julieandrews: (manga)
Here's the call to submissions. Really cool idea, go read the submission call, etc etc.

But what prompted me to post about it here was this bit:

Who can submit stories for consideration for the special issue? Women.
And what is a woman? A woman is any human being who identifies as one, to whatever degree that they do so.

I like that so hard, you guys! Yes! Whoever came up with that is a wording genius.
julieandrews: (manga)
I was reading through this lengthy article about women in science and I was finding it interesting and informative. Until I got to page 3 and her discussion of Big Bang Theory.

I will readily admit, and could even be induced to rant, about the sexist.. everything in Big Bang Theory. I do not disagree that that show has problems, as entertaining as it may be. (And it's more entertaining when it's doing geeky things and not relationship crap, btw.) But WOW! WOW! For an article that's supposedly about how we should have more women in science, she is incredibly harsh about the women on Big Bang Theory!

"For proof of the stereotypes that continue to shape American attitudes about science, and about women in science in particular, you need only watch an episode of the popular television show “The Big Bang Theory,” about a group of awkward but endearing male Caltech physicists and their neighbor, Penny, an attractive blonde who has moved to L.A. to make it as an actress. Although two of the scientists on the show are women, one, Bernadette, speaks in a voice so shrill it could shatter a test tube. When she was working her way toward a Ph.D. in microbiology, rather than working in a lab, as any real doctoral student would do, she waitressed with Penny. Mayim Bialik, the actress who plays Amy, a neurobiologist who becomes semiromantically involved with the childlike but brilliant physicist Sheldon, really does have a Ph.D. in neuroscience and is in no way the hideously dumpy woman she is presented as on the show. “The Big Bang Theory” is a sitcom, of course, and therefore every character is a caricature, but what remotely normal young person would want to enter a field populated by misfits like Sheldon, Howard and Raj? And what remotely normal young woman would want to imagine herself as dowdy, socially clueless Amy rather than as stylish, bouncy, math-and-science-illiterate Penny?"

The men are 'awkward but endearing'. And one isn't a physicist by the way, but an engineer and an astronaut. And dude, he is not particularly endearing. He's kinda gross. Also, two of them aren't Penny's neighbor.

Penny is 'an attractive blonde'.

Bernadette speaks not just in a 'shrill' voice, but one with a metaphor attached.

Amy is only 'semiromantically involved'? And Sheldon is 'childlike'. Presumably because he's asexual and their relationship hasn't progressed much in sexual directions, it gets characterized as 'semiromantic' and Sheldon as 'childike'.

Amy is then described as "hideously dumpy"! Which is not at all like what Mayim Bialik looks like, by the way, in case you were worried!
Amy is then additionally described as "dowdy" and "socially clueless".

She really has it out for Amy! I assume because she couldn't find anything to say about Bernadette's appearance.

Look. Bernadette has her quirks, because they ALL DO. Her voice is a minor thing compared to Raj's inability to talk to women or her husband's lecherousness. Amy has her unique style of dress, again, because they ALL DO. I could show you the outfits of any character on the show, devoid of their actors, and you'd know who wore them. They're so distinctive that I NOTICED. The only other time I noticed something like that was Smallville's color scheme.

Why is she giving the men a pass? Why are they "endearing" in their awkwardness, but Amy isn't?

I guess geeks and myself included are not "remotely normal", because I see myself and fellow geeks in the characters on Big Bang Theory. It's lacking diversity -- someone overweight, someone not-straight, someone older, someone with a beard, someone disabled, more non-white people, etc etc. But I could readily imagine all of them at a local con and not being surprised by how they appear, how they act, or how they speak.

But I ALSO wouldn't be surprised to see Penny! She is geeky in her own way, and interested enough in what her friends are doing to try to learn more about it. Would I be surprised to see her alone at a con? Probably.

Do I want to be her? No. I don't want to be a waitress, or an actor, or a blonde, or a sports fan, or more of a slob than I already am. Oh, wait, you mean Penny has personality traits beyond "stylish" and "bouncy"? *gasp!*

I guess the author of this piece wants her female scientists to be pretty, stylish, "normal" women. All others need not apply.

