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Tansy Rayner Roberts

Archive for the ‘Crossposted’ Category

Insert Strong Male Protagonist Here

Monday, March 4th, 2013

ned-stark-needs-a-hugKate Elliott writes about strength, and writing “strong” characters, and how that ties into our societal preconceptions about the definitions of female vs. male strength. It’s a great post, and I highly recommend it.

There have been many additions in the last year to the conversation about strong female characters in SF/comics/movies and the problematic idea that ‘strong, female’ is so often defined as ‘acts in a traditionally masculine way while having a great rack.’ It’s a good conversation, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it, even though it feels like there isn’t a LOT left to say once you’ve read Kate Beaton’s take on the trope.

Kate raises a really interesting question, though, of the perceived strength of male characters. How far can we get from traditional masculine behaviour before our (male) hero starts to feel, well, not heroic enough? Why is it that so many beloved, ‘romantic’ male lead characters actually behave like arseholes?

What kind of role models are these heroes?

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Friday Links is Calling from the Echo Chamber

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Pulp-O-Mizer_Cover_Image(1)A great piece from Angela Slatter on the writing life as a really big echo chamber – and how being with a smaller publisher and having to do a larger share of the book publicity is not the scariest thing in the world. (as Nicole mentions in the comments and I endorse wholeheartedly, being with a big publisher does NOT guarantee you any level of publicity support)

N.K. Jemisin talks about the misogyny & racism on Oscar’s night, as symbolised by (but not entirely represented by) That Tweet from the Onion: Fantasy Fans, Where’s Your Outrage?

Over at Tor.com in the Sleeps With Monsters column, Liz Bourke asks: Is Epic Fantasy Crushingly Conservative? As with many Tor posts there is some interesting discussion in the comments. I made a few which can be boiled down to ‘if Epic Fantasy is conservative, you’re reading too narrowly in the genre – check out some books by ladies.’

The legendary Mary Doria Russell on making a comeback after being dumped by her publisher. Sigh, it happens to us all, even the greats.

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Perfections, by Kirstyn McDermott

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

9781922057174-500x763So far this year I’ve been pretty slack on the AWW front, and indeed in the reading books front at all. I blame it on Ford Madox Ford, who sucked me in with the possibility of Benedict Cumberbatch and made me read four books under the guise of being just one book that was so enormous that almost a month fell into it. And that was my experience reading Parade’s End.

Possibly it’s unfair to blame Ford Madox Ford for Benedict Cumberbatch, but then again we have to blame somebody, right?

In any case, I have officially just finished by first book by an Australian woman writer: Perfections, by Kirstyn McDermott. I’m pretty sure Kirstyn describes this one as a gothic fairytale, or something along those lines. I think I’d go for more of an ‘urban suspense’ line, though if it was in actual bookshops I would hope to see it with more of a Fay Weldon cover than anything with overt genre markers.

Oh, did I mention Fay Weldon? That’s probably because she came to mind while I was reading this novel – something about the realist, cynical tone and themes to do with women’s careers and quiet household despair mixed with sneaky supernatural, magic and horror bits. The tone also reminded me a great deal of Donna Tartt. I really hope Kirstyn reaches the wide audience she deserves with this one.
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Mr Stinky, I Presume [Xena Rewatch 4.9-4.11]

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

B-PI_854.9 Past Imperfect

While I haven’t loved many of the episodes so far in Season 4, I do appreciate that there’s more of a sense of an ongoing arc than ever before – and not just over a couple episodes. At the very beginning of this one, we see Gabrielle and Xena actually have the conversation they need to have about the vision Xena had of their deaths (and has been keeping secret from Gabrielle since they were reunited).

The conversation doesn’t actually solve the problem, but discussing the issue makes their relationship feel more equal. Gabrielle is very much Xena’s partner now, not her junior sidekick.

“Xena is challenged by an opponent who represents a reflection of herself” is certainly looking like the main theme of this season, as the plot is once again about a female antagonist who once learned destructive lessons from Bad Hair Xena and now uses them against her present, Awesome Hair self. As Xena battles her past and people who represent that version of herself, over and over again, Gabrielle’s own theme for this season is her growing realisation that she might have learned all she can from Xena. It’s time she stepped up as an adult to figure what OTHER things she wants from the world.

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Time Lady in the TARDIS [WHO-50—1978]

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

19781978 is not only the year in which I was born, but it also produced one of my all time favourite eras of Doctor Who. Having left Leela behind on Gallifrey to indulge in her gratuitously discreet romance with the guard Andred (in one of the most derided leaving scenes of all time), the Doctor was happy to put his feet up, but the universe had other ideas.

The White Guardian, one half of the two greatest powers in the galaxy, has given him a quest, to assemble the crystalline, transformative segments of the Key to Time. He also provides the Doctor with a new ‘assistant,’ the glamorous and snooty Romana (Mary Tamm).

We’ve had intelligent companions before, and companions who are close to being the Doctor’s intellectual peer (Zoe and Liz being the main examples), but this is the first time that a companion was set up as being the Doctor’s superior in most things.

