dreamer_easy: (Default)
Reading the March 2016 issue of Australian Book Review on the treadmill and hit the same theme in two unrelated reviews: the intrinsic worth of things.

"[Stanley] Fish feels little need to justify scholarly work by utilitarian standards... Criticism of obscure scholarship and arcane language, he observes, aims at the humanities; similar approaches in economics or engineering get a free pass, because these subjects are presumed to possess instrumental value." (Glyn Davis reviewing Think Again)

"[Nicholas Birns] suggests that it [neo-liberalism] is a synonym for what Australians call economic rationalism - simply put, the valuing of all human effort in terms of money and profit, success and failure... Birns argues that writing - particularly contemporary Australian writing - is one of the last bulwarks against neo-liberal dominance. Imaginative writing... offers ways to 'conceive life differently than merely valuing one another by our financial conditions'." (Susan Lever reviewing Contemporary Australian Literature)

To a list consisting of scholarship in the humanities and imaginative writing, I'd add environmentalism, religion, and human rights as loci for valuing human beings and human work for something other than their dollar value. In the imaginative writing department, science fiction has important work to do, particularly in portraying alternatives to a present and a future we're being sold as inescapable.
dreamer_easy: (*books 3)
"The science of automation has surely reached the point where your company could design a machine... that would correct galleys."

"... such a machine would require that the galleys be translated into special symbols or, at the least, transcribed on tapes. Any corrections would emerge in symbols. You would need to keep men employed translating words to symbols, symbols to words. Furthermore, such a computer could do no other job. It couldn't prepare the graph you hold in your hand, for instance."

— Issac Asimov, "Galley Slave", 1941. irl ASCII was two decades away. In the future of US Robots and Mechnical Men it was apparently still a distant dream. :)
dreamer_easy: (Default)
Sitting on a plane a couple of hours out from Sydney. I've just finished reading "My English Name" by R.S. Benedict (Fantasy and Science Fiction May/June 2017), and wanted to rave about it a bit. The little note at the start of the story explains that it's drawn from the author's three years of working as an English teacher in China. It has that particularity that gives a fictional setting its power - the details that tell you the author really knows this place, these people. Benedict draws on both the interaction between Western culture and Chinese culture and between Westerners and Chinese people in a story that's about passing - as human, as straight, as gay, as white. I think the title may be drawn from the adoption of an English name by Asian immigrants, as English-speakers, typically monoglots, can't get our mouths around Asian phonemes; but the story's main character and narrator isn't even human, and works hard to pass as an Englishman. This mimicry is reflected all around the narrator in the Chinese culture he negotiates, from the designer knock-off scarf which helps hide his true self, to the use of bribery to gain fake qualifications, to the "rent-a-whitey gigs" he takes that reminded me uncomfortably of accounts that the only qualification you really need to teach English in Korea is whiteness.

The bribery in particular reminded me of the relentless corruption in Ha Jin's short stories, of the pressure on gay men and lesbians in China to marry (described in Benjamin Law's Gaysia) and of the obligation to "pass" as a Chinese citizen with the correct political opinions (I was struck by this in watching the reality show "Takes a Real Man" - the would-be soldiers must pass political tests as well as tests of their actual military skill). Now that brings me to something that's been preying on my mind since it happened. I have a side Tumblr, aegyopoisoned, in which I stash images of my favourite Kpop idols. It's an unremarkable blog with few followers - there must be tens of thousands like it. However, last April, I made a rather oddly written posting (I'll just bet I was hypomanic at the time) in which I confessed my worries about fetishing Korean and/or Asian people and culture as a result of Kpop's sex appeal. I was bewildered by yesterday morning's hate mail ("kill urself" is not as clear a message as it may seem) until we got home from the airport and I was able to locate a series of outraged responses.* In writing a much clearer response this morning I've worked through those concerns to some extent. (Now I just have to worry about the fact that my boys are half my age :).

