Category Archives: readings

Maximum-Extreme-Linkage!

Okay so first off this is a very sad day in the blogosphere because BrownFemiPower of the La Chola/WOC Blog has left the internet. There was a lot of drama going on in the feminist blogosphere that left a lot of WOC feeling unheard and the victims of constant aversive (if not overt) racism. Of course this is not the first or last time that this has happened but it was particularly bad this time around . (If you guys want to know what went down go here: http://highonrebellion.wordpress.com/2008/04/09/intellectual-theft-is-still-theft/ and make sure to click on the links provided) I completely understand her decision to leave, you can only feel attacked so many times before you realize that maybe it’s not worth all the pain that you have to go through every single day. I wish her massive success in all her endeavors. A moment of silence for one of my favorite bloggers.

Micole (Coffeeandink on LJ) has a very interesting post Are Jews White? where she breaks down a lot of the ideas around Jewish folks and discusses the difference between Ashkenazi and Sephardic jews. This is always an interesting topic because there’s generally been a disconnect between WOC feminists and Jewish feminists around white skin privilege and solidarity. Micole breaks down a lot of the complex issues that exist around Jewish identity. My experience with Judaism (which includes intending to convert at one point in my life) was generally around Sephardic Jews who as Micole states tend to identify as People of Color so it was a very different experience meeting an Ashkenazi Jew in one of the organizations I volunteered with that very vehemently identified as white (she did so very specifically to acknowledge the white skin privilege that she possessed). Any way, go read.  

Saskaia shares a letter she wrote discussing Stephanie Meyer’s use of Quileute characters over at the LJ community DeadBroWalking. Meyer’s urban fantasy series has been gaining quite a following from what I understand, I personally have never been tempted to read them but Saskaia breaks down some of the issues she has with the NDN characters within the book and the way they are represented. Warning contains spoilers for the series.

Was Stanley Kubrick killed by the Illuminati for exposing their Masonic orgy rites? I’m just gonna say that I personally don’t really believe in hidden organizations that control the world (Shadow governments? maybe, conspiracies? definitely) but y’all just head over and read through that, decide for yourselves what you believe.  Because the blogger does make some intriguing assertions.

More fiction online, an anthology about body alteration/modification and more, Unwelcome Bodies by Jennifer Pelland has several of the stories online for your pleasure. Go check them out, I know I will when I have a spare moment.
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Ah, overused stereotypes why?

So I’m reading Grimspace by Ann Aguirre and through about the first 150 pages it’s a ping-pong of cool and annoying. None of the women like each other and are extremely catty but there’s a lesbian character that I really like, the lesbian character plays a mechanic but was also once royalty.

Then I reach this description:

If people are talking to me, I don’t hear it, just gazing at the man sprawled on the makeshift dais. Damn, he’s…delicious: at least two meters tall, muscular, skin so dark it almost gleams blue, and long, wild braids trinketed with platinum and diamond glints. Just looking at him, I want to say he deserves every bit of his roguish reputation.
And please, can I be plunder?
Probably accustomed to this reaction, Hon gives me a slow grin, revealing white teeth, except for the front two, which appear to be solid gold. His voice is low and rich, lightly accented with a Darengo drawl unless I miss my guess. “Seem you keepin’ better company, March. Maybe I don’t kill you after all.”

I’m used to a certain amount of racial stereotype when POC do turn up in F/SF but damn.
We have the exotification – check
The instant animalistic attraction – check
The gold teeth – check
The fact that he’s a criminal – check
The faux-Island accent – check
Just…DAMN! That’s a lot of stereotypes playing on a lot of fucked up racial history at once. Especially after we deal with slavery earlier in the book with another character that feels like I’m drowning in white guilt. I don’t know if I can keep reading which is a shame because overall the plot and ideas of the book are just the sort of thing I like, revolution against a crooked conglomerate.

If I do finish you can be sure there will be a long write up for Feminist SF – The Blog! I just needed to get this part off my chest right now.

Oh Irony!

So I finished up with school and have been knocked down by a very nasty cold. I’ve been in and out of it for the last 4-5 days including during one of my finals. Oh joy bet I got an A on that one.

Currently reading The Oran Trilogy by Midori Snyder and while I like it I do have issues with it which will form my first post for the FemSFBlog n four months.

Okay it’s time for me to go medicate and fall into a stupor but I shall return much more regularly from now on.

NaNoWriMo!