Sorry, Bernadette, you didn't work your way through school in a lab like any respectable scientist would. And you talk funny. You're out.
Sorry, Amy, you don't dress pretty enough, and you didn't spend enough time socializing with the right people. You're out too.
Penny, you're in! Just apply yourself harder to that math and science you don't like all that much!
julieandrews: (manga)
So there was this article, SEXISM IN GENRE PUBLISHING: A PUBLISHER’S PERSPECTIVE which boils down to 'women work here so we're not sexist. Fewer women are submitting to us and we don't know why.'

I thought, "Would I want to submit a novel to Tor UK?"

I'm in the US, so there are possible reasons related to that that the answer would be no.

So, I went to their website. And I looked for their submission guidelines. They were not particularly easy to find. They weren't under Contact. And they were under About, but only if you read/skimmed the blurb.

So, they're here for those who want to jump right there.

And, wow.. They sort of apologize for still existing as a traditional publisher. Almost making excuses for why you should submit to them rather than self-publish. "Besides, hopefully, there is still a fondness for having the book edited, packaged and published by us traditional types… :-)" -- So, we're supposed to submit to you out of a feeling of nostalgia? Smiley face?!

They'll read your unsolicited submission, with this rather odd explanation of how long it will take them:
"If we would like to publish your novel, we will let you know within twelve weeks of receipt. Unfortunately, due to the large number of submissions we receive, we are unable to respond to unsuccessful submissions. If you have not had a response within sixteen weeks please assume that we have, regretfully, decided not to publish your novel."

Sad that you have to assume a non-answer is a no. But actually this is quite good as a turnaround time. (Apart from the fact that most of the time there's no actual turnaround.)

1. You can submit a novel to them and get a yes within 12 weeks, and assume a no by 16 weeks. (3 months and 4 months)
2. You can submit more than one novel at a time. (simsub)
3. You can submit if you're not in the UK.

As submissions policies go, it's good. But nothing about the introduction to the policies convinced me they'd be a good publisher to work with.

Back to the About page, I find this:
"Our science fiction output features talents such as Douglas Adams, Peter F. Hamilton, Neal Asher and Gary Gibson" -- Man, man, man, man. And I haven't heard of the last guy.
"On the fantasy side, our list contains wonderful writers such as Adrian Tchaikovsky, Douglas Hulick and Mark Charan Newton." -- Man, man, man. And I haven't heard of any of them.
They name drop five other men before naming Amanda Hocking. Who got her successful start self-publishing, note.

Now, there's a link for 'Buy Tor Ebooks'. I can't find any such list for print books. Do they only publish ebooks?
How do I find a full list of what they've published or at least what they have in print? Or a list of their authors? I see authors who have contributed to the blog, which includes Cherie Priest, who you would've thought they'd namedrop on the About page.

Short of reading various blog posts, which may or may not be useful, I find no way to learn more about the company from their website.

On the Pan MacMillan site, I find this on their imprints page:
"Tor UK is a London-based publisher of hardcover and paperback books committed to science fiction and fantasy writing. Its authors are regularly nominated for prestigious awards worldwide."
That interestingly does not mention ebooks.

Over on Amazon, I tried to find books by them, but it turns out (at least on Amazon UK) that they're just listed as 'Tor'. How am I to differentiate between them and their US counterpart? Do they have John Scalzi's The Human Division, or don't they?

My next question would be what a Tor UK contract looks like. They certainly weren't prepared to tell me on their website.
My quick Google searches didn't yield up any answers. It's full of talk of their ebooks being DRM-free. Which good. Yes. But not what I was looking for.

I can't find an entry for them on Wikipedia and no mention of them on the main Tor entry.

1 -- Their About page screams 'male publisher!'
2 -- Their submission policies are great. (but the page itself doesn't come off as confident)
3 -- They need to work on their publicity -- website needs more info, they need a Wikipedia page.
4 -- They should provide some info about what rights they're buying and what they're going to do for you, the author.

They've gotten more attention in the last week or so thanks to that blog post, so maybe they ought to position themselves to capitalize on it with, basically, MORE INFO.