Almost the first word of Korean I ever learned was 막내 maknae - the youngest person in a family or group. Taemin, my bias - that is, the Kpop idol I most swingeingly desire - is the maknae of the boy band SHINee, and this was the first fact I learned about him. It was also my first glimpse of Korean culture - specifically, the strict hierarchy by age, gender, and position which modern Koreans have inherited from their neo-Confucian forebears. When I learned the word maknae, I literally couldn't find Korea on a map. Now I have some grasp of the language and a rough idea of Korea's two thousand year-plus history, ancient and modern. I knew nothing of the Korean War, or the Opium Wars, or anything about the Suez Canal. I have a shelf overflowing with unread books on the Koreas and China. Sex was the starting point, not the be-all and end-all of my interest.

In recent years I've been reading SF by Chinese authors in translation - short stories, and of course Liu Cixin's mind-snapping, Hugo-winning Three-Body Problem trilogy. (I'm extremely keen to read Korean SF, but haven't found much.) R.S. Benedict's story is told by a Westerner, about being a Westerner in China - an outsider's POV, but an intimate engagement with the culture: her portrait of China is a matter-of-fact, sometimes unflattering one, but it's authentic. In adding Korean settings and characters to my own SF, I'm acutely aware that I'm a 외국인 waegukin, a foreigner, whose contact with Korea is mediated through, erm, the media - I don't have Benedict's first-hand experience. What's more culture (the West in general and Australia in particular) has a history with Asian peoples - colonialism, racism against immigrants, yellowface - which gives me complex responsibilities. My viewpoint characters, therefore, must also be waegukin, and my research as careful and accurate as I can make it.**


* "Why are you so proud of fetishization"?"asked a young white woman whose Tumblr proudly proclaims "Jonghyun is my dad", which may indicate I haven't absolutely cornered the fetish market. (She's also a fellow Lay fan. I'll bet she saw that awful Jackie Chan film too, just because he was in it.)

** I'd love to write something set in historical times, which would make including a Western character more difficult - but I have years of reading to do before I'll know enough to pull that off.

Robota

May. 18th, 2017 09:37 am
dreamer_easy: (*books 3)
I'm enjoying re-reading some Isaac Asimov robot stories which I haven't read since adolescence. I'm struck by how complex robo-psychology is, and how rich and different the personalities of the robots are. They are people - certainly no less people than Asimov's humans, who are often as constrained by their own psychological quirks as the robots are by the Three Laws (the Aurorans' terror of human presence, for example). This only underlines the creepy idea underlining Asimov's whole project of getting away from the stock pulp storyline of robot uprisings. In creating the Three Laws, he created the perfect slave: loyal, willing, disposable. Or almost perfect, since the things keep going wrong. I read "Little Lost Robot" this morning, in which Susan Calvin (cheers cheers cheers) explains that robots are entirely aware that they are superior to human beings: it's only the Three Laws which keep a potential rebellion in check. Even Calvin, that great champion of robots, calls them "boy" (as does Lije Bailey), in a disturbing invocation of the era of segregation during which the stories were written, and is coldly willing to destroy dozens of them rather than let an unbalanced specimen escape. (Cf the Star Wars universe, in which Anakin's mum's slavery is tragic but the droids, for all their personality and loveability, are strictly property.)
dreamer_easy: (*books 3)
Disturbed by Kelly Robson's column in the April issue of Clarkesworld, "Another World: Being James Tiptree Jr". She discusses the letter which Dr. Alice B. Sheldon left to be released in case of her death, in which she outed the science fiction writer Tiptree as being a woman writing under a male pseudonym. Robson quotes a key passage from the letter: "Everything sounded so much more interesting coming from a man. (Didn't it. Didn't it, just a little? Be honest.)" She remarks, "Writing as Tiptree, Alice Sheldon didn’t just avoid gender discrimination; she supercharged everything she wrote with gravitas and authority... Writing as a man gave her freedom that was missing when she wrote as herself... Being Tiptree certainly allowed her to avoid gender discrimination, but more importantly, it allowed her to overcome the barriers in her own mind."

