Also I’ve had a great time recently reading and discussing comics, and particularly discovering how many of my friends secretly love the Keith Giffen Justice League era. After my complaints at the ‘big guns’ style of Justice League, Cranky Nick sent me a link to this brilliant comic strip which sums it all up for me. Love it!
Speaking of YA, this older post that Tehani pointed me towards asked the question ‘how dark are YA covers really?’ after that other YA controversy from earlier this year, and has some great visuals to illustrate the answers.
Seanan Maguire wrote a powerful and important post about the divide between rich and poor when e-books are concerned. This is something I’ve been thinking for a while, whenever people gleefully predict the ‘death of print books’. Australia is a country where it’s possible to be in “information-poverty” regardless of your financial situation, and so it’s far more obvious from here that e-technologies, however wonderful, are not available to everyone. Seanan writes about the issue beautifully, and I think it’s an essay that needs more exposure.
For regular listeners/subscribers to Galactic Suburbia who listen through iTunes, this will make exactly no change at all (thank goodness!) but we’ve recently moved over to Podbean which allows us delicious crunchy stats, and also should make it easier for listeners who prefer to download directly. So check out our new Galactic Suburbia site! Kudos to our producer for spending a ridiculously long amount of time uploading every single episode to the new place and making it comfy for us. Still a few details to be ironed out, but it’s lovely to be there.
Meanwhile, I’ve been beetling around my blog, creating a Guide to the various series of posts I have published or have recently been publishing, because sometimes the tags system doesn’t quite cut it. I may have missed some out, but it’s a good start!
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.
Aliette de Bodard wrote a marvellous rant which examines the way that US storytelling tropes are so ingrained in global culture that they basically dictate what is considered good and bad writing. I think this is a very important topic and one that bears further discussion.
The new Locus Round Table topic is Fantastic literature for kids, with a particular focus on SF. Karen Burnham, currently at home with her brand new baby, outlines the beginning of the series here.
And the first post is BY ME! I made the science fictional personal by talking about some of the SF I read when I was young, but particularly what robots and spaceships are on my daughters’ bookshelves. Including our favourite Play School modern classic, Jemima To The Rescue:
I don’t know who else will be participating, but I’m excited to see their posts this month.
Elsewhere, Sherwood Smith talks about the perception that kids don’t want to read science fiction. I was surprised at the premise as I have seen quite a bit of SF for middle grade around, and from what I hear, publishers are very keen for YA SF to take off as the next big thing. But the discussion & the comments so far are an interesting read.
I was deeply sad to read this post by Cheryl Morgan, who is feeling beaten down by the mudslinging she has been experiencing for years, and decided to withdraw her connection to many fan, volunteer and professional projects. Cheryl’s commitment to our community and the science fiction field as a whole has always been inspiring to me, and it’s devastating to realise what the personal cost of that has been for her.
Smart Bitches made me aware of this film about the Victorian medical treatments for hysteria, which looks like the best kind of British historical comedy gold, and features my beloved Sheridan Smith, among many others:
Ms Magazine, meanwhile, brought to our attention the sterling work of Geena Davis and her institute who have been investigating the dire representation of girls and women in kids TV/movies. (Thanks to Rowena Cory Daniells for this link) Hard data, people! It’s not just Pixar letting the side down, and I think it’s especially important that they are focusing on the effect this has on boys as well as girls.
Angry Robot announces Worldbuilder, a creative commons plan to expand the fictional worlds of their authors. i’m skeptical about this one – I’m all for not harassing fanfic writers, but the idea of commissioning fanfic for a work that hasn’t been published yet is a whole different ballgame. Still, will be interesting to see the results!
My plan was for today’s Friday links to be all about the SF gateway, but in breaking news, the World Fantasy nominations were released, and I’m SO EXCITED that Alisa Krasnostein has her first nomination! It’s for Best Non-Professional Achievement (some day she will be able to start paying herself and it will be Best Professional!) and I love that it is for Twelfth Planet Press rather than all the volunteer work she does in the community for projects like ASif & Swancon – much though I appreciate her work in that area, TPP is her future and for it to be the reason she has her first WF nomination is fabulous.
Congrats to all the nominees – I’m particularly delighted by the diverse and exciting novel shortlist, but also crowing over Rachel Swirsky’s novella “The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window,” Jonathan Strahan’s anthology “Swords and Dark Magic,” and Angela Slatter’s exceptional collection, Sourdough and Other Stories. Also, extra congrats to Charles A Tan & Lavie Tidhar for their nods in the same category as Alisa, for Bibliophile Stalker and the World SF blog respectively.
But now, links!
I haven’t spotted quite as much analysis as I had expected about the significance of the SF Gateway, but here are some key posts from the last week or so:
Not sure I’ve linked to Kathleen Jennings’ The Dalek Game before, but I love her illustrative blog and this series which mashes up pencilled Daleks with famous book/movie titles are just adorable.
Linda Nagata gives an unvarnished account of her career trajectory as a female hard SF writer.
A discussion at the Mary Sue of genderbending in geek culture & cosplay – the impression I’ve got is that men dressing as women is a lot more acceptable in the cosplay community than this article suggests, though. I was delighted to hear there was a male Sarah Jane at the last Gallifrey, dressed in the Andy Pandy overalls!
Grant Watson reviews Summer Wars, a new anime movie which we watched recently with friends and I agree with Grant about how exceptional it is. A screwball family comedy and science fiction thriller combined! I love stories of big crazy families, and this handles that so well (though I was delighted today to find the wikipedia page that tells me who they all are and how they’re related to each other). I was amazed how much story and character was packed into the running length of a normal movie – and the combination of science fiction, contemporary issues (information hijacking, vulnerability of overstretched resources in the face of terrorist action) and deeply-felt emotions was fabulous. I particularly love the introverted hacker teen character Kazuma, and the sword-wielding matriarch grandmother, whose backstory is conveyed through mastery of the telling detail.
Chris Moriarty on the Women in SF conversation, and the danger of labels.
Thoraiya passed on a link to this fascinating article about the “chilly climate” for women in professional areas (such as the sciences) dominated by men, and one amazing woman who defined that term decades ago, as part of her work in the creation of policies to prevent gender discrimination. Most important quote: “This is changeable behaviour.”