theres this particular like, i don’t know. tone? aesthetic? syntax, even? to a very particular subset of not-bad-just-mediocre sf stories, that i don’t even know how to describe. lots of Capital Nouns tho that’s for sure. the particular way in which infodumps occur or how the Science Things get explained.
general awkwardness around describing people doing things like, going back to brad torgensen’s “the exchange officers” ——“I detected a grin on her face, based just on the sound of her words as she spoke them.” Technically, there’s nothing wrong with that sentence — it gives us a sense of how well the characters here know each other, that they joke around w/ each other a lot even during like missions or whatever, something about the woman who just spoke.but it’s one of those logistical things where i can hear this teacher i had almost a decade ago being Quite Terse about writers describing the looks on their own faces when they couldn’t know the looks on their own faces. which, this isn’t exactly the same but i think there’s a similarity. here, the author doesn’t know how else to communicate what that sentence communicates without being sort of ham handed. if he wanted to indicate familiarity, rapport, etc he could have done that thru the words they say to each other and like, what the character narrating is doing, right? or even just said “she chuckled” or “she laughed” and still that would lack any sort of style, you know?
i don’t know, it just that sort of sentence reminds me so much of when i started writing fanfic and i was trying to figure out what the hell yr supposed to do between the dialogue bits. where is everyone’s hands, you know? this is such a tiny thing. that sentence just, stood out to me is all, as a good example of a general problem. im generalizing so much. general. gen. eral.
like, grim Enjoy. settle down w/ some popcorn as you sort thru bad fanfic Enjoy. or earnest Enjoyment.
i think the problem isn’t — just from scanning like. the first few paragraphs of torgensen’s — the problem isn’t nesc. that he’s a Terrible Writer, that any of these dudes are Super Terrible Writers. i mentioned this when i was skimming thru the beginning of the grimnoir chronicles book — like, it’s not bad really just. boring. they’re mediocre and there are these people publishing fucking brilliant shit so of course they’re not going to get recognition.
yes, this same story might’ve won a hugo in like. the seventies or something maybe MAYBE but only thru the strength of there being less stories in the potential nomination pool, if that makes sense? like, torgensen’s was published in analog, but a lot of the stuff on the short works side of the ballot (like, MOST of it) is published online & thru magazines that wouldn’t have been possible in the seventies.
w/ online mags, something can be homebrewed and have a way bigger audience than a home brew in the seventies would have (since you’d have to copy it out and mail it on a printer yourself, ‘zine-like). more space to play means more magazines, lower cost means more magazines, people who really want to can rustle up funds to pay authors who they believe in, can afford to experiment with fiction, can publish stories that might not cater to the audience the analogs/asimovs/et ceteras might think they have/had in the past. idk i hope im making sense and not just rambling. my point is that it’s not a matter of like, the general quality of writing increasing over the years Ah Yes Now SF Has Aged Like Fine Wine And Is Good Writing Now, its that there’s greater parity and a better chance for writers all over the world to read each other, so its in some ways easier for the Good Shit to rise to the top, and for Good Shit that might have previously never been read by a hugo-votin’ audience to be available to them.
like, aliette de bodard lives in france — if online submissions weren’t a thing, would a french writer mail shit to mags in the us/uk? like, okay, yes hypothetically they might, but that shit’s expensive, there’s post office trips and trying to figure out how few pages you can squeeze the story onto, a lot of time & money invested in the off chance someone might buy your story. shit man like, forget internationally tho just its way easier to submit stories now and even something as small as that can change the field. (like it also means that theres more Shit you gotta sort thru but shrug same as it ever was etc).
ANYWAY THE LONG & SHORT OF IT IS —- these writers are less terrible and more just. mediocre. not great. just, not stand-out in any way, and i’m unsurprised re: torgensen as of now as i’m generally not v impressed w/ analog’s output in general. tho. uh. i still. as of finishing this longass post, have not read more than the opening bit.
thank you sweet Lord for the gift of fast reading. going thru the novelettes, from the beginning parts chiang’s doesnt seem to be? on par? w/ his usual stuff??? that could just be me, or it could just be the beginning which im a little you know ah yes. the internet. in our brains. etc about.
wanted to skip around and get at least a feel for de bodard’s/kowal’s/chiang’s works and de bodard’s is you know just fuckin. she can write.
the lady astronaut of mars is predicated on a wizard of oz Joak thing so im like hMMmmmmmmbbb because growing up in kansas gives you some knee jerk eye roll reactions to those . but its about a Cool Old Lady Astronaut. Who went to Mars. (!!!)
