Monthly Archives: June 2013

New story – Drones in therapy. Seriously.

Another writing tidbit for today: My short story for Murmuration, “All the Literati Keep an Imaginary Friend”, is now up to read for free.

So you ask, How have you been feeling? And you ask, Do you have trouble rebooting? And you ask, Do you experience difficulty preparing yourself for missions?

How did killing thirty three people, twelve of whom were children, make you feel in the morning?

Did you find yourself altering your flight path for reasons you couldn’t identify?

Do you take unnecessary risks?

The heads-up display registers responses, such as there are. You scan each carefully for any indication of emotional distress. You take copious notes. You bill the government five hundred dollars an hour. The taxpayers go to bed with the warm, fluffy reassurance that someone somewhere is still suffering for what no one wants to do but what no one wants to stop doing, either.

And if you like what Murmuration is doing, we could use your support.

Crowflight – cover art!

HERE IT IS

I want to stress that the series name is just a placeholder; we’re still flailing around trying to find something that works. But yeah, I’m pleased.

[ETA] Now with actual series title!

Sunday linkdump: Drive it like you stole it

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Things Occurred.

  • Antidote to all the dismaying SFWA sexist bullshit: “Doctor Blood and the Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron”, by A.C. Wise.

    For this mission, they’ve chosen strictly retro-future, which means skin-tight silver, boots that come nearer to the knee than their skirts, bubble-barreled ray-guns, frosted white lipstick and, of course, big hair. CeCe the Velvet Underground Drag King called in sick with the flu, so it’s lamé all the way.

  • One of the best pieces of short fiction I’ve read this year is a flash story presented as a Twitter bug report. Read it. Trust me.
  • Stand with Turkey.

    People who are marching to the center of Istanbul are demanding their right to live freely and receive justice, protection and respect from the State. They demand to be involved in the decision-making processes about the city they live in.

    What they have received instead is excessive force and enormous amounts of tear gas shot straight into their faces. Three people lost their eyes.

  • When you’re dealing with highly abstract concepts like states and corporations, what does it mean to grapple with the material?

    We have the ability to fight them in the streets to a degree. We can still burn the buildings down, block the lanes of traffic, and cut the cables. But to do this, we must be able to see these material capillary beds. We cannot fight corporate cops that don’t exist, or boycott nation-state products that don’t need our business. There is a material reality to both states and corporations, but we can easily miss it, distracted by the allusions we have created in our minds for rhetorical simplicity.

  • I did kind of a bit of commentary for Cyborgology on the Kindle Worlds thing.

    The practical implications of this are that traditional tie-in writers might no longer be needed at all. Instead of having to pay authors advances and higher royalty rates, Kindle Worlds presents a dystopian future where media tie-ins are entirely produced by poorly compensated fandom content-serfs, where traditional writers of original fiction are simply no longer needed.

  • “Melancholic Damage.” Rhianna’s new album and racist-sexist discourses of acceptable recovery. Long but so worth it.

    In a multiracial white supremacist partriarchy like ours, resilience distributes racial privilege: “good” black women who “overcome” are granted some of the privileges of whiteness, while women who fail to overcome are racially darkened. To maintain white privilege, one has to keep optimizing one’s human capital. Those who can’t keep up will fall behind, ever closer to precarity, which is racially nonwhite. Whiteness is thus increasingly indexed to resilience, and non-whiteness to precarity. This is actually a vicious cycle — privilege makes it easier to “bounce back” from crisis.

  • Murmuration has begun and this poem is stunning.

    Edward said their thereness is just
    a shadow on the sky. Before depredating colonies
    of pests, the selfish herd moves
    with all the precision of an equation, unraveled
    by game controllers north of Tampa. Of starlings,
    bats, and drones, only drones are native to Florida.

Do like they do.

The whole SFWA Bulletin Thing: Others have said it better, but my two cents

by Kimonas

by Kimonas. Guys? This is a Warrior Woman.