Jun. 26th, 2013 08:31 am
julieandrews: (manga)
So I heard that the AP took the word of ONE PERSON who wasn't even a reporter. One VERY BIASED PERSON. That the bill passed and it totally wasn't midnight yo. Only it totally was, because we could all see it. I was watching Twitter on my phone and the stream on my laptop and my phone's clock is synced. We all knew it. The national news media didn't.

Then there was a screencap of the website showing that the vote was datestamped 6/26. This mysteriously changed a few moments later to 6/25. But EVERYONE HAD SCREENCAPS. You guys know how the Internet works over there?

I finally went to sleep. This morning it sounds like they did decide that midnight is a real time and a rule is a rule, did they?

They'd better be prosecuting a few people over there. Like whoever was dumb enough to order that website change.

Also, I hope Daily Show is all over this muffin thing.
julieandrews: (manga)
So I hopped on Twitter to actually tweet about an America's Got Talent act. My Twitter feed was talking about the filibuster going on down in Texas. I started watching the live feed just as Wendy Davis said her last words. And then some woman got up to say that sonograms weren't relevant to the bill they were discussing. So they debated that. And then they did all sorts of political and procedural gymnastics for the next hour and a half, two hours or so. In the last 10 minutes, another senator, this one having come back from her FATHER'S FUNERAL, said, "At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice in order to be heard over her male colleagues in the room?"

At that point, Twitter went wild. More importantly, the audience watching in the gallery went wild. They were too loud for anything to be accomplished. Midnight happened.

Then the Republicans tried to call a role. AFTER MIDNIGHT.

The apparently someone reported to AP and news outlets which had previously been ignoring this whole thing, picked it up that the filibuster had ended awhile ago and that the bill passed.

So, now that I've stayed up way past my bedtime and nothing is resolved, well, I know who to be mad at. Republicans who ignore the rules when it suits them and who don't care about women. And the major media outlets who'd rather report on the caloric content of blueberry muffins. And then would rather toe the Republican party line than report on the actual facts.

I do think I'll finish watching America's Got Talent though. I have 5 minutes left to watch, then I can delete it.
julieandrews: (manga)
Anyone feel like providing a quick list of the female SF writers I should be ashamed of not having read?

Comment here and leave the names of women in genre. By the end of April, I’ll gather all names suggested and create one giant list so that we see just how many women there are.

Q: Who are your favorite women authors in genre? What are your favorite books written by them?

Wikipedia: Category:Women science fiction and fantasy writers (262)
Wikipedia: Category:Men science fiction and fantasy writers
Wikipedia: Category:Genderqueer science fiction and fantasy writers

Wikipedia: Women in speculative fiction
Wikipedia: Men in speculative fiction
Wikipedia: Genderqueer in speculative fiction

Google Ngram for "authoress"
Google Ngram for "lady author"
Google Ngram for "female author"
Google Ngram for "male author"
Google Ngram for "genderqueer author"

Goodreads List: Science Fiction Books by Female Authors
Goodreads List: Science Fiction Books by Male Authors

Why do we have to make frelling lists?! Mary Shelley is the PARENT OF SCIENCE FICTION! Lois McMaster Bujold could very well tie Heinlein this year for most Hugos for Best Novel. Seanan McGuire had five (5) Hugo nominations last year and five (5) again this year. Ursula K. Le Guin has won the most Nebulas for Best Novel. Connie Willis has eleven (11) Hugo wins and eight (8) Nebula wins. Octavia Butler was the first science fiction/fantasy author to receive a MacArthur Genius Grant. James Tiptree Jr. has an Award named after her. J. K. Rowling was the first person to become a billionaire (in US dollars) for writing books. Stephenie Meyer was in Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People in 2008", which, let me tell you, is not a list chock full of sf/f writers. Clarion and Clarion West's yearly lineup of instructors is usually half women.

Listen, I know I just... MADE A LIST. But I shouldn't have to. You should know this. You should be able to name not just five women, not just ten women, you should be able to name fifty women! A hundred! You should be naming women for so long that you lose track of if you've named someone before!