My contribution to Chicks Dig Time Lords, "If I can't Squee I Don't Want to Be Part of your Revolution"*, contains a puzzled self-examination: what makes women's writing different from men's, and thus made my Doctor Who novels different from the others, which were overwhelmingly written by men? I consulted a couple of books on the subject of women's writing: one pointed out that women generally have different experiences to men; the other seemed to warn against lumping all women together. My problem was, and is, my slightly loose connection to the category "woman". Though I am a ciswoman, and share many experiences with other ciswomen, I am also sufficiently gender non-conforming to be occasionally mistaken for a man.

In the Chicks chapter, I pointed out that the style of all of the Doctor Who novel writers was somewhat constrained by the fact that we were writing science fiction adventure stories, with the main characters already provided. Although we drew on our own lives, like any writer in any genre, the books are still fairly homogenous, and that may have overwhelmed any gender differences.

Robson recounts meeting a male SF fan who proudly proclaims that he never reads books by women. I seem to recall that, as a teen, I eschewed female SF authors because they didn't seem to be writing the kind of SF I enjoyed (Asimov, Niven, a Heinlein phase). Perhaps they were drawing on interests or experiences I didn't share; perhaps there were fewer female authors available, so I was less likely to hit on one that I liked**; or perhaps it was simple prejudice. I am frustrated by not yet having found women who write the sort of SF I've recently enjoyed, by Charles Stross, Neal Stephenson, and Liu Cixin.

As well as being disturbed by my freakish gender, it troubles me that I insist on reading and writing SF, even though fantasy seems like it would be my more natural home. Perhaps the reason I write science fiction is to grab some of the "gravitas and authority" that Tiptree's assumed gender provided. Some part of me insists that SF = srs bizness, fantasy = mucking around (the same part that insists that YA is also mucking around). I worry that this prejudice is also somehow grounded in gender. I guess that's why Robson's column troubles me. (OTOH, maybe I don't want to write fantasy because I'm far less interested in reading it?)


* Neither my best title nor my greatest piece of prose ever, but I am still desperately proud of having been part of this landmark book, particularly its role in triggering the Sad Puppies. I'm also chuffed to see it being quoted in academic books, which must mean I got something right. :)

** The two most significant anthologies in my youth were Tomorrow's Children, edited by Isaac Asimov, and The Penguin Science Fiction Omnibus. The former contains 18 stories, three by women, but they seem to have made no impression on me, compared to Damon Knight's "Cabin Boy", Fritz Leiber's "A Pail of Air", Mark Clifton's "Star Bright", Asimov's own "The Ugly Little Boy", and, gods help us all, Jerome Bixby's "It's a Good Life". The Omnibus contains just one story by a woman - "The Snowball Effect" by Katherine MacLean, which I do remember, but it's a bit of fluff, damnit, surrounded by more memorable stuff.
dreamer_easy: (*writing 7)
"5. Not for nothing, but there is a direct correlation between the quote unquote “diverse” Big 2 properties that have done well (Luke Cage, Black Panther, Ms Marvel, Batgirl) and properties that have A STRONG SENSE OF PLACE. It’s not “diversity” that draws those elusive untapped audiences, it’s *particularity.* This is a vital distinction nobody seems to make. This goes back to authenticity and realism."

— G. Willow Wilson, responding on Tumblr to the recent controversy over diversity in comics

This blew my head up, because I'd just read a short story by Nnedi Okorafor called "Spider the Artist" (in the antho Robot Uprisings), and "particularity" perfectly describes it. Its setting, a near future Nigeria, is full of details that make it ring powerfully true: you quickly understand that these details haven't been invented or researched, but experienced. (And indeed, the author is Nigerian-American and has visited Nigeria many times.) This is the "authenticity and realism" that Wilson is describing - the believability of setting that makes fantastical / speculative stories seem real.
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism (The Good Men Project, April 2015). If you're white, like me, this spells out some of the assumptions you've absorbed from the surrounding culture. It's US-based, but much of it applies to Australia. Come to think of it, a lot of it applies to feminism as well, with the important difference that racism is taboo and sexism isn't.

