In Search of the Happiness Max
mythosidhe:

Although I have to point out that there was a piece of speculative science fiction called The Blazing World published by one Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1666, slightly predating Mary Shelley.

THANK YOU. *links to her article on The Blazing World and why it is awesome and also the first SF novel.*
Whilst we’re here. I’m currently in the process of recording The Blazing World as a podcast, because I think one of the problems is that a lot of people have read Frankenstein, but getting people to read an older work of long-form prose it harder work, because of perceived language barriers. I reckon if people could download bitesized chunks to listen to on their commute we might make more progress.
This is part of a wider project I’m planning to podcast the works of forgotten women writers. I am also planning to do the works of Aemilia Lanyer, first female poet to be published (in the English language, at least). You can listen to me read the most famous section of her best known work, ‘Eve’s Apology’ from Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum, here. It’s powerful, gutsy stuff, and it makes me angry that these women get forgotten.

mythosidhe:

Although I have to point out that there was a piece of speculative science fiction called The Blazing World published by one Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1666, slightly predating Mary Shelley.

THANK YOU. *links to her article on The Blazing World and why it is awesome and also the first SF novel.*

Whilst we’re here. I’m currently in the process of recording The Blazing World as a podcast, because I think one of the problems is that a lot of people have read Frankenstein, but getting people to read an older work of long-form prose it harder work, because of perceived language barriers. I reckon if people could download bitesized chunks to listen to on their commute we might make more progress.

This is part of a wider project I’m planning to podcast the works of forgotten women writers. I am also planning to do the works of Aemilia Lanyer, first female poet to be published (in the English language, at least). You can listen to me read the most famous section of her best known work, ‘Eve’s Apology’ from Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum, here. It’s powerful, gutsy stuff, and it makes me angry that these women get forgotten.

realrobinhobb:

amandaonwriting:

Happy Birthday, Robin Hobb, born 5 March 1952

'You will never have any more free time than you do right now. So, whether you are 12 or 70, you should sit down today and start being a writer if that is what you want to do. You might have to write on a notebook while your kids are playing on the swings or write in your car on your coffee break. That’s okay. I think we’ve all ‘been there, done that.’ It all starts with the writing.'

Seven Quotes On Writing

Thank you for the birthday wishes! :) 

You are cordially invited to my birthday party :)

Have a lovely day! :)

My favourite author, Robin Hobb, is now on Tumblr. Also? It’s her birthday! And she put together an awesome game with prizes in the Hobbitonian spirit.

You should all follow her. And read her books. Especially the Farseer Trilogy.

Also her works under Megan Lindholm. Alien Earth is still my favourite science fiction novel. Also, if you really want to get your feminist rage on, you can’t go wrong with Cloven Hooves.

Do it. It is the right choice.

Everyone stop what you’re doing and read Emma Newman’s post on the need for Top-Down change, ESPECIALLY if you’re a person with any power in the publishing and book-selling industry, o know someone who with power.

thelilnan:

burlyburr:

Um…UM…

Hannibal season 2


OMG, Tumblr, I love you. You send me the best things.

thelilnan:

burlyburr:

Um…UM…

Hannibal season 2

OMG, Tumblr, I love you. You send me the best things.

genre swap → game of thrones as a sci-fi saga

GENRE SWAP - OMG.

tigerkitty:

fozmeadows:

In which some sexist douchenozzle on Twitter goes from zero to enraged misogyny in literally one tweet. 

Well, Kate’s had a dozen brilliant epic fantasy novels published on both sides of the Atlantic over the last decade, so I’d say it’s working out pretty well, thanks.

This ‘humourless’ thing: we can actually be pretty hilarious. My ‘lol’ and ‘silliness’ tags are full of the kind of humour you can have whilst not being an arse. And they’re actually much funnier than sexist/racist/homophobic/transphobic jokes, because they’re not inaccessible to great swathes of people, and they don’t hurt anyone.
If you can’t tell jokes without being sexist, you’re the one who’s pretty humourless, mate.

tigerkitty:

fozmeadows:

In which some sexist douchenozzle on Twitter goes from zero to enraged misogyny in literally one tweet

Well, Kate’s had a dozen brilliant epic fantasy novels published on both sides of the Atlantic over the last decade, so I’d say it’s working out pretty well, thanks.