What do you mean you don't read sf/f books by women authors? Why are you willfully ignoring at LEAST half of the sf/f books? Just writing them completely off as uninteresting? Look, I'm not a fan of steampunk, but I have read steampunk. I'm most definitely not a fan of horror, but I have read horror. Do you consider yourself well-read? Do you consider yourself well-rounded? Do you consider yourself to be a FAN OF THE GENRE? Then how can you not know the names of these writers?! How can you not have read them?!

And don't you even dare say 'oh, well, them, I've read them'. Yea, no, these might be outstanding names I've listed, but I have left off DOZENS more who have had a HUGE influence on sf/f and on the freaking world.

So don't you even say you need us to make a list. Make your own damn list.
julieandrews: (manga)
I didn't catch it the first time I watched the Neil Gaiman episode, but I did catch it the second time and said something about it on Facebook. The captions actually didn't catch it. It says '-----class'. At least the ones that aired on BBCA the first time it was shown.

This month's Ansible says:

"Neil Gaiman's Doctor Who episode 'A Nightmare in Silver' (11 May) includes a dialogue homage to Ursula Le Guin, or perhaps Orson Scott Card.... About nine minutes in, a character is heard to say: 'It can't be broken – it's a solid state ansible-class communicator!' [NG]"

Does authorial intent matter here? Is it an homage to OSC if Gaiman thought it was an homage to OSC? Standing all by its lonesome, without getting into Gaiman's head (or perhaps someone else's, if he wasn't responsible for that bit of technobabble), isn't it a shout-out to Le Guin?

OSC doesn't get to claim credit for the ansible. He just doesn't. Well, and the fact is he doesn't. He's on the record somewhere or other as identifying his source.

So people don't get to claim credit on his behalf either.
julieandrews: (manga)
Merlin Season 1 disc art.

1. Merlin
2. Arthur
3. Uther and Gaius
4. Gwen and Morgana
5. The dragon

Yup, that about sums it up. The women aren't very important. But at least they beat the dragon.

For the record, it's a horrible picture of the dragon.
julieandrews: (manga)
So I waded through the comments on the io9 article about the Strange Horizons number-crunching. A lot of people replied to one specific request for female authors, with varying levels of enthusiasm, for lots of women to check out.

I did a tally.

Any time a female author was mentioned, I noted it. Whether they were directly a suggestion or just came up in the discussion. Here's the results:

Six Times
Ursula K. Le Guin
Octavia Butler

Five Times
Connie Willis (once in the context of Harlan Ellison)

Four Times
Lois McMaster Bujold
Anne McCaffrey

Three Times
N. K. Jemisin
Nalo Hopkinson
Robin McKinley
C. J. Cherryh
Tanith Lee
Jacqueline Carey
Kage Baker
Mira Grant/Seanan Maguire

More behind the cut )

Things I noticed:

* The Jane Austen Book Club was referred to without mention of the author, Karen Joy Fowler (who also isn't in the above list)
* Harry Potter was referred to without mention of the author, J. K. Rowling (who also isn't in the above list)
* The Hunger Games was referred to without mention of the author, Suzanne Collins (who also isn't in the above list)

Who's Missing?

(This isn't a trick question.)
(Or is it?)
julieandrews: (manga)
I posted a mini-rant on Facebook about the whole #womeningenre thing. I'm not going to rehash it here.

Strange Horizons posted a gender count of sf/f reviews in review publications. It should be noted that Ladybusiness also did a count of sf/f reviews on blogs.

io9 reported on it with "Handy Charts Reveal Why You've Never Heard of Most Female SF Authors". It's probably getting more links because of the catchy title and increased readership of io9 versus Strange Horizons. It also shares better on Facebook.

Leaving aside whether or not I have heard of "most female SF authors". Well, maybe not leaving it aside. I don't read the reviews in any of these publications, so that's not how I'd hear about them anyhow!

Now leaving it aside, as you probably won't be too surprised to note, the comments are full of people (I'll leave it at 'people') asking for recommendations for female sf/f authors to read. And then other people suggesting some.

Really?! Really?! You need to ask a [expletive deleted] question like that?!