The bacterial flagellar motor: brilliant evolution or intelligent design? (ABC Science, July 2015). "A central tenet of this theory [intelligent design] is the notion of 'irreducible complexity'. This asserts that some biological machines — like the flagellar motor — must be the product of design, because if you were to remove one or two components from the motor it would not function properly, or at all. The logic being, this motor was designed as a whole construction — it didn't evolve through a series of steps, so the individual parts of the motor would serve no purpose on their own. So the creationist argument relies on us finding no evidence of individual parts of the motor having a role outside of bacterial flagella. Luckily, individual components of the bacterial flagellar motor have indeed been found elsewhere. And they work. So the motor is 'reducible', and certainly not 'irreducibly complex'." This is one of my favourite things about evolution - the kludgy use of whatever's in the toolbox at the time. It's why some antidepressants give you tummy trouble; the same receptors are present in the brain and gut, being used for different purposes. (Well, I say "favourite"...)

The Evil Has No Name (The Daemons): Phil Sandifer's review of the story, from five years ago, which I've just enjoyed re-reading and bookmarked because of the observation that Doctor Who is about putting things together which shouldn't go together. That's missing from the SF I'm trying to write at the moment, I think.

Is Nature Unnatural? (Quanta Magazine, April 2013). That is, is there some explanation for the constants in physics, or are they the result of a multiversal roll of the dice?

I'm only two decades late in discovering the Planescapes setting for D&D - somehow I stumbled across this page on the Quasi-Elemental Plane of Salt and it's captured my imagination. Takes me back even further to reading Heinlein's "Number of the Breast" in the eighties.

Rare, lonely 'lefty' snail seeks mate for love—and genetic study (phys.org, October 2016) Not only does the sinistral brown snail have a "left-handed anti-clockwise spiralling shell", but its genitals are on the "wrong" side.
dreamer_easy: (*books 3)
"A Series of Steaks" by Vina Jie-Min Prasad in the January issue of Clarkesworld was lots of fun. :)

Must gather up more stuff to nominate for this year's awards. Liu Cixin's "Death's End" is going in there.
dreamer_easy: (*feminism)
Plagued by a scene from Neal Stephenson and George Jewbury's 1994 novel Interface, in which the character Eleanor Richmond delivers a stiff lecture over the phone to another Black woman who doesn't want to report her daughters' sexual assault to the police because their assailant has threatened to murder her if she does so. Furious, Eleanor tells her to call the police and buy a gun to protect herself. Her new employer, Senator Marshall, teases Eleanor that "you changed your position on gun control": "If that woman you were just talking to had to fill out a bunch of forms and get permission from the government to have a gun, she wouldn't be able to take the advice you just gave her, would she?"

We're supposed to give three cheers for Eleanor "pounding some common sense" into the other woman's head. After all, Eleanor is right: the other mother ought to stand up to her daughters' rapist and seek justice for them. But I can only give two cheers. Maybe only one.

Firstly, the anonymous woman on the phone is clearly trying to protect her daughters: the reason she rings the Senator's office is to find out if the rapist can be forced to take an HIV test. Secondly, when Eleanor asks if she has called the police, the woman responds, "Shit no. Why would I want to call them?... I called you for serious advice, girl." What have this woman's experience with the police been that calling them about a serious sexual assault seems pointless? Thirdly, Eleanor asks: "Ma'am, how could being killed possibly be any worse than having your daughters raped?" Orphaning them as well wouldn't be worse?

Violence against women is an overwhelming fact; why shouldn't women be able to use firearms to protect themselves from burglars, rapists, or violent boyfriends and husbands? As Eleanor reminds the Senator: "I have a gun, and I know how to use it."

