A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘popular literature

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO notes a house on downtown Toronto’s Jersey Avenue, a near-laneway, that is on the market at nearly eight hundred thousand dollars.
  • Centauri Dreams warns that with the passage of Dawn and New Horizons and Cassini, an era of unmanned space exploration will come to an end.
  • Crooked Timber’s Belle Waring considers Western/Asian cultural differences on gender.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to one paper seeking to detect exoplanet rotation rates and other data via eclipses, and links to another noting the discovery of N2H in a ring around TW Hydrae.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports on the results of a genetic analysis of the dwarf mammoths of Wrangel Island.
  • A Fistful of Euros looks at how the Second World War started Ireland’s break from the Sterling zone.
  • The Frailest Thing considers the good of tech criticism.
  • Joe. My. God. celebrates a decade of same-sex marriage in Spain.
  • Language Hat looks at how promoters of a literature or a work can get things they champion translate.
  • The Planetary Society Blog has two posts celebrating its role in the New Horizons probe.
  • Towleroad notes that YouTube star Shane Dawson has just come out as bisexual.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at an incipient Cossack separatism.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • The Big Picture shares photos from post-referendum Greece.
  • blogTO looks at a recent live-tweeting of a bad date.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the recovery of New Horizons.
  • The Dragons’ Gaze notes a new estimate for terrestrial exoplanets suggesting that every Sun-like star should at least have one.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper suggesting that salt in the waters of Uranus and Neptune plays a critical role in determining their internal structure.
  • Geocurrents looks at Dhofar.
  • Language Hat notes that Stalin was quite multilingual.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the way the language used by women is policed.
  • The Map Room’s Jonathan Crowe links to an interview with fantasy map designer Robert Lazzaretti.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw reflects on Australia’s experience in the Great Depression, noting that it was a time when states were powerful.
  • pollotenchegg notes post-Second World War fertility in Ukraine.
  • Savage Minds has a roundup of links to various anthropology and social sciences blogs.
  • Speed River Journal’s Van Waffle shares photos from St. Jacob’s Farmers market.
  • Torontoist looks at a BDSM sex dungeon.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that Iceland has repealed its blasphemy law in direct reaction to the Charlie Hebdo murders.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at Russia’s historical singularity and recent evolution.

[WRITING] Andrew Wheeler at Comics Alliance on gay characters in fiction

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At Comics Alliance, Andrew Wheeler writes about how it is never accidental if a particular writer in a particular medium does not feature LGBT characters, that choices are always made at some level.

Organic, meaningful and natural. That’s the familiar language of the writer looking for an excuse not to introduce diversity to his (or her; usually his) work. It’s the magical view of storytelling as a gift from the muses, except these muses are a vegetable delivery service, and if they didn’t bring any gay characters in the delivery box, you can’t use any gay characters in your recipe. If the gods of literature did not inspire you with gay characters, you cannot offend the gods and add some anyway.

In this way the writer can present his cowardice, laziness, and lack of imagination, as artistic integrity. “I couldn’t write gay characters; I didn’t have any.” Hand-to-forehead; the tortured auteur.

Yet writing is a sequence of decisions, and you can be sure that’s at least as true in Hollywood, or at a publisher like Marvel Comics, as it is anywhere else in storytelling. Writers build worlds, sometimes in advance and sometimes as they go, and if the writer decides that their world should have robots or dragons, you can be sure they’ll contrive ways to put the robots or dragons into key scenes in the story.

Gay characters aren’t like robots or dragons, because the world the writer is building already has same-sex relationships. I’m sorry if that seems prescriptive, but it’s true; people in same-sex relationships exist in all fictional worlds, because they are a natural, meaningful, and organic part of the real world. They are already there. Maybe they’re hiding behind the dragons, but they’re there.

