[Reblog] It’s Tonka Toys! All the Way Down!

A bit of brilliance from Laura J Mixon that just had to be shared.

BY LAURAJMIXON | APRIL 17, 2015 · 2:40 AM
It’s Tonka Toys! All the Way Down!
I keep pondering Tade Thompson’s recent post at SAFE: “I Own SFF Fandom (and so do you).” He cuts to the heart of something that has been very much on my mind.

 

The Sad/Rabid Puppies claim a moral basis for their attack on the Hugos. They say that identity-based politics have polluted our storytelling traditions. They long for a return of the good old days when SFF stories

 

were not about race, or gender, or sexual orientation, or cultural appropriation, or all those other pesky social-justice matters, but instead favored just-great-romps, without all the politics injected into them. And at this point my Spock ears appear and my right eyebrow floats up. I think, Fascinating.

You know what? When I read a story about a woman, especially an older woman, kicking ass and taking names in an exciting space opera or fantasy setting, I certainly don’t see politics. I see an exciting space opera or fantasy with characters I can really relate to. And I’m willing to bet my friends in the LGBTQI, dis/ability, and POC communities don’t see politics, either, when they read a story that has someone whose demographics match their own. They see that person who, like them, is fighting to find their way in the world, despite all the obstacles they face. (Obstacles that can differ, based on who we are and what we’ve encountered in our lives.) Who struggles to hold onto their humanity in the face of implacable hostility. Of denial of who they are.

The Sad/ Rabid Puppies seem to think of themselves as the true descendants of the grand masters of our modern pulp SFF tradition. I find this…interesting. The idea that stories about white guys overcoming obstacles—struggling to hold onto their humanity in the face of implacable hostility and denial who they are—is somehow less political than anyone else undergoing all those struggles—is simply so illogical to me that I can help but shrug and go, whaaaa? Because you know, the Grand Masters of SFF are my forebears, too.

Seriously, dudes. What would Spock say? (WWSS???)

I wrote recently about how the books of SFF writers like Heinlein and Silverberg and Simak and Asimov and Vance and Bradbury and Tolkien saved my life, when I was young. I was an abuse survivor (post1 | post 2), not to mention a really weird kid who didn’t fit in, and those science fiction stories I found in Prospect Branch Public Library saved my life. I didn’t care if they were written by a bunch of white guys. I cared that, like me, they spent all their time gazing at stars and poring over old tomes, dreaming up all these wild tales. Connecting our future with our past. Imagining all these different rich, complex, beautiful, scary worlds. Showing me that I wasn’t the only person who thought that way, and that my life wouldn’t always be crabbed and limited as it was then.

Speaking of Spock, I had the great good fortune of being around when the original Star Trek series ran, in 1966-1968. Only my parents were really strict about bedtimes. I was too little for ST seasons 1 and 2—my bedtime was 7:30, and the show came on at 8. By the time it started, sleep had gotten hold of me. But by the time the third season came on, my bedtime was bumped up to 8 pm!! So they would send me to bed, and turn out the light, and I would crawl into the hall, creep into the living room behind the couch, and watch the show—terrified of being discovered, but unable to resist the pull. And so I had the great good fortune to watch the last season of their original run. (continues)

Another SALE!!!

allromanceebooksI thought it was kind of fun putting up that little single source sale the other day, so I decided to do it again! This time it’s over at All Romance eBooks

81KX3TFsgwL._SL1500_Ready or Not (concept only)Once more Love or Lust is absolutely free.

And Ready or Not can be had for 75% off ($1 by the way ARe rounds the fraction, sorry; take it up with their coders)

iBooks Sale

81KX3TFsgwL._SL1500_For not real reason beyond “I can” I’ve put Love or Lust on sale for 100% off (that’s free for those who may need another cup of coffee before following maths) and Ready or Not is marked down to 99¢!  Just for today.  It ends some time tomorrow.

71jhJo-DxUL._SL1500_Other ebook stores?  No, not today anyway.  I might randomly work my way through all of them, and the sales may not be exactly the same on all (especially given some don’t allow the same sorts of sales options), but my Apple using fans have a treat this Sunday.  You’re welcome.

