Happy International Women’s Day!
So, one of those things you might not know about me, internet, is that back in the day when I spent part of my first ever professional book sale cheque on a Playstation 1 (that’s how long I’ve been in the writing biz!) the games I played most obsessively were: Spyro the Dragon, anything with ‘Discworld’ in the title, and Tomb Raider. We are so overdue for a new Discworld game it’s not funny, and the adorableness of Spyro has been utterly destroyed by the cynical and macho ‘Skylanders’ reboot. But Lara Croft as Tomb Raider is about to make her comeback…
And this time, she’s written by a woman. Rhianna Pratchett, heir to the Discworld IP and one of the most prominent female writers in the game industry, has been doing a bunch of media about her role as head writer on this new Tomb Raider prequel. It’s rare to hear a writer included so openly in the PR about a new game, especially when that writer is a woman, and Rhianna has some really interesting things to say about the creative choices made for this game, especially in a piece she wrote herself for the Telegraph (though she was quick to point out on Facebook that the awful title of the piece was NOT chosen by her). Don’t read the comments of this one, they will ruin your day.
Red Sonja cover by HELL YEAH Fiona Staples
Meanwhile, Gail Simone has been signed up to write for Red Sonja
which immediately makes me interested in the character in a way I never have been before. A female warrior mostly portrayed as a male fantasy, now in the hands of a smart writer who does smart characterisation? BRING IT. Oh, and as an added bonus, while the regular artist is male, the covers will be handled by all female artists including HELL YEAH FIONA STAPLES, our own Aussie Nicola Scott, Jenny Frisson, Stephania Buscema and Colleen Doran.
Back to the book industry! The big dramatic discussion of the week was the terrible boilerplate contract offered by Random House Hydra, one of several new digital imprints of the Big Publisher. Scalzi and the SFWA Writer Beware blog had much to say about this contract, and its most problematic aspects – if a publisher is not paying advances AND charging the author for set up costs, then exactly what investment are they bringing to the table? A recent update on Writer Beware includes the response of Random House.
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by Aviv Or
I love you, Tehani, but sending us this link
first thing in the morning? Meant I started my day feeling rageful and cranky.
(it’s a Salon article by some bloke about how Jennifer Weiner is too rich and successful to be allowed to complain about ingrained sexism in the literary world, and poor male authors struggle more despite having a whole bunch of admittedly sweet gender-based privileges)
Luckily, before I had to turn my squishy pre-breakfast brain into some kind of ‘well your face is stupid’ riposte, John Scalzi did it for me. Cheers, John! Some of the comments (on both posts) are, well, you know, but overall I feel now like I have the renewed strength to go on with my Friday without spending the whole morning typing furiously at you all. Hooray!
In other Scalzi news, he also wrote a post about the general awesomeness of Starship Troopers the movie, which I stand behind entirely.
That post is part of Tor’s theme week on military SF, which also includes this post by the incredibly well read Jo Walton, about women in the world of Miles Vorkosigan (and Lois McMaster Bujold).
the new Galactic Suburbia is up, and we’re on to Episode 51 before I come to terms with us hitting the big 50. There’s a bunch of links there, which I won’t repeat. Check in particularly to hear me squee about the upcoming World’s Finest comic, featuring the Helena Wayne Huntress and her Earth 2 best friend Power Girl. Hooray, my favourite versions of both characters! Also nice to see Nicola Scott with another DC gig, doing the art for new title Earth 2.
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Over at Justine Larbalestier’s blog, she asks the question: What do you think of the frequently mounted defence of Twilight and some other popular YA titles that no matter what you think of the writing style or content it’s intended for teens so that’s okay. Or at least it gets teens reading?
There have been some wonderful, inventive comments, not overly hamstrung by Justine’s insistence that the relative merits of Twilight not be under discussion in the thread (and fair enough too, it’s one of the easiest ways to derail said conversation).
I commented over there with a blog-length comment, mostly about how I don’t like the way the terms ‘bad writing’ and ‘good writing’ get thrown around (it is actually possible for one person to like a book, another to dislike it, and them both to be RIGHT), and particularly the way that they are used in regards to hugely popular works preferred by women readers. I recall overhearing a young teenage boy informing his mother in a bookshop that Harry Potter was ‘entertaining but badly written’ and I was stunned. Who was he to make such a pronouncement? Was it his own opinion, or one he had heard? How can you possibly dismiss a work as badly written if you find it entertaining?
Surely entertaining is one of those things that writing is intended to do?
After reading all the comments that have come in on Justine’s blog I have been formulating a different response to the question. I understand why people are reacting negatively to the suggestion that ‘it’s okay to let teens read bad books because they’re just teenagers, as long as they’re reading it’s good’ but so many of the responses to that are rubbing me up the wrong way.
Because, you know what? It’s none of our business what teenagers are reading.
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