- Amazon drops pretense, builds villainous super-lair I kind of love the good people at Melville House. Even though I would prefer not to.
- Yay! Another entry in Fran Wilde’s great Cooking the Books series–this time, it’s Walter Jon Williams and sensory overload.
- It doesn’t look like a commode FINALLY. My long nightmare is over: there was FURNITURE to hold the chamber pot.
- Foz Meadows on Realism & Outliers:
Fantasy is all about foregrounding outliers – quite often, in fact, it does little else. So when you sit there, straight-faced, and tell me you couldn’t get into Novel X because the main character was a black female pirate and that’s so unrealistic, what you’re actually saying is, the only exceptional people I want to fantasise about are the ones who look like me. Because the thing is, if you’re making this argument in the first place? Then the chances are astronomically good that you’re either a straight white cisgendered male or someone who checks at least one of those boxes – which is to say, someone who sees themselves so well represented in narrative that it’s downright unusual to encounter the alternative. And thanks to the prevalence of those sorts of stories, it’s easy to slip into justifying their monopoly by assuming that any departure from the norm would be, on some fundamental level, unrealistic. I mean, why else call it normal if it’s not the base state of being, right?
- DNF review of Anna Randol’s Sins of a Virgin at It’s My Genre, Baby I thought this bit was particularly good: “So often these days I feel that while the heroine has gotten smarter, stronger, more capable, her actual worth has diminished.”
- Blog post vs. blog: This blog post is not a “blog.”
- On Body Image And Self Worth I am clearly cynical and jaded because when I read this I thought to myself, “The fat community has known this for years; why do you think many of us have great shoe & accessory collections?”
- Questions For Barbara King, Author of How Animals Grieve This is absolutely fascinating.
- Weighing Down Our Children: The Battle Against Obesity Well-written and thoroughly researched. And heartbreaking, too.
- Community Colleges Are Segregated and Unequal
It’s certainly not a problem that can be fixed only with money. But it certainly is a problem that can’t be fixed without money. We’ve designed a society in which a college degree is the basic price of admission to a middle class lifestyle. Exclusive, well-funded colleges, by definition, cannot enroll everyone who wants a college degree. Community colleges, therefore, represent the most accessible path to the American dream. We should either fund them and fix them, or change the assumption that a college degree is a basic necessity. Otherwise, community colleges are just the final stop on a lifelong trip of underfunded public educational disappointment for non-white Americans.
- A journey through the English ritual year This is a really cool set of pictures, but there are people in what appears to be blackface in the last one.
- Escaping Stockholm An absolutely amazing post by Judith Tarr about the ways in which publishing has changed over the last 30 years. A must read.
- Just do it “Much as you cannot buy happiness, you cannot outsource it either. It’s your responsibility.”
- Family Values!! Nontraditional Relationship Structures in SF/F writeup I need to go to WisCon so badly.
- Archaeologists find underground Medieval refuge Medieval doomsday preppers!
- False Positive Apparently the LA Review of Books has a policy of giving debut books positive reviews or no review at all. At least it’s just limited to the debut title? I know of one knitting magazine that has a policy of no negative reviews of anything ever. So their reviews are less…reviews and more promotion of things they like and got for free.
- Politics and the Romance Novel The comments are fantastic, too.
- On Fucking Up and Being a Fuck Up I love seeing authors taking risks and stretching and also acknowledging that they may very well fail.
- Blogging, Romance, Genre, “Art” and Feminism? Armchair BEA Days 2 & 3 I love the parts about trusting ourselves as reader and engaging in thoughtful interrogation.
- Announcing Jo Walton’s What Makes This Book So Great I want this book. Now.
- Kameron Hurley on Survivorship Bias and Writing Better Books (with Bonus Marketing Chat) This is really good.
- Pulling Big Publishers into the 20th Century Kevin J. Anderson wrests some major concessions out of his publisher. /deadpan
- Wonk-o-mance has had three fantastic posts in the last week:
- Making Candy on the Deck of the Titanic “I can’t help thinking that even if the Titanic is sinking, which it almost assuredly is, always, today, somewhere, I would like to be one of the musicians who played on the deck. That seems like good, solid work, not work to be ashamed of, not the sort of thing that ought to be equated with quitting.”
- Hail, the Competent Hero Competence is very appealing. Competence is a pretty big trope in science fiction; Heinlein’s entire oeuvre is centered on competence and spunging nipples, in fact.
- The Rest is Silence: a meditation “It is always loss.”
- Priest, Author And Critic Rev. Andrew Greeley Dies I devoured all of Father Greeley’s books in the late 1990s–I found them profoundly comforting during a very uncertain period in my life. However, after a while, I was unable to ignore the race, class, and male gaze issues in his books and stopped reading them and purged my personal library of them. Despite this, I will always be grateful for having those books at a time when I needed them and for showing me what the Catholic Church should be.
- Belief Is the Least Part of Faith “It is worth appreciating that in belief is the reach for joy”
- Feeling heat for your ideas is not censorship or thought-control Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg are total assholes in their column in the new SFWA Bulletin.
And speaking of the SFWA Bulletin column as referenced in that last link–I managed to get my hands on a scan of the column in question. It’s every bit as bad as everyone says–and I figure that the only way to make things better is to shine a bright light on it so. I’m sharing. I’m not an SFWA member, but I have been contemplating joining as an affiliate member and these kinds of shenanigans make me wonder if it’s worth my time and effort. At this point, I’m leaning towards “no”.
Hey, Mike Resnick: If you knew anything about romance at all, you’d know that many readers are uncomfortable with those covers and say so quite often. And romance is about more than getting off, you ASSHOLE.
It was at this point my husband started yelling at the computer when I let him take a look at this. Mostly incoherently because this doesn’t even follow. I thought men were supposed to be all logical and shit. Huh.
Oh, you want to read the whole thing? Click to embiggen. Or here’s an unedited OCR conversion (courtesy of Arachne Jericho).