white Australians in that) groups that lived in Australia at the time).

There was one picture book that I think did a good job of addressing this problem. Not coincidentally, it has been my favourite picture book for over twenty years. The book is My Place by Nadia Wheatley, illustrated by Donna Rawlins. It was published in 1988 to mark the bicentenary of white settlement in Australia - which could have been a problematic subject in terms of commemoration, but for the fact that Wheatley's writing an extremely pointed, subversive message.

The book begins in 1988. Each set of three pages represents one year in the life of a single house (and later, farm, and later still, area) in suburban Sydney. After a particular child (who lives in the house) describes his or her life, family and the house and surrounds (and background historical events: eg the character in 1918 talks about WWI, the character in 1938 talks about the Depression), you skip back 10 years and the whole process begins again with a different child. Sometimes a child will be the aunt or parent or grandparent of a previous child, and sometimes he or she will be the child of an entirely new family. The house's changing owners reflect the diversity of post-settlement Australia; there is a Greek family, an Irish family, a German family (who have to change their name from Müller to Miller during the First World War), a Chinese family who arrive at the time of the Gold Rush, a family whose members were convicts and so on.

Most importantly, the story is bookended with two Indigenous families. That is, it opens with an Indigenous family in 1988, and it closes with an Indigenous family in 1788 (who were nomadic, but whose narrator says, 'I belong to this place'). This is a powerful and important point to make in a book that would, if these people's stories were absent, be commemorating the genocide and dispossession of Indigenous people. By emphasising that Indigenous people were there before white settlement, and are still there now, the book totally reframes the discussion of place, identity and belonging. And it closes with an image of a yellow setting sun between a red sky and a black land in a deliberate echo of the Australian Aboriginal flag, with the words (a discussion between the final narrator and her (I think, but I'm not sure if I'm remembering correctly) father): 'How long will we belong to this place?' 'Forever and ever.'

I am not saying that reading these stories as a child made me magically free of racism (in many other ways, my education about issues of race was severely lacking, and I have messed up in this regard before and may do so again in the future). But I think having a diverse and representative** range of experiences depicted in literature and read by everyone is an important piece in the Educating Clueless White People puzzle. And because this piece is basically me remembering my childhood, and because I am white, I haven't talked about these things from the perspective of a PoC, but if these kinds of stories are important for Clueless White People, then I can only imagine that they are even more so for PoC. Because you can only see yourself doing brave and clever and amazing things, you can only see yourself as part of the story, if people write and publish and read your stories, and, most importantly, if you yourself are able to do so.



______________
*We did watch some TV, mainly shows on ABC Kids, but it was very restricted and for the most part, my sister and I preferred to play games or read books.
** I'm talking about race here, but this goes for representation in terms of sexuality, gender identity, disability etc as well.

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