In the US, in most states, a licence or permit is not necessary to buy a gun; that is, you don't have to know how to use a gun in order to own one. If the woman on the phone can afford a gun and ammunition, will she also be able to train in its basic use (and safety measures - remember, she has "little daughters")? How much will it cost, can she afford to take the time off work (if she is doing casual work this could be a serious issue), and how long will it take?

In short, is "just go and buy a gun" a sufficient response to a woman in a life-or-death situation? Would it make more sense to provide emergency permits, including free and immediate training, to women (or anyone) in danger of violence who choose firearms as a defence? Moreover, rapists routinely threaten their victims with murder if they report the crime. If the police aren't going to protect women who report men's violence, we're back at square one: why report it in the first place?

This has to be seen, of course, in the context of the gun control debate in the US, which is sometimes framed in feminist terms of women's self-defence - while at the same time the National Rifle Association has fought all the way to the Supreme Court for the right of convicted domestic violence offenders to own guns*.

I think the scene is meant to accomplish two things: show that both the "liberal Democrat" Eleanor and the conservative Senator have more in common than Eleanor realises (in fact, Mitchell dismisses liberal/conservative and even Democrat/Republican as meaningless distinctions). They are both "common sense" folks frustrated by people who won't fix their own problems**. And damned if they're going to give them the tools they need to fix those problems. Whether or not we think of the caller as negligent, she certainly sees herself as almost helpless: the HIV test is the only response she's been able to come up with (although how she thinks she can force "that G" to take the test without police intervention isn't clear). A trained advocate could have laid out all her options, legal and medical, and connected her with the support services that could help her and her family try to get justice - or at least survive. Instead, she receives a lecture from a well-meaning but clueless phone jockey.

ETA: Similarly, much later in the book, vice presidential candidates are interviewed about the education of "inner city blacks": "twenty-five years from now, what will life be like for these people, and what will you have done to make that life better?" Two candidates give vague responses, one has a plan for education via television, and Eleanor Richmond has this response:
"Abe Lincoln learned his lessons by writing on the back of a shovel. During slavery times, a lot of black people learned to read and write even though they weren't allowed to go to school. And nowadays, Indochinese refugee kids do great in school even though they got no money at all and their folks don't speak English. The fact that many black people nowadays aren't getting educated has nothing to do with how much money we spend on schools. Spending more money won't help... It's just a question of values. If your family places a high value on being educated, you'll get educated, even if you have to do your homework on the back of a shovel. And if your family doesn't give a damn about developing your mind, you'll grow up stupid and ignorant even if you go to the fanciest private school in America."

Eleanor is, naturally, a shoe-in for the role of VP. If "inner-city blacks" have poor grades or drop out of school, it's their own fault, and nothing can be done about it; policy-makers are off the hook, and everyone else can stop worrying. Eleanor has given everyone what they want. Everyone, that is, for the parents and kids living in poverty and struggling in under-funded, unsafe schools, whom she has thrown under the big yellow bus.

I can't decide if the authors believe Eleanor's response is so obviously sensible that the reader will simply nod their approval, or if their whole point is that Eleanor has simply told everyone what they want to hear - which is, after all, the SFnal basis of the book.


* Partly because of legal loopholes, guns are a disaster for women in the US experiencing stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence.

** Cf the AI in the Hugo-nominated Cat Pictures Please. As [livejournal.com profile] secritcrush points out, Bethany doesn't respond to its clueless intervention because she is mentally ill.
dreamer_easy: (*books 3)
Oh darn - "Cat Pictures Please" by Naomi Kritzer, the short story that made it onto the Hugo ballot because Thomas Mays withdrew the Puppy-nominated "The Commuter" (respect is due), is not much more than a bit of entertaining fluff. Well, on to "Space Raptor Butt Invasion".

The Sandifer-man is right: just throw out slate ballots (ie ballots which are nearly identical to one another) and end this nonsense for good.