im going to read torgenson’s and day’s later, not even considering them on principle (vox day is a pos and torgenson supports him) but will see if they are Hilariously Bad or just mediocre.
im probs one of the few ppl who is. really into the fan writer category. anyway im reading one of the things foz meadows put in for the hugo voter packet and it is a direct response to That SFWA Article (it was written about when That Article came out) and its fantastic. i am like, i feel a Kindred Spirit. I Feel This Article. i feel this writing style. i am One with it.
it also has a quote that i think sums up better what i like, get frustrated about re ~~yr censoring us~~~~ bs
And here it is: while I can’t speak for everyone (see above re: women have no hivemind), I can say that, personally, I feel incredibly frustrated whenever the word ‘censorship’ is trotted out in these debates, not only because it has very grave and serious connotations that tend to obscure the issue at hand, but because it doesn’t accurately represent the desired outcome. If your actions stem from a problematic perception of women, forbidding those actions without altering your perception would achieve nothing. What we want isn’t for you to sit there, believing exactly as you do now but growing increasingly angry and resentful at being unable to express yourself: we want you to actually see us differently, such that you no longer view your past behaviour as acceptable, and subsequently never do it again.
It’s not censorship we want. It’s a change in your perceptions. Not self-censorship, which implies your original attitudes are simply repressed and waiting to bubble over: actual change, so that when you hear women say ‘please don’t depict us in chainmail bikinis, it’s demeaning and awful and contributes to terrible stereotypes that still demonstrably affect our treatment within SFF communities’, you respond with sympathy and respect.
I’d say it’s not bad to vote for things for whatever reason you have.
like, i havent had time to read ancillary justice, but i am so all over the concept of it?? and ive liked other stuff ann leckie has written, and also like, i really want to increase the # of ballots that don’t vote for certain other things as much as poss to give decent shit a better shot. if that makes sense. like, i want to decrease the overall percentage of ballots that ranked vox day in their shit at all.
also i have to continue my anti-doctor who streak, because i am a Child. (but actually because i dislike moffat’s run for super valid reasons as well as the super petty ones, and would like to vote more for stuff that like, encourages innovation & new stuff & etc)
lol @ the review thing. like. andre norton not only published with an ambiguous pseudonym but also neatly split her work between Boy SF (spaceships, interstellar trade, outlaws, soldiers riding dinosaurs) and Girl SF (witches, priestesses, castles, clarke's third law) like she's literally a case study in SF's issues all by herself.
yep yeah yep yes. and so is (natch„„, ) tiptree, bc of the split b/t when ppl thought she was a man and afterwards (which is proof btdubs that editors DO pay attention to gender of the author, cause like, silverberg used to pub her all the time and then after 76/77 NOPE).
or like c.l. moore, who reviewers in there namedrop too, who co-wrote shit w/ her husband too (so like, where stories written by henry kuttner end and c.l. moore’s begin is hard to define?) and they joint published some under a male pseudonym and her pen name is also ambiguous.
gdi my sister and her boyfriend moved all the stuff that was in the car of mine still from when me and dad moved everything out of my apt while i was at work and i started crying bc they put all my clothes on the kitchen table and i was just so overwhelmed, i started crying like, hysterically, in front of the boyfriend i feel so bad he didn’t ask for this . i mean i apologized and stuff. and when we pulled up and i saw it was in the garage i swore and mom got mad at me for that and i think she’s mad at me now for being so Emotional or whatever im just like, i left stuff in the car and now its in the garage did anything get fucked up bc of that? did i ruin things w/ the heat? w/ bugs and shit? what did i ruin, what did i break, im lazy for leaving those things there. jordan has to take one of my bookshelves to lawrence bc she’s moving apts and i dont know. shes too cheap to get her own? so im out a bookshelf tho it was the one i found by the dumpster and its a small one but thats still like Upsetting to me but it seems so unreasonable to say no, u cant have that. im just, mad at myself bc i know i upset everyone and im tired and i have to go back to work tonight and this has just derailed me and i dont want to do anything w anything the end sorry.
i totally fucking forgot he runs tangent online, which does mag reviews oh my God this is good enough that i am forgetting how much i dont want to go to work.