This ‘humourless’ thing: we can actually be pretty hilarious. My ‘lol’ and ‘silliness’ tags are full of the kind of humour you can have whilst not being an arse. And they’re actually much funnier than sexist/racist/homophobic/transphobic jokes, because they’re not inaccessible to great swathes of people, and they don’t hurt anyone.

If you can’t tell jokes without being sexist, you’re the one who’s pretty humourless, mate.

The Guardian’s top SF&F books

:jessicameats:

The Guardian have put out a list of the top 1000 books and Worlds Without End have listed the sci-fi and fantasy ones here: https://www.worldswithoutend.com/lists_guardian_sff.asp

There are 149 books on this list. I’ve read 20 1/2 of them. The 1/2 is Frankenstein, which I found tedious and couldn’t get through.

I’m not sure about the list. There are some I’ve thoroughly enjoyed (Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for example), some I thought were cleverly done (A Clockwork Orange), some that are my old favourites (Dune), and some that I didn’t enjoy at all (Brave New World).

The Colour of Magic is on the list. I am a Terry Pratchett fan, but I think the Colour of Magic is the weakest of all the books of his that I’ve read. Similarly, there are two John Wyndham books on the list (one of which I didn’t really like) but not my favourite of his - The Chrysalids.

As a sci-fi author, I fell I ought to have read more of this list than I have, but given my feelings about the ones I have read on it, I’m not sure where to start. So I throw the question out of the internet: which of these books would you recommend reading and why?

I’m with you on Hitch-Hiker’s, The Colour of Magic, The Midwich Cuckoos, and The Chrysalids (my very fave JW), so I won’t go into them. I could never get into Dune or A Clockwork Orange. I like Frankenstein, but somehow never finished it. As for the other books:

The Handmaid’s Tale is a must. Chilling, gripping, easy to read, and a real cornerstone of culture. As a woman, a feminist, and as a human being I think everyone should read this. It’s a significant cultural item, and a warning that is, sadly, still relevant.

Fahrenheit 451: I have to confess to only having seen the film, but that was certainly worthy, compelling, moving. The message is simpler than The Handmaid’s Tale: 451 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature at which books burn. This is a dystopian society in which books are forbidden, and a few rebellious individuals seek to keep human literature alive. In some ways it’s less interesting, because the message is one anyone reading a book is probably already on board with, but it’s compelling and chilling and was written at a time for which book-burning on a massive scale as an attempt to obliterate swathes of culture from our group experience and memory was chillingly successful and still a present literal memory for many. It’s always worth remembering how fragile and precious our cultural resources are.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell: beautifully well-written, this is the kind of book you know is a classic from the moment you start reading. Again, there are some books that are just a part of our heritage, but there are also those that are a part of our heritage AND a delight to consume. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is one. I will say that it is a bit slow at first, the faux Victoriana is captivating, but not quickly paced. It picks up maybe a third of the way through, and then it holds you and doesn’t let go as it dives into darkness and madness.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep: I don’t know that I’d reread it, but it was certainly worth one go around. This is, of course, the story on which Blade Runner was based. I enjoyed it ore than Blade Runner, but I’m one of the few geeks who really doesn’t like that film - beautiful? Visually stunning? Yes, but I also find it slow, dull, bleak, and not particularly interesting from the point of view of androids. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, on the other hand, is lively, intriguing, and somewhat humourous. But much, much stranger, especially towards the end.

American Gods:This honestly would be nowhere near my top list of must reads. I don’t find it original or that inspiring. However, it is fun and engaging and other geeks tend to assume one has read it, so it’s a cultural item worth your while to acquire, but nothing more than that.

Flowers for Algernon: Heart-breaking. Just heart-breaking. If they didn’t make you read it at school, read it now. If you enjoy having your heart broken. Which I do. By fiction, anyway.

The Shining: It’s not Stephen King’s best work (but if I go into listing his works that are better than this I’ll be here all night); however, it’s well written and a classic. I enjoyed the book a lot more than the film, which I found bleak and predictable.

A Wizard of Earthsea: I didn’t like reading fiction until I read this book. Ursula Le Guin’s classic coming of age tale is a dark and gripping fantasy. Not dark in the way Stephen King is dark - more psychological… I dunno, that doesn’t capture it either. It’s like… some authors write fantasy, and you feel like they’re talking about the Deep Magic, you know? That’s what this is. Read it. And then read The Tombs of Atuan, too.