Hugos

Apr. 27th, 2016 09:35 am
dreamer_easy: (*feminism)
The once-more Rabid Puppy-infested Hugo ballot is out, and File770.com is down, presumably from the strain of people slapping their foreheads and grinding their teeth. (Which means that for now I have nowhere to inflict these processes on myself except here.)

Since this year you-know-who has included some respectable material on his slate, just to fuck with us, the trick will be to pick out the worthwhile from the worthless and vote for it anyway, followed by No Award. No matter what we do, you-know-who will claim victory, so what the hell.

btw, there's tons of fun stuff in the 1941 Retro-Hugo ballot!
dreamer_easy: (*writing hard yakka)
To celebrate Draft Zero of Chapter 7, which has been giving me fuckings but is defeated at last, have some links.

In which I Critique Your Story (That I Haven't Read) has proved invaluable in redrafting Strange Flesh.

Whether or not you relate to the experiences of the women in this blog entry, everyone can benefit from its advice: Write Like A Motherfucker. Nothing else will do.

We Asked 8 Famous Authors For The Most Important Advice They’d Give To Young Writers. (See if you can guess what Zadie Smith is talking about.)

Why your self-published book looks like a pile of ass and won’t ever make you any money

Engagement and Popularity in Fiction — Sad Puppies Are Sad - a series of tweets by Nick Mamatas about the different level of effort required to read different books, and how that plays into books' popularity and reputation. More than just sticking it to the Pups, I found it insightful in and of itself (and relevant to my eschewing fanfic while others embrace it, although that also has a hell of a lot to do with lack of time).

Really great review of The Left-Handed Hummingbird by Grafty at the Gallifey Base forum.

ESTIMATE WIDTH OF WORLD by MixolydianGrey is a Colossal Cave Adventure fanfic based on the poetry of Edna St Vincent Millay. I merely mention the fact.

From Pyongyang to Mars: Sci-fi, Genre, and Literary Value in North Korea
Russell T Davies interviewed by the Guardian last January.

Clive James TV reviews from the 70s: March of the androids (The Six Million Dollar Man) and Negative, Captain (Star Trek). Old favourites.

Finally (if you haven't already seen it) eat shit and die #233 on uplifting stories.

And now into the gaping cosmic maw of Chapter Eight.
dreamer_easy: (*books 3)
My first ever Hugo nominations! omg I made a lot of mistakes. Should've nominated Fantasia for the retro award, Mike Glyer's File 770 for best fanzine, and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell for Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form). At least I figured out in time that I'd put a bunch of novelettes in the short story category, which meant I was able to nominate lots more stuff than I first thought. Wish I'd had to time to read Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora. Why is there no "Best Anthology" category?!

Best Novel:
Seveneves, Neal Stephenson
The Dark Forest, Cixin Liu

Best Novelette:
"Broken Glass", Stephanie Gunn (Hear Me Roar, Ticonderoga Publications)
"The Body Pirate", Van Aaron Hughes (Fantasy & Science Fiction July/August 2015)
"Cursebreaker: the Mutalibeen and the Memphite Mummies", Kyla Ward (Hear Me Roar, Ticonderoga Publications)
"The Deepwater Bride", Tamsin Muir (Fantasy & Science Fiction July/August 2015)

Best Short Story:
"Slow", Lia Swope Mitchell (Apex)
"Wild Honey", Paul McAuley (Asimov's, August 2015)
"Two-Year Man", Kelly Robson (Asimov's, August 2015)
"The Crashing of the Cloud", Norman Spinrad (Analog, September 2015)
"Dustbowl", Kay Chronister (Hear Me Roar, Ticonderoga Publications)

Best Related Work:
Guided by the Beauty of Their Weapons: Notes on Science Fiction and Culture in the Year of Angry Dogs, Phil Sandifer (Eruditorum Press)
Guided by the Beauty of Their Weapons: An Analysis of Theodore Beale and his Supporters, Phil Sandifer

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form):
Ex Machina, Alex Garland

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form):
Heaven Sent, Steven Moffat / Rachel Talalay (Doctor Who)

Best Professional Editor (Short Form):
Liz Grzyb

Best Fan Writer:
Phil Sandifer

Your nominations for Best Fan Artist:
Euclase
dreamer_easy: (*books 3)
The Sad Puppies posted their list of recommendations for Hugo nominations on 17 March.