#for those w/o long and bitter memories, truesdale is the one who made a petition aimed at SFWA criticizing them for implementing policies re: not saying gross and weird shit about women in the field in their professional publication(s) and made a stink about ~~censorship~~~~~~~~~~~
==this got long im putting it under a cut spoilers the things that truesdale and all the male reviewers say frustrate me the end===
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love you drink water take care of yourself dont mix pills and alcohol
love you too, okay i will and ok i will try and you do the same i keep wanting to tell you to go to sleep v sternly but its like. the middle of the afternoon where you are, i would not do said thing booze would just give me a headache anyway and im not in the Mood for hot headache action.
i looked at classes for this semester. theres a 500 lvl shakespeare class but its at 930 in lawrence and i want it desperately (“life and the theater,” hamlet/as you like it/taming i think and? timon of athens?) but i know i shouldnt go for it.
theres a 500 or 400 lvl class on graphic novels, but i looked at the texts for the class and i just do not fucking thing im like, mentally/physically/emotionally prepared to roll my eyes that much when the class turned to watchmen.
my head feels ungood and cotton-y. i am still wearing my work clothes. i finished moving out of the place i lived in for two sort of significant years a few hours ago. i have work all day tomorrow and i know i should be focusing on figuring out how to get to sleep, but i just want to eat/drink the right combination of foods/liquids/drugs to get my head not ungood. i think ive earned that. i think ive earned that.
i have to go to lawrence and finish moving in like. idk, as soon as my dad gets home, which could be any minute now or an hr from now. i really dont want to and ive been a trash baby for like the past day and a half. i overslept (but only by like twenty minutes) and was late for work and it was the first time i met the new manager and i was late. im just now drinking my first cup of coffee. when i got home i had to get fake fbi ransomware off of jordan’s computer because she was freaking out cause she thought she was going to be arrested and her boyfriend, whos a programmer, is probably never going to let her live it down.
im going to be Difficult and just. shitty the whole time we’re in lawrence and i just feel so bad bc i hate doing that to my dad. i hate that its going to take us longer than it should or than he’ll want and im an Inconvenience and a nuisance and its too much to expect from him. he’s like, “let me worry about that” and im just like, but dad. i am . so good at worry.
someone pls give me a pep talk or something. i cant believe that i am stuck in IT support hell forever no matter what, and i cant deal w/ how !!! im gonna be while moving stuff.
im really sorry everyone. i know i have like. bad thoughts. about the gay things. these things vex me in the way that the library of congress call number system does. persistently, on a low level, in uninteresting and trivial ways that bore and irritate friends and strangers alike.
i hate that view tbh it’s so… essentialist. no one who has ever been involved with a person could come to identify with being involved with a different kind of person. You Are One Thing, Have Always Been That Thing, Will Always Be That Thing
yeah. like. while im v v much the same person i was when i was sixteen, eighteen, twenty — i’m also a very very very different person, who’s attracted to different people than i was six or four years ago, to different qualities, in different ways. i am large i contain multitudes blah blah etc.
i guess i wish instead of focusing on rehabilitating bisexual-as-a-word, which is a thing i think some ppl do? allow me to be vague some more?, there was a focus on creating a better vocabulary. one that, like jinah pointed out bi/pan sort of is, is less terribly clinical, and one that doesn’t cast gender and sexuality as constants in a person’s life. which is, i guess, why queer is so useful and also i just like it.
i thought i saw a bug crawling on my blanket but im not sure. does that happen to anyone else. where they’re like, ok i totally saw said insect. but now its two seconds later and ive flailed a little and now i see no insect, i have moved things and vigorously shaken all of my clothing and turned my computer about and yet no insect — was the insect ever there?? where is it hiding in my bed???? is it on me right now
im such a huge baby about bugs. i had to kill spiders by myself when i was at my apt (which they were like, big spiders, and i know i shouldnt kill spiders but they were really big and im a baby and i cant deal) and this would involve a lot of crying and throwing things at the wall and calling people at like two in the morning so i could cry about spiders (sorry odessa). i already made my dad get rid of a house spider for me this morning.