Ways to find good female sf/f authors without asking in the comments on an io9 post:

1. Google 'female sf/f authors' or 'women science fiction authors' or some similar search. Voila!
2. Look at your favorite awards list. Note the female-sounding names. Have at it.
3. Browse the shelves of your local library or bookstore for female-sounding names or people who look like women in their author photo or for female pronouns in the author bios.
4. Ask on Facebook. Your friends know your tastes more than random io9 readers do.
5. Look at your Amazon or Goodreads or LibraryThing recommendations for, again, female-sounding names.
6. Read everything on the Tiptree Award lists. Even if it's by male authors. It'll do you good.
7. Look at the books on your own shelves, real or virtual, for female authors. Have you read them yet? Did you like a particular author? Read the rest of her stuff!
8. Look at the past guests of honor of WisCon. Not all are female. Not all are authors. But a lot of them are both!
9. Look at the freaking #womeningenre tag on Twitter, for cripe's sake.
10. Because 10 makes a nice round number. The next geek you run into -- it might be your wife, your son, your bff, a coworker, whatever -- ask them, "who are some of your favorite female sf/f authors?"

Message ends...
julieandrews: (manga)
I just had an interesting experience starting to read Monument 14. I must have had some pre-conceived notions of it, although all I could consciously remember was that it was a YA book, I was reading it because it appeared on a list of potential nominees for a local YA library list/award thing, and it was science fiction. Having now read like a chapter and glanced at the cover, I now also remember it was post-apocalyptic and takes place in a store, survivalist kind of thing.

So why did I go into it thinking the main character was male? Because, apparently I did. Was it the title with a number in it? Was it because post-apocalyptic is usually male? (It's not.) Was it some subtle thing I was picking up from the cover, which I hadn't even really looked at? (The focal point is a character seen from the back who's wearing a hoodie. Literally the only thing you can tell about them is that they're not bald, probably not blond, and they have two arms and appear to be standing.) Someone wearing a hoodie might default to male in my subconscious.

Was it the starting out in second person? That's only the first paragraph. It's a distancing technique that a male narrator might use... maybe. Was it the running for the bus? Was it the little brother?

Because I definitely thought the character was male by that point, even before the line about going to the Salvation Army together for electronic parts.

Not long after that, I was thinking.. I bet the author is male. So I glanced at the cover to see that the author is Emmy Laybourne and probably female. This did not change my opinion of what I thought the narrator was. I admit I did believe I would enjoy the story more knowing that than if the author had been male.

I didn't start to question that the narrator was male until s/he was hiding under a seat and paralyzed into inaction by the shock of the circumstances they were in. Now, it's perfectly legitimate for a male character or any human being to not be galvanized to move in an emergency situation. To want to help out, but be unable to. And yet.. that's not the narrative I've come to expect in post-apocalyptic YA with a male protagonist. So I wondered.

At this point, I went back to figure out what had led me to think it was a male character, and was it actually a male character? And there was no sign I could see either way. So then I continued reading in ambiguity. Then there was a line about the super-popular football star boy which called him, in the narration, 'beautiful'. Around about then, I was convinced it was now a female character. A male character who didn't do anything heroic in the opening scene and characterized another boy as "King of the beautiful"?

Then finally someone called the character by his(?) name. Dean.

So I'm going to operate on the assumption that this is a male character, until proven otherwise, who may or may not be straight.

Cory Doctorow, while I was at Clarion, said that the narrator always knows his or her gender so you should let the readers know as soon as possible. I don't agree with that. On all counts. They don't always know, and you're not always obligated to tell the reader. Although you probably should unless the ambiguity serves a purpose.

But anyway, I kind of like it when I don't know, because then I can analyze my own assumptions. Was there a cue in the first few paragraphs that I picked up on when I read it, but missed when I reread them? Or was it really not stated until the name "Dean" appeared on page 14. Coincidentally 14.

Well, anyway, let's hope the rest of the book is as interesting as the games I was playing in my head!
julieandrews: (Default)
I backed my first Kickstarter project this weekend, so I'd like to see it succeed!