Why Apple first?  Possibly because I have a new Android phone (it was $20 and my Samsung flip was so old it wasn’t fully compatible with texting anymore so it seemed like a good idea at the time) and while I kind of like the hardware I want to slap whoever designed Android, so there’s possibly a subconscious impetus behind starting with Apple.  Or, I might be starting with A.  I don’t really know.  This was, frankly, a whim that came to me like 1minute ago while I was perusing Twitter.

Enjoy!

I can’t be the only one, right?

So I was reading this really cool article (with me it’d be #2 99.99999% of the time, the remaining fraction would be #7 in parallel universes where I’d go to things like that without having an anxiety attack).

It made me wonder:  how abnormal or normal am I for a writer?

I mean, am I the only one whose wife would have to drag her kicking and screaming to the RITAs or Hugos or Nebulas or whatevers if I were nominated (or gods forfend, actually win and then have to give a speech?!) to be fair I’d love the excuse to go shopping at Utsav and wear a super pretty dress, and would have to use an elephant tranquilliser to get my wife in something appropriate.

Not that I wouldn’t be honoured!  No no no no, not that.  I just don’t want all that personal attention.  I’d be happy, ecstatic, elated, and probably six other words starting with an E (happy should start with an E as well, damn it).  I mean, hello?  Authors, notoriously introverted, reclusive, anti-social, etc?  What sick mind came up with the idea of a big formal (authors, in formal dress?!) party and award ceremony?!  Seriously?

Proper award for writers: Announcement in paper that [Title] by [by-line] has won [Award] beating out [nominees with by-lines] in a few big papers, a lovely little mantle decoration of some kind arrives on the writer’s doorstep delivered by an anonymous UPS guy.  Yay!  Virtual hugs and silent clapping!  No where’d I put that damned teapot?

Back on track soon

Now & Forever‘s third book should be back in front of me to get back to work on by the end of April.  I’m still wanting to try to write a Færie Patrol short story for Queers Destroy Fantasy otherwise it’d be by the end of this week.

Things are looking up.  Including the possibility of living in a less hellish state before the end of summer.  If that happens my writing may pick up since I won’t have to drive for 30-45min to get to somewhere conducive to thought.

In any case I’m going to rough guess Book 3 for a Christmas 2015 release at the earliest, with an Easter 2016 release more likely, and June 2016 as an outside figure.

We’ll see what happens.

No horror

Well, I was, and in a manner of speaking still am, working on a vampire horror for Queers Destroy Horror but I ended up working on something else that’s proving far more fun and interesting, so I won’t have the horror finished before the submission deadline.

It’s not abandoned, I’ll finish it sooner or later and then I’ll decide what to do with it, but it won’t be going to QDH.

I still fully intend to get a Færie Patrol short worked out for Queers Destroy Fantasy, so there’s still that to look forward to.

Goodbye Sir Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett enjoying a Guinness at honorar...I honestly don’t know what to say about Terry Pratchett‘s death.  So much for he and Neil ever getting together and doing a Good Omens sequel.  No more Rincewind, no more Granny Weatherwax, Tiffany Aching.  The Luggage has moved on, and so many more.

Scott Lynch managed something articulate and good to say.  I’ll settle for reblogging that here:

I was surprised by my own mild reaction when I woke today and saw the first of many subtle tweets about Terry, though I guessed immediately what they meant. I was surprised by just how many of those tweets were also some flavor of subtle or mild or restrained. I didn’t see many all-caps primal screams or 140-character duets for Emoji and exclamation point.

Of course, I peer out at the universe through a knothole as tiny as anyone else’s and the plural of “Twitter stream anecdote” is surely not “data,” nor even a distant relation to data, nor even a part-time and barely convincing cosplay of data.

And yet I think there’s something natural and inevitable about this quiet reaction. It’s not merely that we’ve all known for some time that Terry had to be passing soon, that we’ve been forced to think about it, that he had the chance to say so much about it.