The Chronicles of Narnia:I’m gonna assume you’ve read this, but anyone who hasn’t should. This is a Must Have cultural item. Another Deep Magic one, you know? (Well, that’s where I get the phrase from.) Unfortunately, if you’re over the age of ten the religious metaphors are pretty obvious and heavy-handed. And the fact that Susan doesn’t get to go to heaven because she finds lipstick and boys is sheer complete bollocks. But The Last Battle kinda sucks balls anyway - it’s sort of unfair to group seven books in as one entry, TBH. I also suspect that A Horse and His Boy, which I loved as a kid, is probably pretty racist, but apart from that… I dunno, I still want to open my wardrobe one day and find Narnia on the other side.

Also, can we talk about the White Witch? So. Awesome. And I was always FASCINATED by her home world, Charn - the dead world circling a dying star. Don’t skip The Magician’s Nephew, there’s some real magic in there.

The Scar: This one’s good, but slow in teh beginning, and I wouldn’t read it if you haven’t already read Perdido Street Station, which is a much better, more interesting, and more engaging book.

The Time Traveler’s Wife: Expertly written, gripping, full of good angst. Not as skeevy as the title makes it sound, although, in the patriarchal tradition of things, it’s a book about the time traveler, not his wife.

1984: Must have cultural item. I don’t think it’s a book I ever need to read again, but I’m glad I did. I’m also disturbed that we practically live in 1984 now. Which is why it’s important that everybody read this.

The Hobbit: Fun, gripping, strangely also pretty dark. A dragon and a wizad and adventure and underground secrets and FREAKIN’ SCARY SPIDERS.

The Lord of the Rings: Very slow to start, but then grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go. Another deep magic cultural item.

Bonus!

Books on the list that I did not like at all/did not get very far with:

Neuromancer: I wish I could acquire this as a cultural item, but it read as a poorly cobbled together mass of cliches and I had to put it down.

Lord of the Flies: Horrible. Not that well written. Not that convincing. Supposed to be suggestive that children are violent, murderous beasts in a state of nature, but I think it says more about the boy’s public school system at a very specific place and time, rather than anything else.

The Forever War: Rapist protagonist was just not someone I could root for.

Stranger in a Strange Land: Nice premise, shame about the disgusting sexism.

I am legend: I really liked The Omega Man, I did not like this. Very… male self-amplificatory-naval-gaze-ish, let-me-sexualise-the-disgusting-undead-female-vampires-because-I’m-so-virile? Is that a thing? I’m going to say that that’s a thing. Didn’t get very far. Male fantasy. Worst kind of mangst.

Ringworld: I was expecting something deeper, less silly, less sexist. Classic example of a nice setting poorly executed in terms of story-telling. I gave up.

Titus Groan: Certainly a cultural item, but very hard going. Watch the BBC Gormenghast mini-series instead. It’s how Jonathan Rhys-Meyers became a thing. And it’s excellent.

The Satanic Verses: I wanted to like this because it was so controversial, but I didn’t. Felt very… self-consciously literary. The female characters felt objectified.

—-

There are others I have read but  neither find them especially worthy, nor unworthy, so, you know, space saved.

jessicameats:

Less than a week until the publication of my new novel, Shadows of Tomorrow.
This is a sci-fi adventure about parallel universes, ravenous creatures, martial arts, treason, love and a guy who can remember his future. Now available for pre-order.

Holy shit, guys, check out Jess’s awesome cover!

jessicameats:

Less than a week until the publication of my new novel, Shadows of Tomorrow.

This is a sci-fi adventure about parallel universes, ravenous creatures, martial arts, treason, love and a guy who can remember his future. Now available for pre-order.

Holy shit, guys, check out Jess’s awesome cover!

THIS COMMENT JUST SHOWED UP ON MY BLOG AND I SERIOUSLY CANNOT

fozmeadows:

"SF which focuses too much on Romance (not Romance in the sense that Pournelle said SF was), and books that focus too much on Lust followed by Deep Wounding are inferior as SF, and inferior as books. Romance/Conquest should be at best tertiary in a story. Also, a more realistic sense of events would elevate the story, and the typical Romance or Conquest storyline is only slightly more realistic than Wonder Woman bouncing bullets off her bracelets. Finally, most R/C storylines tend toward the dull. So, majoring on the minors; unrealisticnd dull are the sins.