Unless, that is, you choose to exclude them.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 7, 2015 at 6:28 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Centauri Dreams reports on a theory suggesting the distant dwarf planet Sedna and its kin were captured from another star in the sun’s birth cluster.
  • Crooked Timber reports on a Dutch court ruling arguing that the Netherlands is legally obliged to reduce carbon dioxide output.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that hot Neptune Gliese 436b has a comet-like tail.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that DARPA is working on Martian terraforming bugs.
  • Far Outliers looks at Comanche inroads on bison herds in the 19th century.
  • Geocurrents maps the recent Turkish elections, looking for patterns.
  • Marginal Revolution argues that the campaign against the Confederate flag couldn’t work if the two American political parties were competing for rural white votes.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog shares an Economist ranking of the top tne economies in 2050, Indonesia ranking notably higher.
  • Torontoist notes a local publication of nerd fangirls.
  • Window on Eurasia argues that the Russian Orthodox Church’s ongoing losses in Ukraine will marginalize it internationally.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Gerry Canavan shares his collection of links.
  • Centauri Dreams reacts to the discovery of a polar cap at Charon.
  • Language Log considers rhoticity and class in New York City.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money examines Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell from a productive intellectual property perspective.
  • Marginal Revolution wonders if Wikipedia will survive the displacement of the personal computers used by contributors by mobiles.
  • Steve Munro looks at the latest on the Yonge relief line.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer compares Greece to the Baltic States and Slovakia, and notes the depth of the Greek collapse.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla shares the latest from New Horizons
  • .

  • The Russian Demographics Blog reports on censuses in British India.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the intense anti-Americanism of Russia.

[LINK] “‘Je Suis Favela’ – Bringing Brazilian Books to the French”

At the Inter Press Service, A.D. Mackenzie has a fascinating article describing the workings of Éditions Anacaona, a French publishing house specializing in the publication of Brazilian works of literature from the favelas.

Educated as a translator of technical texts, Paris-born [Paula] Anacaona, 37, became a literary translator and publisher by chance. On holiday in Rio de Janeiro in 2003, she happened to start chatting with a woman who revealed she was a writer and who promised to send her a book.

Back in Paris, Anacaona received the book two months later and “loved it”, as she told IPS in an interview. She translated the work, written by Heloneida Studart and later called Le Cantique de Meméia, and managed to get a Canadian company to publish it.

Studart, who died in 2007, was also an essayist, journalist and women’s rights activist, and the book caught the attention of French-speaking readers in several countries.

Other writers got in touch, and Anacaona found herself becoming a literary translator. But by sending out the works to publishing companies, she was also taking on the role of agent, a time-consuming task.

“With all that was involved, I thought why not publish the books myself?” she recalls. She set up Éditions Anacaona in 2009 and decided to focus initially on literature from and about the ghetto or favela in Brazil, because “no one else was doing it.”

Written by Randy McDonald

June 18, 2015 at 11:00 pm

[LINK] “Write back (not) in anger (#SFWApro)”, or, a badly-informed Sad Puppy writer at work

I’ve been particularly fond of David Mack, a novelist most known for his works in the Star Trek extended universe, since his excellent Destiny trilogy from 2008. (Making the Borg not only compelling antagonists, but dealing with them in a manner suiting the Trek ethos, can be a challenge.) Last August, when a reader of his complained about a lesbian relationship he introduced in the Vanguard novel series, between the Vulcan T’Prynn and the Klingon spy Lurqal, his wholehearted defense of diversity made it to io9.

We shouldn’t be surprised, then, that Mack was criticized in this–in introducing the relationship, in defensing the relationship–by one Amanda S. Green, a fan writer on the Puppies slate at the Hugos. Mack looks at her attempted critique over at his blog, and reveals much that is lacking. She literally did not know what she was talking about, even choosing not to actually read the books wherein the backstory Green claimed that did not exist was developed at length. This, Mack concludes at the end, has obvious implications.

My novel provides exactly that great backstory she claims is necessary to sell such a story arc. But she doesn’t know that, because she didn’t read the book she was in such a hurry to write off as a violation of canon — all so she could score some cheap rhetorical points against an “SJW” author.

I wish to reiterate that a perusal of her rather limited bibliography suggests she has never written or edited professional media tie-in fiction. Consequently, she might be unaware that not only must tie-in story outlines and manuscripts be vetted and approved by their editors, they must also pass muster with the licensor who controls the copyright on the intellectual property. If my work for Star Trek had been deemed by its licensor to be in conflict with canon, it would not have been approved for publication.

Now, all this might seem to some folks like a lot of noise for very little signal. But I think it’s important to remember that as a nominee in the Best Fan Writer category, Ms. Green was offered the opportunity to submit self-selected examples of her work for the Hugo Voter Packet, to demonstrate which of her writings from 2014 show her to be worthy of taking home a Hugo award. That she chose to include the post I dissected above — an unresearched, factually deficient essay in which she lacks the basic courtesy even to name me as the author of the piece she tries (and fails) to deconstruct, never mind link to it so that readers can review the original materials and arrive at informed conclusions with regard to her arguments — speaks volumes.

Should anyone be surprised at this stage by the Puppies’ unwitting foolishness?

Written by Randy McDonald

June 3, 2015 at 3:55 am

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