Saturday, 29 June 2013

Things I Am Angry About - June 2013

June 2013 has been quite a month, hasn't it? Truly, so many incidents have filled me with Righteous Feminist Rage®. Each time I've thought I should blog about the issue because making noise is the only way to cause change, but I've always been too angry to be coherent. By the time I've calmed down, so many people have said far more intelligent things than I ever could have, so I've left it.

But staying silent only adds to the problem.

Rather than try to say something intelligent myself, I thought I'd signal boost some fabulous posts that other people have already written.

Rage-making Incidents 1-5 - The SFWA Debacle

For those who aren't aware, a series of articles appeared in the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America Bulletin (their professional publication) talking about:

  1. how hot the female editors in the 1960s were and how great they looked in bikinis 
  2. how women writers should be like Barbie (the doll) because she "maintained her quiet dignity the way a woman should"
  3. the "censorship" the poor men who wrote article 1 had been subjected to (i.e. people correctly calling them out for being sexist). This article was written as a long "back in the good old days"-type rant by the same people who had written that first article.

On top of all this, one of the Bulletins featured on its cover an illustration of Red Sonja in her chainmail bikini in the snow (Frank Frazetta-style artwork had its time, but that time is not now). Then to top it off, SFWA's most racist/misogynistic/general arsehole-ish member called uber-talented author N.K. Jemisin a black hysterical savage because she gave a keynote speech at a con encouraging inclusiveness in the SFF community and calling for reconciliation. While a lot of this started before June, it all boiled to a head in the early and middle parts of this month.

I hope you don't need me to point out why I got so angry about all this stuff. If you'd like to read more, my friend and fellow SpecFicNZ member Amanda wrote some great summary posts:

Some other great links:

This week in SF by Ann Aguirre
After reading this post, I ordered Grimspace by Ann Aguirre, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

Old men yelling at clouds: SFWA sexism by Foz Meadows

Rage-making Incident 6 - The Wendy Davis Filibuster

In particular, how the Republicans responded to it, and how they tried to illegally pass a vote after midnight. Also, how mainstream media within the States gave the end of the filibuster almost zero coverage at the time, and a lot of the coverage they did give it seemed to focus on how Wendy Davis wore pink tennis shoes while filibustering. I'm not even going to bother linking to information about this, because it is all over the internet right now.

Rage-making Incident 7 - Reporting Sexual Harrassment

This morning, my Twitter feed lit up with the news of author Elise Matthesen laying a formal complaint about a senior Tor editor who sexually harassed her. The rage-making part of the Incident is that this editor has been harassing people for years, and people have tried to complain about it before, and yet somehow he hasn't yet suffered any consequences that anyone can tell. People who worked with him at Tor seemed unaware, although naturally they are not in a position to comment about it at the moment (as Tor is going through a legal process).

The article by Elise has been posted to several high-profile authors' blogs:

Cherie Priest also wrote a great blog post in response to this issue.

In this case, do read the comments. A lot of interesting, intelligent things are being said in the comments of all those posts, and all the authors are actively monitoring what's going on in those comments one way or another.

So, yes, June: you brought us a lot of shit, but also a lot of positive reaction. July, I hope you build on the positive aspects more than the negative ones.

Current progress on Symmetry Breaking:

Revision on hold

Current progress on Reality Shifting:

Currently Reading

Grimspace by Ann Aguirre

Friday, 21 June 2013

In Which I Make a Wiki

This morning for a couple of hours we had Winter Solstice snow in Christchurch. It was oh so exciting, but it did not stick around for long. Alas, the cold did linger, as it tends to do. Well, at least from this point on the days will be getting longer, not shorter.

Mid-winter and mid-summer are the times when it suddenly strikes me that I live in a different hemisphere than most people who speak my language. While those of us who live in NZ have been experiencing an Antarctic blast, Twitter keeps bringing me little snippets of people enjoying this mythical "summer" thing: mentions of barbeques, trips to the beach, ice-cold drinks, etc. It's funny how in the middle of winter, summer feels illusionary, and vice versa. Or maybe that's just me?

Writing Update

I've been pushing on with my novel Reality Shifting (see word count below). I've had to put the revisions of Symmetry Breaking on hold due to burnout, but I hope to get back to that soon.

When I've needed a break from writing, I've been brainstorming for another story I want to work on later in the year. It is a sci fi story that I think will be serialised rather than a novel, as the story is coming to me in discrete chunks. A complex world underlies the story, so I have started putting together a wiki for the series in Evernote. There are three great things about making the wiki in Evernote:

  • It is easy to put together and edit across all my devices (with the small exception that the links between pages have to be inserted via the desktop app)
  • I can share it with whoever I want, and I can even make the wiki notebook public (i.e. it could be a bonus for readers in the future)
  • I already have Evernote and know how to use it (whereas if I downloaded a wiki-specific program, I would then have to teach myself how to use the thing).

All in all, this is an excellent idea and I can't believe I haven't thought of it before. 

A Random Picture

Because I feel like it, here is a random photograph taken by me.

At Ginkakuji (The Silver Pavilion), Kyoto

I've been thinking about Kyoto a lot, for a few reasons. One is that I am reading a book set in Kyoto nearly 1000 years ago (Yamada Monogatari: Demon Hunter). The other is that I have been doing some research into Heian Period Japan because of another story idea I have. 
I have lots of ideas.

Current progress on Symmetry Breaking:

Revision on a brief hiatus

Current progress on Reality Shifting:

Currently Reading

Yamada Monogatari: Demon Hunter by Richard Parks