It is National Novel Writing Month (www.nanowrimo.org) y’all! I have signed up for yet another year but going in I know I won’t get 50,000 words there is simply no way with everything going on. That does not however mean that I cannot try! My project for NaNoWriMo is neither of the novel ideas I’ve mentioned here before (for a variety of reasons none of which include me no longer being interested in them) instead I want to work on a collection of short stories all inspired by Linh Dinh’s poem “Borderless Body”. We’ll see how it goes.

So that post I’ve been yammering on and on about for Feminist SF will be up in the next two weeks. Have I started writing it yet? No but I’m making a vow. I feel I’ve been ignoring the blog and I love it so that cannot be allowed to happen. I’m going to make an effort to post a new entry every two weeks and see how that goes.

Currently Reading: Catherynne M. Valente’s The Orphan’s Tales – In The Cities of Coin and Spice It is a sequel (and the concluding volume) to The Orphan’s Tales – In The Night Garden an amazing Tiptree award winning novel that I adore. Valente is a poet as well as a fiction writer and that comes across in these books. Just amazing imagery that leaps of the page and descriptions that make my creative side salivate. She breaks “writing rules” like too many metaphors with impunity and it works so well. It simply adds to the fantastical and fairytale nature of the work. Also I got to hear her read at the last WisCon and she is an amazing reader.

Back to homework but I hope you all are well and writing (if that’s your thang).

things to write, things to watch, things to read

The novel goes, only a few pages so far but it goes. I was thinking of sharing a little snippet but it’s in its very first draft so we’ll wait on that. When I write I usually do my very first draft, my official first draft, my second draft, then it gets sent to people I trust to read it over it gets returned with notes and then I go over it once more. I love to edit but I know I have to set limits on myself otherwise I’ll just edit it forever and down to nothing.

Also why is it that I’ve barely started this fantasy novel and I already know what my next novel will be: A futuristic Sci-Fi murder mystery with repressed Psychics and burnt out normals. Maybe the flood gates have finally burst open. Anyway for now I’m trying to concentrate on Nemie and her journey (the as yet untitled fantasy novel) as opposed to Shila Vasath-Gray and her investigation (the Psychic Sci-fi work).

I also have three short stories that have yet to be typed up. I’ll need to get on that ASAP since the crazy birth one is one I want to submit to an upcoming anthology.

An aside, if anyone has Netflix and is taking advantage of the new service Watch Instantly they just put up Pan’s Labyrinth for online watching. I cannot say just how much I recommend this film and how much I love it. Dark fantasy mixes with the dark history of Franco’s fascist rule. Honestly one of the most amazing films out there right now. Even if you don’t have Netflix I recommend you rent this film from somewhere as soon as possible. You won’t be disappointed but I should point out that it is a foreign language film.

Also a story recommendation: The Beacon by Darja Malcolm-Clarke over at Clarkesworld. It’s about insects and gender roles and a quest but not in the way you might be thinking. Just head over and read it, it’s not that long and it’s fantastic. I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts on it.

Currently Reading: Crystal Rain by Tobias S. Buckell

I Like Logic

Currently I’m reading Fire Logic and I’m so sucked in that almost nothing else matters. So I feel I might be a little useless as I devour the books in the series that are out so far.

Other than that I’m behind on my schedule to start the novel I want to write during the summer but I’m not that worried about it. The beginning requires a lot less research (which I haven’t really started yet) because it starts in the modern day.

My music tastes seemed to have made a reversal lately in that I want to listen to Ani DiFranco again and again. While there’s nothing wrong with that, I do own all her albums after all, it’s kind of odd since I haven’t been such an Ani fanatic in years. There’s something going on right now that fills me with a need for semi-political folk music, probably because I think American society/gov’t is tottering on its last legs but not in the good revolutionary way. It feels like whatever comes after is going to be just as evil if not moreso.

Anyway this is all to say that listening to the Ani album, Knuckledown while reading Fire Logic really fits for me. I love pairing music with what I’m reading at the moment. Whenever I hear Fiona Apple’s first CD Tidal it takes me back to lying on my bed headphones on and CD on constant repeat while I read the whole Belgariad series by David Eddings. It’s such a shame that I cannot stand those books now (in fact they might be my next post for the Feminist SF Blog).

“And maybe it was I who betrayed his majesty
With no opposite reality
Like a puddle with no reflection
Of the sky or the trees
But after my dreaded beheading
I tied that sucker back on with a string
And I guess I’m pretty different now
Considering”

– Ani DiFranco, Manhole

WisCon 31 Recalled 2/4: My First Panel or What The Hell Am I Doing Up At This Table?!?