I dont like them either I just think they sound clinical and ugly and I hate how definitive they are…..thats why I like queer
yeah. yeah. yeah. yeah. like, bi/pansexual is just a riff off of homosexual, which defs is clinical in nature. queer is my fave, queer is the best. or supergay. “whats yr sexuality?” “supergay. like, ultra gay. like u know when the power rangers like, combine their powers and have an ultimate form or whatever which i think is a thing that happens, thats it.”
i really dislike ‘bisexual’ and it doesn’t feel like something that includes or applies to me at all. possibly also because the concept of knowing the gender of everyone i’m attracted to also seems a bit unlikely
yes, yes also. like, w/r/t the response some ppl have re: the critique that bisexual is sort of limiting in that it implies attraction to just like, binary men/women i think ive seen some stuff being like, well it just means two genders, so it could be like, u like women & agender ppl or something. and im like, man, what even is a gender. (or i could be totally misremembering something.) it supposes that i’d kno like, my own gender all the time too, which is a thing that i have been Less Certain about lately. let alone the gender of everyone im ever attracted to.
idk. idk. idk. i feel so bad about disliking “bisexual” so much, because a lot of the like, use of it i see and shit is to highlight the fact that ppl ignore parts of fictional or historical ppls like, attraction to/relationships w/ multiple genders, and that like, being in a relationship w/ a person w/ one gender doesn’t invalidate all the relationships youve had w/ people of another gender which is all Good Stuff just. bisexual. pansexual. nnnnn
hamlet au where everything is exactly the same only ophelia finds a cute girlfriend who treats her right and they grow a garden together and bring each other little bouquets all the time and laertes is completely supportive bc he is so overjoyed to see ophelia finally being treated right and being happy and in a healthy relationship and he helps polonius get used to the idea too and he makes up with hamlet and they become friends again and hamlet gets with horatio and gertrude is 100% supportive because horatio has integrity and a kind soul and also king hamlet never died and is like “well ok whatever makes u happy son” and nobody says anything about heirs or needing a queen or anything EVERYONE IS SUPPORTIVE AND HAPPY and ophelia and her gf go on double dates with hamlet and horatio and sometimes laertes tags along too becuase i refuse to leave him out and nobody dies ever and also claudius and fortinbras do not actually exist
and also im going to have to hide my tiny Gay Shit collection in a . box or something. a corner. at least unless i get a lock on the door im keeping the shit in (like, its like a small room in our basement we use for storage). i really want to read odd girls & twilight lovers but i cannot leave that, and odd girl out, and like, transgender history and allison bechdel out where my mom can see it hashtag sadstuck
i have this ridiculous urge to go beyond even the categorization i usually do when shelving my books (alpha by genre/type, so lit/ya lit/sf/shakespeare/drama/poetry/philosophy/religion/science/arts/books about books/lang instruction books/E T C) and do like, super specific categories. women’s fiction about women (the brontes, chopin, gilman,etc), gothic & southern gothic-esque stuff (o connor, hawthorne, jackson), science fiction crit (i actually own a surprisingly little amount) (that shit is expensive),book history, divying some other stuff by country, etc.
i already put my books on classical stuff into secondary sources/textbooks, primary sources and histories written by classical authors (plutarch, herodotus, etc), and drama/verse written by classical authors/commentary on those (since i have like. four books on oedipus).
this is bad and ridiculous. i probably should not sort things like this. i already had a separate corner for Stuff Bout Russia tho i could integrate the language shit into that better, shit. this is overly specific.
i even had an Ethical Qualm when i was like, “yes sort out women writing about women” because thats a thing done a lot of times to dismiss books like the awakening or whatever, but then i was like, pls meagan you know you’re doing this to privilege these books, and so you can like, shove all the hemmingway and whatever in a shit corner for shit things u dont need.
i feel bad that im often so much better at reading books via audio than reading reading books. its just novels, man. its easier to get thru novels i might not otherwise via audio.
whatever whatever my shoggoth is exactly the same he always pirates audiobooks and then buys hardcopies of the paper book so he can enthusiastically lend it to ppl. it’s cute and it’s gotten me into books via random tracks of them coming up in itunes shuffle :P
Totally need to get more audiobooks. No shame in getting through more books that way than by reading reading them.
Heck, without text to speech, I literally would not be able to get through most of the internet
man, i totally shoulda — and will now — clarify just in case it seems like im dissing, like, the medium, that my ~audiobook shame~~~~ has to do w/ hangups about my own intelligence v. how ppl perceive me v. how Good Im Supposed To Be At Literature Stuff v. gestures broadly comparing myself against ppl i know. thing. not a “smh kids these days reblog if u remember paper books.”
audiobooks are super fucking awesome, and everyone should — if presented w/ the time & opportunity & funds — check them out. it is great. it is like, wow i am doing the laundry, but i would like to be reading —insert novel i do not have time to read — WHAT IF U COULD DO BOTH. and it is super great for me — and poss also other ppl like me???? w/ really short attention spans who have to be doing more than one thing at once? i am glad that audiobooks are gr8 for you, i am glad that they are gr8 for me, they are gr9 in general.
