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Tansy Rayner Roberts

Friday Links Don’t Have Enough Lesbians In Them.

September 16th, 2011 at 9:49

One of the two headline stories of our recent Galactic Suburbia Episode 42 was the piece on Publisher’s Weekly about two authors who were upset about an agent asking them to ‘straighten’ a gay protagonist.

Nicola Griffith shared a video of her describing a similar issue to a group of students, when her own agent questioned why the protagonist of her second novel needed to be a lesbian.

Malinda Lo followed up with a very constructive post looking at the hard stats of YA fiction published in the US over the last several decades. In particular I found it interesting that she proves once and for all that the anecdotal experience of there being less lesbians than gay male characters in YA is absolutely true – in fact, it’s a 2-1 balance. So YA authors, time to add the girl on girl kissing!

Finally, it seems that while the Publishers Weekly was carefully not naming and shaming the agent in question, the buzz behind the scenes was not so kind. She speaks out at Colleen Lindsay’s blog the Swivet, with her own description of the phone call in question.

[UPDATE] The authors of the original post have replied at Rachel’s LJ, standing by their original post and urging people to focus on the bigger and more important picture of making YA more gay-friendly, rather than getting distracted in finger pointing or choosing sides.

In other news, Catherynne Valente provides one of the best responses I’ve seen to the idea of an Amazon ‘subscription service’ for e-books. I don’t think I know any writer who is more eloquent when angry.

An announcement that the marvellous Diana Rigg is getting her own ‘at the BBC’ DVD celebration of her TV career.

Kate Elliott tackles the writing advice question of how to tackle the openings of novels.

a wonderful post by Karen Healey celebrating the women in the David & Leigh Eddings, and how you can appreciate elements of some work while also acknowledging its many, many flaws.

A discussion on why it’s deeply inappropriate to use the sexual image of breasts to promote breast cancer awareness – I really appreciate having concrete reasons now to argue against this, as it’s something I’d always felt was vaguely wrong without being able to put my finger on why (apart from it always being inappropriate to use the sexual image of breasts to advertise anything).

On Mad Men and the new crop of copycat “retro sexist” TV shows – what’s the difference between a well crafted guilty pleasure, and wallowing in the bad habits of the past?

A post on Tor.com about the relationship between the Doctor and children in New Who.

A call for papers for a non fiction anthology about Doctor Who and race.

I love me some My Little Pony rebuilds and these modern Doctor Who monsters are very impressive!

Sketches of Harry Potter kids as hipsters – funny, apart for the repeated joke. My favourite is Draco Malfoy’s classic “I hated Potter before it was cool.”

Speaking of Potter, I loved the recent entry in Kathleen Jennings ‘the Dalek Game’ series of sketches, including a discussion of how she came to reading Harry Potter and what it means to her.

Great post for readers wanting to look back at some of the fantasy fiction of the past: a list of the top 10 bad-ass female fantasy characters.

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3 Responses to “Friday Links Don’t Have Enough Lesbians In Them.”

  1. Sean the Blogonaut Says:

    Lovely links again. Curious the response to the authors posting about the YA Gay stuff. It strikes me that the agent in question, working as they do in a communication industry, has pretty poor communication skills( for the authors to get the wrong impression).

  2. tansyrr Says:

    Also worth noting that a lot of the criticism being aimed at the writers (including that in the agent’s post) is from an incredibly poor reading of their original post. In particular, they are careful not to suggest anything about the agent’s attitude towards homosexuality, and use the (anonymous) incident to open up a larger and overwhelmingly positive discussion about perceptions in the industry about what makes a book commercial.

  3. Sean the Blogonaut Says:

    Yes. Agent’s response seems to be punitive.

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