I haven’t had much time to comment on what’s been going on in response to Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg’s pretty goddamn horrifying column in the latest issue of the SFWA Bulletin – among other things I’ve been prepping a novel to go out to agents, yaaaaaay – but I’ve been following it, even if I haven’t been able to pull any coherent thoughts together that haven’t been articulated elsewhere by others way more better good at the articulating than me. But let me just go ahead and drop a link to Jim Hines’s fantastic link roundup post, which is worth looking through.

My favorite post on it so far, though I haven’t yet read all of them: “Old Men Yelling at Clouds.”

OK, you do understand that there’s a difference between saying ‘referencing her looks was unnecessary, and perhaps inappropriate given your evident obliviousness on the subject of sexism’, and ‘NOBODY IN THIS PUBLICATION SHOULD USE THE WORD BEAUTIFUL IT IS AN UNWORD AND BANNED FOREVER’, right? Nobody is censoring the word ‘beautiful’; we’re simply suggesting you needn’t have used it when you did. Similarly, if I say ‘stop threatening me with that knife’, I’m not saying ‘ban all knives’. I’m saying there’s an important contextual difference between chopping up carrots for dinner and my physical endangerment, and if that’s a distinction you’re either unwilling or unable to make, then I don’t want you anywhere near my kitchen.

I am really, really, really tired of people who are being called on their offensive levels of privilege interpreting that calling-out as “censorship” (Resnick and Malzberg then go on to actually fucking namedrop Stalin with the suggestion that this is how it all starts ARE WE SERIOUSLY FUCKING GOING THERE) but we sure do see it all the time, huh? And every time it gets said, it ends up meaning that we have to expend yet more time and energy actually explaining the definition of censorship to adults who can presumably read. It consistently blows my mind that we have to do this, but we do. They literally do not understand what it means. And they don’t understand, I think, because they don’t want to understand.

This is one of those things that I understand on an intellectual level but at a much deeper level I simply Do Not Get.

I teach introductory level college courses in sociology, and because of the angle at which I approach the material – all liberal angry feminist queer theorist social justicy – we have to cover the definition of “privilege” and we have to cover it very early on. One of the things I take care to explain to my students is that with privilege comes the delusion of being persecuted when your privilege is threatened. I give them the example of a classroom study – the citation for which I can’t find at the moment – wherein a teacher very carefully called on boys and girls an equal amount and gave them equal attention. And the boys perceived this as unfair.

It’s just the way the world is. It was working fine, why are all  these ladypeople trying to change it? Why are they so angry?

Some people are choosing to leave SFWA over this. It’s not a sudden decision and I don’t think anyone is making it lightly; this isn’t a recent occurrence but has been a problem in the organization for a while now. I’m not leaving, but I feel nothing but respect and have nothing but support for the people who have to honor their consciences and their obligations to self-care in this way.

What I really think is the saddest and most infuriating part of the whole thing is that, as Rachel Swirsky and Mary Robinette Kowal have noted, it obscures the hard work of the many women inside the organization, work that often goes unacknowledged anyway. These Old White Men start yelling at clouds and suddenly that work doesn’t seem to count for anything. That’s not right. It’s not right on top of a whole pile of things that aren’t right.

When about the best that can be said for you is that at least you and people like you will die off soon, you might want to reexamine your life choices is all.

If you want something seriously uplifting and pump-your-fist-fuck-yeah, though, this is pretty damn good.

Because when we choose to write stories, it’s not just an individual story we’re telling. It’s theirs. And yours. And ours. We all exist together. It all happens here. It’s muddy and complex and often tragic and terrifying. But ignoring half of it, and pretending there’s only one way a woman lives or has ever lived – in relation to the men that surround her – is not a single act of erasure, but a political erasure.

Populating a world with men, with male heroes, male people, and their “women cattle and slaves” is a political act. You are making a conscious choice to erase half the world.

As storytellers, there are more interesting choices we can make.