Linkspam, 8/30/13 Edition

Little tiny poot from that little tiny spout / Bumblebee sneezes and it drowns it out

In which is desired a Derriere – Wondermark, by David Malki !

Linkspam, ho!

Finally, I awoke this morning to news that one of my favorite poets, Seamus Heaney, had died. Here’s my favorite poem by him from his 1975 collection, North.

Punishment

I can feel the tug
of the halter at the nape
of her neck, the wind
on her naked front.

It blows her nipples
to amber beads,
it shakes the frail rigging
of her ribs.

I can see her drowned
body in the bog,
the weighing stone,
the floating rods and boughs.

Under which at first
she was a barked sapling
that is dug up
oak-bone, brain-firkin:

her shaved head
like a stubble of black corn,
her blindfold a soiled bandage,
her noose a ring

to store
the memories of love.
Little adulteress,
before they punished you

you were flaxen-haired,
undernourished, and your
tar-black face was beautiful.
My poor scapegoat,

I almost love you
but would have cast, I know,
the stones of silence.
I am the artful voyeuur

of your brain’s exposed
and darkened combs,
your muscles’ webbing
and all your numbered bones:

I who have stood dumb
when your betraying sisters,
cauled in tar,
wept by the railings,

who would connive
in civilized outrage
yet understand the exact
and tribal, intimate revenge.

Linkspam, 8/23/13 Edition

Bee Hotel

BEE HOTEL! I REPEAT: BEE HOTEL.

Linkspam, 8/9/13 Edition

Girl Fading

Girl Fading (via)

Okay, then there’s this sequence of links and they all feel interrelated somehow (a couple of them are directly in response to each other) but I’m not sure I can articulate why. But I’m going to try!

First, Justin Landon wrote a post about conventions and how he doesn’t find them particularly interesting because he doesn’t think the panels are particularly good due to the preponderance of aspiring writers in the community.  He seems to be advocating that conventions be more selective at who they invite to be on programming and limit themselves to people with solid publication histories.  From my perspective, that’s a great way to ensure that a lot of fascinating people are never heard.

Landon also doesn’t seem to think that blogging is writing–I disagree. What I do here is writing.  And what he does is writing, too. Commentary and criticism are important–there’s more to talk about than just how to craft stories that people want to read. Often people who read the genre but who do not write in it are in a better place to see larger trends or problems than people who are immersed in the trend or problem.

He also takes a few cheap shots at short fiction venues, which he claims are a dying breed. If he means in print, then I’ll possibly concede the point–but there are many online short fiction markets and it is there, I would argue, that the most interesting work being done in speculative fiction is happening in many of these markets. Ultimately, Landon seems to be arguing that a minimum standard should be created and applied to convention programming and I’m afraid I simply can’t agree. I’m not saying that there should be no discretion when it comes to panelists, but I think creating a standard for eligibility that is anything but “Will this person be a good person to have on programming?” is ill-advised.

Jonathan McCalmont has a really interesting response to Landon’s post and I especially would like to highlight the second half  in which he discusses the problems of reviewing and how the word “fan” carries a fairly heavy load these days, especially in speculative fiction fandom, as spec fic fans are among the worst when it comes to status checking and gatekeeping. It also has the wonderfully alliterative phrase “This plague of professional positivity is profoundly problematic,” too.

In fact, this gatekeeping has, perhaps, reached a new low: there is going to be a proposal put forth at the 2013 Worldcon Business Meeting to remove the Best Fanzine, Best Fan Writer, and Best Fan Artist Hugo categories from the WSFS Constitution. The reasoning for this is simultaneously laughable and infuriating: essentially, a small group of people who have particular ideas about what a fan work is and are upset that “traditional” fan works and writers aren’t winning all of these Hugos anymore and don’t think anyone else should, either. In other words: those people who do their writing online are fundamentally different from those who use a photocopier and the postal service–or who publish as PDF and email out.

This is nonsense. Is it really so awful when someone who isn’t a traditionally published novelist is on convention programming?  And does it really matter the way in which the fan publishes when it comes to the fan Hugos?

Both of these issues trouble me, especially in light of all the recent discussions about sexism and racism in the speculative fiction field–do we really want to, as a community, put up more barriers to participation and recognition than there already are?

And finally, here’s a wonderful short animated film. Many, many thanks to Brie for alerting me to it.

Borrowed Light from Olivia Huynh on Vimeo.

Linkspam, 8/2/13 Edition

Nomad Patterns, Livia Marin

Nomad Patterns, Livia Marin

Regular posting will resume next week with a review of/essay about Courtney Milan’s The Heiress Effect. I’m planning on two posts per week at this point: a review or essay and then linkspam on Fridays. I’m taking this as my inspiration.

Also, I’m looking for an invite to Medium–if anyone can hook me up, that would be awesome.

Linkspam, 5/31/13 Edition

fragOl by James Farr

fragOl by James Farr

And speaking of the SFWA Bulletin column as referenced in that last link–I managed to get my hands on a scan of the column in question. It’s every bit as bad as everyone says–and I figure that the only way to make things better is to shine a bright light on it so. I’m sharing. I’m not an SFWA member, but I have been contemplating joining as an affiliate member and these kinds of shenanigans make me wonder if it’s worth my time and effort. At this point, I’m leaning towards “no”.

Mike Resnick:
SFWA1
Lady writers? Lady editors and publishers? NOPE, NO SEXISM HERE. Also, a lady totally told them it was okay to write this stuff and as everyone knows, one lady speaks for all ladies.

Barry N. Malzberg:
SFWA2
Let me translate: “I don’t know who any of you lady complainers are and I don’t care. Censorship!”

Resnick:
SFWA3
Translation: “Hey, romance novels sure have a lot of steamy covers! And they are clearly wank material for ladies! These lady complainers are hypocrites!”

Hey, Mike Resnick: If you knew anything about romance at all, you’d know that many readers are uncomfortable with those covers and say so quite often. And romance is about more than getting off, you ASSHOLE.

More Resnick:
SFWA4
So 97% of Africa has the same culture? It’s all the same? Really? And you went to one region of Africa and think you can extrapolate to an entire continent from that?

Malzberg:
SFWA5
It was at this point my husband started yelling at the computer when I let him take a look at this. Mostly incoherently because this doesn’t even follow. I thought men were supposed to be all logical and shit. Huh.

And finally, there’s this conclusion from Resnick. I can’t fucking believe he goes there. I really can’t.
SFWA7
SFWA8

Oh, you want to read the whole thing? Click to embiggen. Or here’s an unedited OCR conversion (courtesy of Arachne Jericho).

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