When some people die, they leave the rest of us with a sense that they’ve packed their words and warmth and hauled them along like luggage for the trip, that we can never hear from them again. Terry gave us so much of himself, though, so damned MUCH– seventy books, just for starters, and a world and its inhabitants that might as well be a religion for millions. A good religion, a useful religion. The sort where there’s always a little golden light flickering behind one of the church windows at any hour of the night, so you know there’s someone there to talk to you about anything, and they won’t have locked the doors. They won’t even have put locks on the doors. Some asshole suggested putting locks on the doors once, many years ago, and everyone else in the church carried that person out of town and threw them into a pond. That’s a Terry Pratchett sort of church. That’s a Terry Pratchett book. And he walled us in with them. He stacked them high all around us, and they’re all him, they’re all still here, and they’re going to be here so very long after you and I and everyone else reading this have gone off for a last walk WITH THE ONLY PERSON IN THE UNIVERSE WHO SPEAKS NATURALLY IN ALL CAPS AND WE DON’T REALLY MIND AT ALL, IT’S JUST THE WAY THINGS HAVE TO BE.

Terry Pratchett can die, and fuck everything for that sentence. Fuck those four words. I am feeling the cracks starting to appear in me now. I’ve lost the mildness and quiet I had this morning. But here’s the point. Terry Pratchett can die, but he can never go away. (Continued here)

Queers Destroy Horror/Fantasy!

So there’s nothing with my name on it for Queers Destroy Science Fiction.  C’est la vie.  I didn’t submit anything with my name on it, so that’s to be expected.

I’m actually trying to get a couple things together for Horror and Fantasy, though.  I’m writing some kind of thing involving some college students on spring break meeting vampires; I’ve a feeling that’ll be gory if I don’t get stuck and not manage to finish it on time.  The one for Fantasy is going to be a Færie Patrol short adventure.

If they get rejected I don’t know what I’ll do wit them.  Almost certainly post them somewhere here on the site, or maybe I’ll publish them as free stories on my retail channels.  Or both.  Similar for if I don’t finish them before the submissions deadlines, assuming I finish them at all.

Still next month or so should be pretty interesting.

Gods, what a time

Well, stress of life is coming to an end and I’m finding myself with inclination to write even as I return to having precious little time for it (day jobs suck).

I’ve found a new job, I look slightly more forward to grating my own face with a nutmeg mill than the job in question, but I might’ve found a more appealing one that, besides being no less appealing than painful self-mutilation (dare I say more appealing? Hmmm could be, I’ll hopefully get to find out) it also gets me both out of the wretched state of Georgia but also out of the south altogether! Amusing coincidence: it would put me less than 30 min from the town I geographically based Salencia’s hometown on, Estes Park; that could be fun!

I’m not yet back into Book 3. I swear, I will be by end of summer if not sooner, but I need a working break from it to get back into the swing of things. I’ll be working on some short stories and some pet projects of uncertain nature, then try to get back into my Now & Forever groove; I have to! Don’t know about anyone else, but I’m curious to see what their wedding turns out like! (I am not calling that a spoiler, I don’t even know which book it happens in and anyone who didn’t see it coming during Love or Lust clearly hasn’t been paying attention)

I’m really sorry to delay things. But I don’t believe in writing just for the sake of word count. I want quality, not quantity. I’d have thrown out so much of what might have git written these past few months and got myself so thoroughly mired in nonsense that it would only have made things worse to force the matter. Please be patient, I promise you’ll appreciate the resultant book a great deal more.

Cheers!

I should write SciFi

Anyone not heard of Queers Destroy Science Fiction yet?

I think it’s both a very cool, and very sad, thing.

First off: the cool. It’s not about queer characters, though they (logically) have said if they have to choose between two equally good works they’ll probably pick the one with queer characters over the one without; it’s about queer writers. Normally my opinion is that such details are wholly irrelevant. I couldn’t care less if my favourite authors are bigger into goats than Lord Byron (if you don’t get it I suggest that ignorance, in this case, is bliss), so long as they tell a good story.