Otherwise, you can write paranormal romance. And yes, I’ve read that too.

Also, men naturally find talk of moonlit balcony dinners over armies to be slightly boring.

Am I sexist? I hope so. Sexist means you can observe reality. Guys and girls like different things. Girls like to infiltrate the boys’ clubs which tends to drive out the boys. Most good writers are men, and as a man, given the choice I will naturally prefer an equivalent male to a female.”

So sayeth Eric Ashley, an American man who apparently works as some sort of writer and RPG designer. Please note especially his final paragraph, because no, dude: WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK.

If anyone out there has ever encountered this guy in a professional setting - if this is someone you’ve worked with in gamedev or whathaveyou - then I’m going to go ahead and suggest that this is the sort of comment that ought to be brought to the attention of his employers, because if you’re not only so fucking misogynistic as to categorically state that you literally want to be sexist because men are naturally better at some things, then this is RELEVANT INFORMATION for anyone who wants you to work productively and equitably with women. On account of how, you know. It kind of suggests that YOU’RE A BIGGOTED ASSHAT. 

Wow, just… wow. I have thoughts about this, but he doesn’t deserve my energy. I second your opinion; it does gall me that this kind of thing isn’t considered worthy of censure by so many people.

I BOUGHT A HARD COPY OF SPECULATIVE FICTION 2012 AND I’M SO GLAD I DID

So, I was feeling pretty down, earlier, but then, things got a little better. Firstly, my dentist didn’t charge me for my replacement filling - ILU NHS! And secondly, I finally cracked open my copy of Speculative Fiction 2012: The Best Online Reviews, Essays, and Commentary.

As some of you may be aware (because, like, I was SO SUBTLE about promoting it, and I have never mentioned it when the subject has come up since) my essay, ‘Remembering Margaret Cavendish’, was published as one of those ‘Best Online Reviews, Essays, and Commentary’. But… I have a confession to make. I received my electronic copy aaaaages ago, and I haven’t looked at it at all. I didn’t even open the file. That’s awful, isn’t it?

It’s 100% imposter syndrome. I never got around to sending in a bio, so I didn’t want to read what Jared and Justin had said about me, not because I thought it could be bad, but because I was so embarrassed of not having done it myself. And despite the fact that it was accepted, and even that I thought it was a good piece, I didn’t want to see what my essay in print in case it looked awful and amateur. I worried that my casual blogging style would look weird and unprofessional next to all the ‘proper’ essays and reviews. I didn’t want to read those other pieces, either, in case they made me feel ashamed about my own work.

It’s weird. I’ve never been like this about my fiction. I always want to see it ASAP and read it through and imagine how other people would feel reading it. And I’m like that with my blog posts when they’re on my blog. But something I’d written about passionately, with my own feelings displayed, not a character’s, being presented to the world as a serious essay, outside of its natural medium that was just my tiny little blog… that was really scary, for some reason. I wanted to tell people about it, I wanted other people to read it, I believed passionately in its message and in getting across the important of not forgetting Margaret Cavendish. But I didn’t want to see it in its final form myself.

But I finally decided that I really ought to buy a paper copy, and it arrived today. And even then, I sort of didn’t want to open my Amazon parcel. It wasn’t until after I’d seen the dentist and was feeling a little better about myself that I did so. And…

It was wonderful.

There was my name. It was on the back. It was in the table of contents. I turned to the article itself. There was my name again! There were my words and thoughts in print! And Jared and Justin had done a lovely job, giving me real footnotes, rather than the asterisks I had relied upon in WordPress, and footnoting all the links in the article as well. There, even, was my strangely casual language. I’d actually got someone to print the word ‘Wooyay’ in a piece of serious criticism, and I wasn’t embarrassed about that, I was oddly proud.

I even did my own little photoshoot with my book:

image

image

image

So, yeah, I’m pretty excited by this.

And, you know, if you’d like to buy this book, too, it’s a pretty awesome and excellent compendium of what what people cared about and were thinking about with regards to speculative fiction in 2012. Buy it here, for £8.99/$11.99, or on Amazon UK for only £7.06 or Amazon US for $11.02 at time of posting.

There are some really neato things in there beyond my own essay.

Also, if you’ve liked any of my posts here, or over at the Proper Blog, please do consider nominating me for Speculative Fiction 2013, which is being compiled by the awesome ladies over at The Book Smugglers.