Scheherazade's Facade

Man, that's a hard name to type.

"History, literature and mythology are replete with stories of those who, for one reason or another, disguise themselves as the opposite gender, or are transformed into that which they are not. Whether it's for love, ambition, or self-preservation, whether it's to challenge the status quo or simply to embrace their true nature, whether it's done willingly or thrust upon them, there will always be those who cross-dress and blur the lines between genders. Scheherazade's Facade takes its inspiration from those themes. From Bugs Bunny's dress-wearing shenanigans, to Mulan's impersonation of her father, from Tamora Pierce's Alanna of Trebond, to M*A*S*H's Klinger, this collection's antecedents are everywhere."


" * Alma Alexander-- "The Secret Name of the Prince"
* C.S. MacCath -- "The Daemons of Tairdean Town"
* Paolo Chikiamco -- "Kambal Kulam"
* Tiffany Trent -- "Driftwood"
* Melissa Mead -- "Pride"
* Tanith Lee-- "Keeping the World on Course"
* Aliette de Bodard -- "A Bitter Taste"
* Lyn C.A. Gardner -- "Going Dark"
* Sunny Moraine -- "The Cloak of Isis"
* Shanna Germain -- "How to Dance While Drowning"
* Sarah Rees Brennan -- "Treasure and Maidens"
* David Sklar -- "Lady Marmalade's Special Place In Hell"

If you think this sounds pretty darned cool, head on over to read the full write-up.
julieandrews: (Default)
I tend to post interesting links to Facebook. But they can get lost. And not all of you who read me here are friends with me on Facebook, if you're on Facebook at all.

So here's some links!

Two Photos Taken at First and Last Shuttle Launch

Cool Photo of Last Shuttle Launch

Dogs and Smurfs - Girl as Character Trait

Snape as Female Hero

Harry Potter Maize Maze

Facts about Harry Potter props (Radcliffe is hard on glasses and wands!)

Shyness as Evolutionary Tactic

I guess that'll do for now.
julieandrews: (Default)
Things I want to read before Wiscon:

Carmen Dog, by Carol Emshwiller
Steam-powered, edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft
The Secret Feminist Cabal, by Helen Merrick
Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor (I asked for this on librarything and 'won' an arc, but I never received it. So I don't think I own it yet...)
Half-Life, by Shelley Jackson
"Eros, Philia, Agape", by Rachel Swirsky

Man, that's a lot of reading, and I'm sure I'm forgetting stuff. I requested at least 2 of the Tiptree honor/long list books through ILL. They should come in this week.

On top of that, I need to read the following for Triple Take before Wiscon:
Turing book, Science of Doctor Who, A Spy in the House, Flowers for Algernon, The Einstein Intersection, and I am J.

I should also make a list of books to buy at Wiscon, so I don't end up buying books I already have and just haven't read yet. Or I could just buy books I haven't even heard of until Wiscon. That might be safer.

It'll be my first time doing Wiscon with a smartphone. I can have lists in my pocket! Er.. wait, I could always have lists in my pocket, couldn't I? Well, um.. yea.

If there's something else I should read before Wiscon, or buy at Wiscon, let me know in the comments!
julieandrews: (Default)
My employer, which is a city, is offering a free women's self-defense class. Which they've offered at least one time before.

I've been trying to work out why it bugs the heck out of me. (Though I'm still thinking of signing up.)

I think it's the implication that A) Women need self-defense more than men. Which just perpetuates the impression that women are weaker and the climate of women being attacked and abused.

And B) That men somehow know more about self-defense than women.

I took a few karate lessons in Girl Scouts. As far as I'm aware, my brother never learned anything similar. But maybe I'm wrong. I should ask him. Maybe he got something in gym class I didn't. We had segregated gym classes, which I later learned was not universal!

Are men just supposed to instinctually know how to fight better? Use their big, strong muscles? They're not real men if they can't beat someone up without a lesson!

And maybe it bothers me more because it's the city offering this as a one-time thing. If it was a gym or a dojo that offered these every once in awhile, I don't think it would bother me as much. It'd just be one class in a suite of classes. Even if none of them were men's self-defense classes. Because I can understand that women who had been attacked in the past would most likely feel more comfortable and confident in a class of all women. I do get that.