Hi! I've been reading your blog for a while, and I was wondering, what are your favorite sci-fi/fantasy novels with lesbian/bi/queer female main characters? Thanks!
Hi! I keep a list of recommended reads (books I’ve enjoyed with lesbian/bi/queer female main characters) right here. That list contains all genres though, so if you’re looking only for scifi/fantasy, here are some of my faves:
Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey — urban fantasy/postapocalyptic scifi-ish, a real page-turner with a kick-ass main character who trains to be a boxer (I love training montages) and, of course, to save the world (adult)
Alcestis by Katharine Beutner — a literary retelling of the Greek myth of Alcestis (who is bi in this version); really beautiful writing and wonderful world-building details (adult)
Tripping to Somewhere by Kristopher Reisz — an urban fantasy novel about two girls following the Witches Carnival; very Holly Black-esque in tone (young adult)
Daughters of the North by Sarah Hall — futuristic dystopian about a community of women in rural England; a feminist utopia in gritty, realistic terms (adult)
yeah that’s my main problem with audiobooks I ALWAYS get distracted by Though Paths while reading and if I don’t remember to pause… I’m just like “shit i tuned out what’s happening”
which DOES happen to me occasionally but im really used to listening to narrative things while i do other things because i get so so so so so so bored doing anything (cooking, dishes, laundry, cleaning, walking anywhere, grocery shopping, clothes shopping, at a bookstore even, playing non-narrative sorts of games) if i dont have some sort of story going on in the background, or podcast or something, so mostly ive learned how to pay attention and do another thing i want to do at the same time. i mean. mostly. either it doesn’t happen v often or im used to tuning out v v often and can like, catch myself? when it happens? and Re Engage. or im good at, picking up where i left off sort of. doing w/o the bits i missed.
sometimes i’ll listen to books when im in bed like lights out, which is a thing you only ever try a few times before you realize you nod in and out too much. i have a much bigger problem of being like, in public somewhere, when the Awkward Sex Bits occur (ask me about grocery shopping and im listening to fingersmith and it gets to the more explicit Sex Bits and im like shit. shit. turn this volume down. turn this volume all the way down except not really because im Invested In The Story ive been listening for like three hrs straight now) (and so i was like, ok next waters book im going to read instead of listen to) (and then i get to the awkward sex bits while reading on the bus instead)
the whole part w/ that one shot, the Important One, where it took me a second to realize what the narrator was saying and then i was like, oh shit, and then Control starting and staring and thinking that the vid wasn’t taken at dusk, but instead, that something else was blotting out the sun and i was just like oOOOOOOOOooooooooohhhhh .
that section sort of reminded me of the Good Bits of House of Leaves, the bits most people can agree aren’t total trash, even if they are not trash-lovin monsters like me, the descriptions of the videos taken in the House and the way the narration glides over the climax of the terror, as if it assumes we are already intimately acquainted with what happened.
because like, we know that only Lowry returns from the first expedition, but its the way it goes from here to there, without really dwelling on the part where the dwindling of numbers occurs, that heightens suspense. the double-act of trying to instill dread via your audience knowing what exactly is about to happen (dramatic irony, blah blah, insert stuff about the theban plays and shakespeare’s histories and other stuff etc) and via your audience being in the dark as to what the shape & image of the danger is. which is a thing i think HoL does p well (mea culpa etc), and which i think vandermeer is pulling off p well here too.
it’s like the horror version of listening to a lecture where the professor assumes that everyone’s read the exact same obscure texts he has, or being in a conversation with some friends who are all discussing mutual friends who you don’t know. you’re out of the loop, you only have half the story and the half you have has had all the juicy bits extracted from it, but that makes the like, fuckin, THRILL of getting to the juicy bits (once you do, out of order — thru devices like vandermeer showing us snapshots of the 1st expedition for the 1st time via control or thru danielewski’s achronological plot and narration-swapping) that much better. we, the Reader, don’t know a LOT of what i think control might know (that he might not think to bring up in his narration — if that makes sense?? “control, who had been briefed on the full situation,” etc). and control, as the Reader Proxy in the story, is missing vital parts of the story himself, and piecing it together is where the horror comes from, even as it also comes from the danger control is in presently. the story itself as the monster in the dark.