Strange search terms, gut-wrenching grit, writing about religion and SF art

My favourite search term of the day is: “cora has sex with fan”.

Nope, sorry, fans (all five of you that I have). I appreciate you, but I won’t have sex with you. Sorry.

Frankly, I suspect that most of the searches that involve some combination of the words “cora” and “sex” are not interested in me at all, but in a reality TV and porn star named “Sexy Cora” who died in January after a botched breast enhancement operation at the age of 23. Oddly enough, I had never heard of her (though she was on the German edition of Big Brother or some such show) until she died.

And now some links:

At the Book View Café, the inimitable Ursula K. LeGuin takes on the trend towards the gritty and gut-wrenching in SFF (and not just there).

Marissa Lingen addresses the issue of how to describe religious beliefs if one neither shares those beliefs nor has direct experience with people following this particular belief system. This is a very interesting and timely post, particularly as for an upcoming Pegasus Pulp reprint I am dealing with a character (in a historical setting no less) who has very strong religious beliefs that I don’t share at all.

I’d add that there are also regional differences in the ways that people who nominally follow the same religion express their beliefs. For example, Marissa Lingen’s description of Midwestern US Lutheran Protestants does not match my experiences with North German Lutheran Protestants at all. Nobody here much cares what the synode says or what a pastor preaches in an individual sermon – it’s more about tradition. For example, new pastors occasionally get in trouble if they tamper with “the way things have always been done”.

And just because the day needs something nice, here is an interview with British science fiction artist Chris Foss from New Scientist. The works of Chris Foss are inextricably linked to my growing love for the science fiction genre, because many of the SF books I read as a teenager in the 1980s, including almost my entire collection of Isaac Asimov works, were British editions with Chris Foss covers. Kind of sad to hear that he never even read most of the SF novels he illustrated, though even my teen self realized that the cover illustrations didn’t have a whole lot to do with the contents. They were still damn cool, though. Another tidbit from the department of things I didn’t know is that Chris Foss also illustrated the original edition of the 1970s sex manual The Joy of Sex.

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2 Responses to Strange search terms, gut-wrenching grit, writing about religion and SF art

  1. Laran says:

    Very true about the regionally different ways people of nominally the same religion express that: the statement “I am a catholic” is perceived very differently in different traditions – which I had to learn the hard way while studying in England… At home, southern Germany, nearly everybody is exposed to nominally catholic traditions while next to no one really cares much about the dogmas and beliefs and certainly not about what this man in Rome says. In England, the same statement seemed to express Hey I am proud member of a religious minority who feels bound to the Vatican instead of England, has Latin services and very strange notions indeed.
    It seems to tell us that dogma and official statements of the denominations are very often superceded by local tradition and historio-cultural context, at least bound into it in diverse ways.

    • Cora says:

      Well, I’m from a part of North Germany where Lutheran is “normal”, particularly in rural areas, to the point that most people refer to themselves as Protestant rather than Lutheran, because they aren’t really aware that there is any other kind. Meanwhile, Catholic means “those other people who sing all the time in their services and go to confession and have more public holidays than we do and are the reason why the Pope is on TV all the time”. There’s still lingering anti-Catholic sentiment in majorly Lutheran areas of North Germany, particularly among older people. It used to be that farmers would deliberately dump liquid manure on Fronleichnam/Corpus Christi Day, so the Catholic minority would have to hold their procession in pervasive liquid manure smell. And of course, Fronleichnam/Corpus Christi Day is a lot more relevant to German Catholics than Catholics elsewhere. Meanwhile, American Catholics go “huh, what?” about Corpus Christi Day, but celebrate Ash Wednesday a lot more extensively than most Germans do.

      A lot of people also conflate Catholic with Bavarian, even though parts of North Germany, e.g. Eastern Frisia, Münsterland and Emsland, are majorly Catholic as well. Interestingly, you can immediately tell when you’ve entered a majorly Catholic area, because there are crucifixes by the roadside and the culture is slightly different. I worked in Vechta for a while, a town which is majorly Catholic, and the differences were notable, even though Vechta is only 60 kilometers from where I live.

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