I just don't like the city thinking all its female employees need self-defense, and the male ones don't.
julieandrews: (Default)
NOVA ScienceNOW said they found 44 songs about loving robots.

And I wondered, how many of those were men in love with female-gendered robots? How many of the robots were actually no gender?

I'm failing to find a list of the songs online. Well, I guess I can type it up. They didn't give artists, just the song titles.

I'm in love with a robot girl
Android love
I fell in love with an android
Hot like a robot
Amor robot
Robot dream
I fell in love with a robot
My robot envy
Fell in love with a robot maid
Girls love robots
Yummy robot
My boyfriend's in love with a robot
Everybody needs a robot
Robot in love
Betty bizarre robot love
Robot high school
The robot song
I'm in love with the Terminator
I robot lover
I love you, robot
Robot romance
Robot girlfriend
Love robot
We dig giant robots
The girl and the robot
Robot sex
Dirty robot
Sexy robot

And seven 'Robot Love's.

They joke that they should make an album of them. But actually, I would've bought it!
julieandrews: (Default)
Have you read the latest eCube?

If you were waffling about attending Wiscon this year, you might want to check that out. Because the Tiptree Award is inviting all past winners to come. And, y'know what, that could very easily generate a climate of AWE-some!
julieandrews: (Default)
ETA: If you were planning to read Never Let Me Go, then don't read the blurb they provide. It's spoilery. Similarly, if you click through to their original list of 10 and haven't read Ender's Game, also a complete spoiler! Since I haven't read most of the books, it's entirely possible there's other spoilers as well. So if you intend to read any of these books, safer to skip the blurb and move on.


Flavorwire has just posted 10 Contemporary Books That Challenged White, Male Literary Dominance. And I was like.. yes, awesome.

Until I read the list.

Now I am just puzzled.

"Last week, we published a list of 10 essential books of the past 25 years. It was one of our most popular posts of all time, as well as one of our most contentious, racking up over 100 comments. Much of the argument has focused on the list's lack of diversity: of the 10 books, eight were written by white men."

So.. this is a list of 10 awesome books by people who aren't white men? An otherwise rather random list of them? Because that's what it looks like.

While Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale (which I was surprised to see, because I guess my concept of 'contemporary' did not encompass 25 years ago) does 'challenge' white male dominance in the world, in an outside-the-book kind of way, the world itself in the book is very white male dominated!

But Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro struck me as more about class than anything to do with gender, race, or national origin. Perhaps I'm mis-remembering.

So if the texts don't have to challenge the white male dominance, then the books are challenging them.. simply by being written by women (white or otherwise) or men of color? Um, well.. did you really need to make a top 10 list to prove the majority of the population on the planet is capable of writing good books?! The list didn't even confine itself to books first published in English!

Which just makes you have to question why so many American, Canadian, and British authors made it into the list!

I was originally going to look at the list and complain if there was no sf/f on it. I have a little trouble doing that because whatever Atwood says, her book is sf. And wherever Ishiguro's is placed in libraries and bookstores, it's sf too.

I dunno.. I just.. seriously? There were several approaches you could take to 'challenging' the 'literary dominance' of white males and I don't think this list reflects any of them.

* Books that actually challenge that dominance by exploring worlds where white men aren't dominant, or by subverting that. You know.. feminist or anti-colonialist books, though not limited to those.

* Books written by women or men of color that dominated the bestseller lists. Rowling or Meyer, anyone?

* Books by women or men of color who won the Hugo or the Nebula? (Ah well, pipe dream this. Because sf/f isn't 'literary'.)

* Books by women or men of color that appear on school reading lists? I know that would include Octavia Butler.

* Books that are really big with book groups? With or without the Oprah Bump.

I'm annoyed that this list doesn't have LeGuin or Butler or anyone else in the sf/f world who is a major, major player and who challenged the status quo just by getting their voice heard.

Even while another part of me thinks that was too much to expect.