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Friday Links is a Sweetheart of the Galaxy

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

560005_551803044852603_629319212_nCongratulations to all Nebula nominees, and a big extra special CONGRATULATIONS to Margo Lanagan for being part of the inaugural Stella Prize longlist with Sea Hearts.

(Cough, and apparently the high number of women and people of colour on the Nebula list is a cause for alarm for some commenters over at SF Signal… yes, really)

The ongoing coverage, tweets and especially leaked images from the filming of An Adventure in Space and Time is bringing me nothing but joy. Normally I avoid set photos of Doctor Who because I’m all about the finished product, but this is different. Behind the scenes shots of a show about behind the scenes shots has allowed me to see fragments of Daleks recreating famous 1960′s ‘invasion of London shots,’ William Hartnell in a park with his family, Ian, Barbara and Susan on the TARDIS interior set for the first time (the console is green!) and a recreation of Totter’s Lane. It’s like actual time travel is involved.

Did you know it was the anniversary of Mists of Avalon? Neither did I until Bitch Magazine pointed it out, but man that book smacked me between the teeth when I was fourteen or so. Regardless of whether you liked it or not, it was a massively important cultural milestone of the 80′s which caused ripple effects through fantasy, historical fiction, the feminist and pagan communities, and general readers.

At the time I thought it was the longest book I would ever read. Ha!

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Why Leela is for the Women Too [WHO-50—1977]

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

1977“For the dads” is a phrase that Doctor Who fans of a certain age tend to hear repeated over and over by production crew, actors and fans alike when talking about the 1977 introduction of Leela (Louise Jamieson), the ‘primitive’ companion who wore strips of leather, hunted Sontarans with a throw knife, and was generally as a rare example (along with Peri and her leotards) of the show actually intending glimpses of sexuality to peep through the family-friendly curtain.

Actually, as we discussed recently on the Verity! Podcast, Leela’s leather outfit might look kinky but is far more practical than most of the mini-skirts that were such a regular feature of the show from 1966 through to… well, the mid 1980’s. (the 1980′s, in fact, seemed to have way more restrictive and uncomfortable looking miniskirts than the 1960′s – what’s with that, fashion?)

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Woohoo! Glitter Party over at Lynne and Michael’s place! BRING GLITTER!

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

SFWA Platform – Overseas Regional Director

Friday, February 15th, 2013

I have been asked to post my SFWA platform publicly, for general interest. If you are a member and haven’t been over to the forums for some time, I do recommend you pop by as there has been a lot of crunchy debate and discussion about the direction of the organisation, and all kinds of issues of relevance to today’s (and tomorrow’s) professional SF writers.

For those who aren’t aware, the Science Fiction Writers of America is an organisation which supports and promotes professional SF/F writers (as defined by specific eligibility guidelines) and provides various resources including advocacy in the case of grievances against publishers, an emergency medical fund, the Writer Beware blog, and general community. The discussion forums (in which most of the election discussion takes place) are closed to members, though other resources such as Writer Beware are pen to all.

The role I’m applying for would be to stand as Board representative to the members of SFWA who live outside North America. Yes, all of them! The position is currently held by the awesome Sean Williams, who is stepping down at this election and has been very supportive of me volunteering to follow in his footsteps. I’m currently the only person running for this particular position.

If you are an active member, then as Jim C Hines said recently, you don’t have to vote for me but please vote!

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Friday Links is Throwing Confetti

Friday, February 15th, 2013

x2_10e38600Congratulations to Erika Ensign (@hollygodarkly) & Steven Schapansky (@legopolis) who are in LA for the Gallifrey One convention and just announced they got married! Complete with a Lego re-enactment for those who weren’t there… adorable, guys.

(I love how many cute couples there are in Doctor Who fandom)

In other news, I spent a week tweeting as @WeTasmania. You can check out my week via Storify, the application that makes Twitter a little bit more archivable.

I also announced that I was running for Overseas Regional Director in the SFWA, which isn’t linkable because the election stuff pretty much all happens in closed forums. If you are a member of SFWA I’d really appreciate you checking out my platform statement and voting in the elections this year.

But what has everyone else been talking about this week?

Speaking of Erika, there’s a new episode of Verity out this week, discussing the Ninth Doctor – and which story most represents his brief run in the role. I really enjoyed listening to this one, and the strong debate as to whether the Doctor can ever be sexual or a romantic hero, what the Ninth Doctor’s relationship with Rose really was, and why it took a space station and/or a Dalek to convince us that the Doctor really, really was back this time.

My favourite Doctor Who thing this week was however this post about the Other Eleven Doctors, which posits an alternate history in which the Doctor was always a woman. The choices for the old Doctors in particular made me squee, as my knowledge of obscure British film came to the fore, and I love the way this was presented as a continuum and fully fledged history, from Joyce Grenfell all the way through to Miranda Hart. Inspector Spacetime, eat your heart out! (I’ve actually said that twice this week, the other time being while explaining the Doctor Whooves fandom phenomemon on Twitter)

I fell in love with this Cracked post on Six Ridiculous Myths about The Middle Ages That Everyone Believes. Ah, everyone, you are responsible for so much misinformation.

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