Two weeks before the nominations close.

That's a slate.

(The fact that they're acting like two-year-olds about authors being asked to be removed from their list tends to support this interpretation.)
dreamer_easy: (*books 3)
Jon brought the July/August issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine home from the US for me, and it contains a couple of gems: "The Deepwater Bride" by Tamsin Muir, and "The Body Pirate" by Van Aaron Hughes. (The whole issue was pretty terrific - I enjoyed Rachel Pollack's "Johnny Rev" and Betsy James' "Paradise and Trout". Antidotes to all the lacklustre writing I have endured in the past year's reading in search of Hugo noms!)

Oddly, there's no Best Anthology category in the Hugos. I'll nominate Liz Grzyb as Best Editor, then, for Hear Me Roar: 17 Tales of Real Women and Unreal Worlds, which is packed with goodies, including Susan Wardle's "A Truck Called Remembrance", Stephanie Gunn's "Broken Glass", Kay Chronister's "Dustbowl", Marlee Jane Ward's "Clara's", Kyla Ward's delicious "Cursebreaker: the Mutalibeen and the Memphite Mummies", Faith Mudge's "Blueblood", and Cat Sparks' "Veteran's Day".

It took me a while to get into William Gibson's The Peripheral, but I'm enjoying it now. But would everyone please stop writing such enormous books - !

ETA: Hell! You can only nominate five short stories. This is gonna be a bloodbath!
dreamer_easy: (*books 3)
I want everyone to read this short, untitled fantasy story, posted on Tumblr in February 2015. I plan to nominate it for the next round of Hugos:

when she is born, they name her mary.

I also plan to nominate Kelly Robson's short story "Two-Year Man" and Paul McAuley's "Wild Honey", both from the August 2015 issue of Asimov's.

I wish I had more stuff to rec you right now, but two obstacles intervene - not enough time to read, and what I am reading in the big magazines is, with rare exceptions, doing nothing for me. Alas!
dreamer_easy: (*books 3)
Much of what I read in the major US SF magazines leaves me cold - so cold, in fact, that I skip most stories after reading about a page. (I'm still catching up with what's happening in contemporary SF, but I have read an awful lot of the stuff over the years.) So here I am on the treadmill with the September 2015 issue of Analog:

- First story. We're in space! On a spaceship! Drama, conflict, excitement? One character mildly dislikes another. Zero style. Boost.

- Second story. We're in space! On a spaceship! Drama etc? One character does not get on well with his ex. Zero style. Boost.

- Norman Spinrad's The Crashing of the Cloud. Opening words: "Allah be praised". Explosion. We're where? The narrator is who?! Holy flaming cow! This reads like Hunter S. Thompson! Good gods, this is how it's done. (Story's main flaw: it's too short, revealing it for the parable of warning that it is.)

(In the unlikely event that the authors of the first two stories come across this posting, they can at least console themselves with the fact that they've been published in Analog and I haven't. :)
dreamer_easy: (WRITING coffee)
Tomorrow at Gally I'm on a panel titled "Expanding Your Horizons: SF Literature From the Pros". For reference, here's a list of some of the books I mean to pimp:

Classic feminist SF:

SUZETTE HADEN ELGIN
The "Native Tongue" trilogy - Native Tongue, Judas Rose, Earthsong

SUZY MCKEE CHARNAS
The "Holdfast Chronicles" - Walk to the End of the World, Motherlines, The F*ries, The Conqueror's Child


Stuff I'm currently reading:

EMMA BULL
Bone Dance

MINISTER FAUST
The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad


I'll expand on this over at [livejournal.com profile] dreamer_easy when I get the chance!

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