I should stop reading these top whatever lists just because Shelf Awareness points me to them. They're all rubbish. :P

ETA: I was also wondering about this summary of Handmaid's Tale. "As a result, some are virtuous Wives while others are Handmaids, like the novel's protagonist, Offred, named for their male masters and forced to bear their children so the Wives don't have to." Don't have to? I thought they couldn't! Am I misremembering here? No, wait, that was girly of me. I know they couldn't! That was the whole point! (But if you really want to satisfy the 2% of my brain that isn't sure, could you confirm it for me? Thnx.)
julieandrews: (Default)
I'm not an artist, so I don't use deviantART. Though I have browsed the art there on more than one occasion, I'm sure. Lots of cool stuff!

Apparently they changed their gender options to Male or Female, making it more restrictive than it had been. And then completely failed all the way around in response to an inquiry about it.

Read about it here

I had actually created an account, I believe to try to see content that had been marked adult. So I just logged in to have a look.

My 'Sex' (note: not gender) was set to 'Male' and 'Not Shown'. Now I honestly can't tell you if that's what I picked when faced with only 2 options. Quite likely it was. Or if it defaulted to Male at some point.

However, it will let me change it to 'Other'.

So either they half-fixed the problem they created, or 'Other' is only there on accounts of a certain age. (Mine is less than a year old, but more than a few months. Wait.. maybe it'll tell me when I created it. Ah.. it says 2 months. Which is probably closer to 3, IIRC.)

deviantART would hardly be the first place to force people to choose a gender and only give them 2 options to do it with. Facebook implemented it sometime after I created an account there. I have no gender on Facebook, but that's not an option for newer joinees. Or, sorry, I have no 'sex' on Facebook.

For the curious, I'm Unspecified/Other here on LiveJournal.

It always makes me wary of going into my account on places like that and updating anything, but the form might say 'You left this blank!' and then I'll be forced to pick one when I didn't have to before. Or it might default to something. 'Male' because male is the default or 'Female' because it's alphabetically first.

I don't generally angst when forced to pick one, but it does tick me off. Whether I pick Male or Female when forced to depends on a lot of factors. Mostly related to the site itself and not my mood. If I feel putting Male would be safer and less harrass-y, I'll do it. If I feel putting Female will make them realize women use the site, I'll put that. If it's a medical site where my actual sex, and not my gender, might matter to things, like BMI and whatnot, then I'll put that. If it's a game where it might affect my choice of avatar, definitely Male. I prefer male avatars.

But reading this post made me think maybe I need to protest more. Rather than, like, pretty much not at all. When sites see other sites doing it, they think it's okay. Then when they're coding theirs, they don't even think about it. Maybe even they copy and paste the code in from something else.

I'm going to take a look at work too. I don't think we ask for gender at all, but I'll doublecheck. We're getting a new system, and you never know what new 'feature' a company has introduced that's entirely pointless.

ETA: I meant to add a few paragraphs up that while I don't angst about it, that doesn't mean nobody does or nobody should. Especially when policies also state you shouldn't provide false information. These sites are forcing some people to provide false information. They're forcing them to lie and forcing them to break site policies all in one go. That causes moral squeamishness right there. Add to that that then on some sites that person will constantly be confronted with their lie in the form of pronouns, and it's at the same time silencing and hurtful. In the case of Facebook, daily, hourly hurtful. (All those apps who haven't learned to do without pronouns or to use 'they' when posting your latest achievement.)

Why does it matter that you know your users' gender, let alone their sex? And how hard is it to provide a third and fourth option? Nobody's even asking that you add several more options to better reflect different stops on the continuum. Nobody's even asking you to use third gender pronouns. Though, y'know what, maybe we should.

julieandrews: (Default)
Author Jennifer Lynn Barnes gave a list of her top 10 supernatural families to The Guardian.

Here's the List

Assuming all initial names are women (with the exception of CS Lewis), then there's only one male author on her list. The aforementioned CS Lewis.

Do men typically not write about families? Or just in the sf/f world?

Note: Of course of course, personal bias, this is a personal list, maybe she mostly reads women authors, etc. But I still think it's a useful question to ask.


julieandrews: (Default)

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