Linkspam, 9/27/13 Edition

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice.

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September 27, 2013

Creative Costumes of Still-Practiced Pagan Rituals of Europe

Creative Costumes of Still-Practiced Pagan Rituals of Europe
(Photo by Charles Freger)

Finally, Vienna Teng’s new album was released this week. It is wonderful. Especially wonderful is “The Hymn of Acxiom”.

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  1. Brie

    So that’s why! I always wondered about the poop thing (I’m being 90% serious here *grins*).
    Ben Aaronovitch is trolling us all. He uses Renay’s rape threats to be all “me, me, me, me” and *epic flounce*. I can’t even.

  2. --E

    Paranormal romance is WAAAAY older than “recent.” And I don’t mean its antecedents (e.g. The Vampire Lestat) are, I mean the genre itself, recognizably. Laurel Hamilton’s first Anita Blake novel appeared in 1993, TWENTY FUCKING YEARS AGO. Granted, they started as mystery novels, but the romance elements came on pretty quickly. The recognizable genre was a direct outgrowth of BTVS, which first aired on TV (and introduced the Angel/Buffy romance) in 1997, which is SIXTEEN FUCKING YEARS AGO. That was the same year as the first Harry Potter book, but I don’t hear people railing against Rick Riordan, Christopher Paolini, and Garth Nix as some influx of men to the all-new kids/adults crossover fantasy subgenre.

    Because believe me, from inside the industry? The explosion of YA fantasy and the explosion of Paranormal Romance and Paranormal* Fantasy are pretty fucking identical. They play out the same way within the publishing house, and have been for long enough that people’s whole careers have been made on them.

    *I call it paranormal fantasy instead of urban, to distinguish it from the slightly older genre exemplified by Charles de Lint, Emma Bull, etc.

  3. Natalie Luhrs

    @–E: Ayup. Also, I am pretty sure you got paranormal fantasy from me because I was using it to distinguish the current iteration from the work of de Lint and Bull before I knew you. 😉 But it’s absolutely NOT new and it pisses me off when people write about it like it is because it’s not hard to do the research. Diana L. Paxson’s Brisingamen came out in 1986. It has all the hallmarks of a modern paranormal fantasy novel: female MC who comes into magic powers unexpectedly, world that needs saving, will they or won’t they romantic tension thing. I’m way less familiar with the romance side of paranormal as I haven’t read a lot of it so am not familiar with the history.

    Most of the complaints I see about YA have to do with how there’s too much romance/love triangles/feeeeeeelings for it to be interesting to boys.

  4. Charlotte

    Thanks for the lovely collection of links (and for including mine)!

  5. --E

    I definitely did not get paranormal fantasy from you. I worked 14 years in trade publishing long before I met you. 🙂 A GMTA situation.

    I’m willing to allow the haters the concept that paranormal fantasy and paranormal romance didn’t exist as specific publishing categories until perhaps fifteen years ago, with a marked uptick about a decade ago.

    I still don’t think of that as “recent.” I think of that as long enough ago that I’m completely surprised the market isn’t yet saturated, but hey, people keep reading it, in all its permutations, from really good stuff to the sort of super-creepy stuff that appears on WTFBadFantasyCovers.

    Part of the problem for women (and the fiction they like), is that, like women’s clothing, their fiction is always marked. Any deviation from something that could have been written by a white, hetero man, and the book starts to gravitate toward a “woman’s book” classification (with bonus that if a man does it–hello, Arthur Golden–it remains out of the pink ghetto because the author has a penis). As with all other aspects of ingrained societal sexism, men read “normal” books and women read “special category” books.

    The only time men’s books become “special category” is when they go so far to the two-fisted, grunting manly-man stereotype that not even most men will read them. They’re intended for a specific (dare I say “misogynistically conservative”) audience. My previous employer had a whole series of fiction about Navy SEALs full of bad sex scenes, and the copyeditors were instructed to rewrite the casual racism. Comparing those to romantic thrillers with Navy SEAL heroes (usually written by women) is simultaneously hilarious and horrifying.

    But what REALLY chaps my ass is that this sexism is new. Or at least not particularly old. Does anyone think for ONE FUCKING MINUTE that if Harper Lee wrote To Kill A Mockingbird today (allowing for the cultural differences of 50 years) that it would have been marketed to adult males? That it could have even come to the attention of the Pulitzer committee? Ditto for Gone With the Wind. Hell, nowadays, GWTW would get kicked back to the author with instructions to give it an HEA ending.

    The business of slicing and dicing the market into “normal” and “special target audience” is a phenomenon of the last 30 years. Prior to that there were “genre” books, almost always paperback originals. (If it was hardcover, it was “mainstream.” c.f Stephen King, right from the get-go with Carrie.) And prior to that the distinction was mostly “trashy pulps” (paperback) vs “regular fiction.”

    If there’s anything I can consider a redeeming feature of the outpouring of self-pubbed fiction these days, it’s that self-publishers don’t seem to care about marketing categories except in a general way. They want to reach every possible audience, not just the segment that a professional publishing house’s marketing department might go for. And that’s working in some strange ways, and perhaps breaking down reader expectations–or at least I hope so.


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