But the rationale for this just plain rocks. The thing is that there are a rather vocal group of vitriolic homophobes, transphobes, people who assume bisexuals are more mythical than unicorns, etc. SciFi personalities from widely recognised fans, to authors, agents, even editors. Too, there’s this habit for the agents/editors to say things to the effect of “good story, but the queer quotient is too high”.

John Joseph Adams: It’s mostly people complaining about the presence of queer characters appearing in stories that I’ve seen, as opposed to complaining about the sexuality of the authors themselves. But of course by complaining about the sexuality of the characters, they’re telling queer authors that their POV is not welcome.
As one example, take a look at some of the lower-rated reviews on Amazon of my anthology THE END IS NIGH (http://www.amazon.com/End-Nigh-Apocalypse-Triptych/dp/1495471179/). There were several readers there complaining about the very existence of queer characters in the stories. And that’s in a book where I think literally 5 stories had any mention of queerness (out of 23). One story was political (about marriage equality), but the others just contained queer characters, yet the very presence of queer characters “destroyed” the stories for them. That’s what Queers Destroy Science Fiction! is rebelling against.
As another example: We did a Facebook “promoted post” to boost the signal about the Kickstarter. Within a few minutes of that going up, the post got comments like “No queers in my scifi please” and “Being gay is wrong.”

So, it’s a great protest of this attitude, and I love great protests. Pickets and clever chants have their place but are not, strictly speaking, positive nor always terribly powerful/effective (besides, too many slogans these days aren’t even all that clever; they need to find some old 1960s hippies to help). This is so many kinds of positive and powerful. It’s also heartening that the Kickstarter earned US$53K of its US$5K goal.

But it brings me to the sad: it’s heartbreaking that such a thing should even seem necessary, let alone show strong evidence of being necessary. Queers Destroy Mysteries or Queers Destroy Romance or Queers Destroy Westerns (okay, maybe Westerns) … no such feeling that this is a Thing (though it can be, there’re agents for Romance that won’t handle LGBT material … how rude!). Science Fiction, though?! Of all genres that should never have needed such a thing as this, SF was it.

Science Fiction is the genre that is supposed to make us ask questions, to dream, to show us a better future to strive for or warn us from a path towards a terrible one. It paints the world of the noble gentlemen heroes known as Lensmen, it gives us the bleak dystopian corpocratic UV irradiated hells of cyberpunk, the alien scapes of Star Wars … the new gospels of love and acceptance of Stranger in a Strange Land.

Too much of it, today, though is caught up in … I’m not sure what to call it and what my wife has to say about it is horribly unladylike and R-rated … if I cleaned it up and censored some of it.

I’ve said before that I adore Science Fiction (and its sister genre, Fantasy, so commonly collectively known as Speculative Fiction), and I do wish I had more SF ideas than I do. But I don’t really read much newer stuff, in fact I’m wont to not even be able to bring myself to consider so much of what is dubbed SciFi these days (and a sad proportion of Fantasy along with it) as legit; I just can’t bring myself to count these works as the same genre as Bradbury, Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov, Doc Smith, and Jules Verne. They just don’t really push the envelope of human imagination in the way that even some of the pulpiest garbage from back then could. As for Fantasy, it’s doing better, but there’s quite a bit lately that I feel has Lewis & Tolkien spinning in their graves such that we could connect them to turbines to power the world.

There was a time when the biggest names in SF, along with some of the least names in it, would look at the world and write things … oh hell, SciFi has been ill for so long … the beginning of the end was when Star Trek: TNG not only didn’t start with even a single character who wasn’t cis+straight, but never got one … we had to wait for Talia & Ivanova in Babylon 5.

I could go on like this for ages. It’s just that it isn’t only about representation, but about the fact that if our new mythology (Fantasy) and our dreams of the future have no place for women, people of diverse ethnicity, or queers … what hope have we of ever being accepted? Luckily the slack is taken up by drama & comedy, Will & Grace, and Orange is the New Black among others, take up the slack left by SF falling asleep on its job.

So, it’s cool Lightspeed is stepping up to the responsibilities of the genre, but it’s pretty shite that they have to resort to such methods as this.