If I get any names or facts wrong, feel free to let me know. I’ve only got my own faulty memory to rely on here.

Saturday
Rose early, all bright and shiny… well it would have been bright and shiny if the laryngitis fairy hadn’t snuck into the room during the night and stolen Jackie’s voice. I woke and went to the bathroom, ignoring Jackie’s frantic gesturing in my sleepy state. When I emerged she gestured that she had lost her voice. We…well I discussed how that sucked and she whispered some comments back. Eventually we proceeded to our first panel of the day:

Genre Tokenism Today: The New Octavia
Panelists were: Nora Jemison, K. Tempest Bradford, Candra K. Gill, Nnedi Nkemdili Okorafor-Mbachu & Nisi Shawl.
I would bullet point it but there’s a pretty good transcript over at the FemSFWiki and my memory is way faulty.
I do want to say though that I thought it was a great panel that addressed a lot of concerns I had. The panelists discussed how it felt to be asked that question (Who is the next Octavia? Are you?), there was also some remembering of Octavia that had me tearing up a bit. Also just to point out, all the women on this panel are hilariously funny. I got to talk with all of them during the Con, except for Nnedi, and I was in almost constant laughter and always had a smile on my face.

Next my fellow panelists from “Why Is The Universe So Damn White?” K. Tempest Bradford, Wendy Bradley, Kate Elliot and I along with Kate’s daughter Rihana and Jackie went for lunch over at Ian’s Pizza.

(I had been escorted to Ian’s Pizza on Thurs. morning by Liz Henry, her partner John, their son Milo and Penny after my arrival at the hotel. Any place that has Macaroni & Cheese Pizza is my kind of place. I hit that pizzeria about 4 times during my trip. I forgot to mention this excursion on the first part of this report but it was a really good time with great people. I’ve heard Liz talk about her partner and child and it was awesome to put faces with the names. Penny was great and we talked about what panels we wanted to attend and shipping all the way to England (she’s British). I ran into all them throughout the Con but this was the only time we all got to sit down and actually talk. Okay timewarp from Thurs. back to Sat.)

We discussed the panel, what we wanted to discuss, how we wanted to approach certain subjects. Kate Elliot brought pages of wonderful notes, me being the unprepared person I always am, brought nothing. We also laid bets for when we would hear “I’m colorblind.” “I don’t care if someone’s black, white, green or polka-dotted!” and a few other key phrases. After lunch and some tea in the Green Room it was time for our panel. Right before the panel Kate gave me a copy of her new hardcover book, Spirit Gate. It’s almost all PoC (there’s only one white character and she’s secondary) and I’m so very anxious to read it. I asked her to sign it and played Vanna during the panel a bit, showing it off. Also somewhere in here Tempest became my con buddy! She was totally amazing to hang out with and we had a great time gossiping and just in general running around the Con.

Why Is The Universe So Damn White?
Points I can recall:
– Buffy, SoCal with no PoC until season 7 (excluding Trick, Kendra and a few others, very few and they never lasted very long)
– Battlestar Galactica and the Planet of the Black Fundies (a.k.a. Gemenon)
– Bury My Heart @ Wounded Knee adaptation, which Kate had actually brought the quote from the producer. It made the audience groan and shudder as it should.
– Tempest told us about her interaction with Ron Moore.
– Wendy discussed the difference in British TV and how we code PoC.
– Heroes and the absence of a name for “The Haitian”

That’s all I can really recall but a final note, Tempest and I were both blogged about at Wired.Com by Annalee Newitz. When Annalee told me she had blogged about me I assumed she meant a personal blog, not a professional one. Then people started emailing me to let me know what was happening. Also if you have any knowledge of race issues or any kind of consciousness about race, do not read the comments. No really, they’ll make your head all explodey!
Afterwards people complimented us on the panel, which was a real boost cause I was completely nervous and spazzed out, and Rihana showed me a picture she had drawn of me during the panel which was great. She’s quite an amazing artist. Also I’m damn cute!

Then I set off for:
Cultural Appropriation Revisted Part 1, the panel consisted of:
Candra K. Gill, Yoon Ha Lee, K. Tempest Bradford, Victor Jason Raymond, MJ Hardman & Nnedi Nkemdili Okorafor-Mbachu
There is a transcript for this panel over at FemSfWiki.


So just my impressions. I thought it went very well. There was good discussion among the panelists about cultural appropriation and appropriate cultural appropriation. I loved hearing Nnedi talk about the experience of being the child of Nigerian parents and feeling trapped between two worlds because of it. Sometimes not being acknowledged as valid by Nigerians or African-Americans. As the son of an Ethiopian immigrant I feel the same way a lot. I did not stay for Part 2 of Cultural Appropriation because that was when the audience got to speak and I just didn’t want to deal with it. Also people entered the room that had not been a part of the first discussion which I thought was extremely stupid. It also confirmed that I had made the right choice in leaving. If there was a way next year to only allow those who attended the first part, to attend the second I would recommend it.

Another point is that at the panel I saw C.E. Murphy, author of the Urban Shaman series. The Urban Shaman series (from Luna) features a protagonist that is part Native. So it was good to see the white author in the panel taking notes and nodding along. Now that I have proof she’s aware of what’s going on and might have done some research I might give the series a try.
So the time between this and the parties is a bit of a blur. I don’t exactly remember what I did or with who because I did so much all weekend. If you know what I did here please let me know. And no I wasn’t drunk…yet. Oh wait! There was swimming! Yes, Jackie & I headed to the pool at one point and were stared at very rudely by this mundane (as in not a Con goer) mother. Yes, we are two black people. That will not change the more you stare. After a bit we both stared back at her until she looked away. During the pool time there was talking to John and a host of other people whose names I’ve forgotten or never knew. It was great conversation about spirituality and tattoos.

The parties I stayed in the bound of this night were the Tor book party & Small Beer Press’ release party for Water Logic by Laurie J. Marks. The first two in the Logic series were published by Tor, so the two parties on the same floor on the same night made me giggle.

During the party a man (I can’t remember his name damn it!) came up to me and asked me about authenticity in writing cultures of Color. I told him that authenticity is, more often than not, a false idea because what is an “authentic” black/asian/female experience? I told him my view which is that if you create this culture, create it all the way. You have to know what this culture is about, their beliefs and practices, their traditions and expertise. It was to be more than a plot point. Even if you don’t include any of their culture in the story itself knowing all that about a culture means that when you write it’ll most likely come across as more real. That’s just my opinion though. Somewhere during this conversation another man joined us and had some great things to say. When I looked at his name tag I realized it was freakin’ Lawrence Schimel! As with Kate I interrupted the conversation to fanboy him a bit over his book, The Drag Queen of Elfland. That’s almost the only way I can deal with my fanboyishness with people in person, to let them know right off the bat and then try to move on.

Anyway I had to extract myself from the conversation a little before midnight, so I could head down to the General Reading Group 2. Rosalyn Wiggins Berne had mentioned she had a reading that night, in the Genre Tokenism panel. Since she hadn’t mentioned her name it caused me a bit of panic but it was the only official reading at midnight so I figured it was a safe bet. Rosalyn had talked in the earlier panel about being an academic for 30 years and just recently coming into F/SF. She talked about how great it was to see Women of Color in F/SF. I’m also about to support writers of Color so off I went. Okay anyway this is the last panel of the day for me, actually a reading but whatever.

General Readings 2 : Rosalyn Wiggins Berne, Eileen Gunn, Heidi Lampietti & Fred Schepartz.
Rosalyn read first, from a book that’s being shopped around right now. I thought she was amazing. It was this great section with a sex toy named Mammal, who has AI and looks more animal than man. Just a great piece and I wanted to read the whole book then and there. I got a chance to tell her all this later in the elevator.
Fred read next and I thought it was an interesting story about a vampire who loses all his wealth and becomes a cabbie in Madison, WI. I didn’t understand how it was a feminist novel though.
Heidi Lampietti read a story from her collection XY. The collection is about love and most of the stories end badly, from what she said, but she read us one with a happy ending. It was hilarious, about strolling and cross dressing and a guy named Bugsie. Also she did voices, which made my day. Ran into her later in the Con and told her how much I enjoyed her reading.
Eileen Gunn was last. I had heard Eileen read at Writers with Drinks not too long ago so I was expecting the funniness and it was there in spades. Eileen read the Kirk/Spock piece I had heard before “No Place To Raise Kids” (go read it!) and it was just as hilarious as it was at Writers with Drinks. Then she read a piece called “Up The Fireroad”(?) or something like that and it was hilarious as well. A story that switched POV’s halfway through when the lumberjack/talking bear/Sasquatch comes into the picture. Had me gasping for breath, seriously. I also got a chance to talk to Eileen later in the Con and tell her how much I loved her readings and how funny she was.

Then it was off to bed!

Next WisCon 31 Recalled 3/4: Is This Level Of Exhaustion Normal?