Easter Monday Link Round-up

Here in Germany, today was a public holiday and rather slow. Nonetheless, Easter Monday is a work day in the US. Besides, there were at least two big conventions this weekend, so the internet didn’t go into holiday mode.

The discussion about Christopher Priest and the Clarke Awards is still going on, though it has morphed into a more interesting direction by now:

Catherynne Valente has a follow-up to her previous post on the issue (linked here) that a woman would have gotten a lot more shit for writing what Priest wrote and probably death and rape threats in the bargain. Meanwhile, a man would have to be Will Shetterly to get the same level of hatred.

You only have to look at comments to newspaper articles about women and relationships to know that what Catherynne Valente is saying is true, whether it’s a female journalist writing an essay about breaking up with her boyfriend in her twenties, because she wanted to stay single, or a romance author describing how she found new love and happiness after a bad first marriage. The articles/essays themselves are perfectly harmless slice of life stories, but the comments are snakepits of venom, because those women dared to reject a man at some point in the past. Just look at all the hatred spewed at Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, pray, love, for daring to leave a marriage that didn’t work and finding her happiness elsewhere. Even I have found myself defending Eat, pray, love and its author and I think it’s one of the most uninteresting books on the planet.

It’s not just men who are doing this, by the way, but women as well. For example, check out this supposed relationship advice blog by a female blogger or this personal/advice blog by another female blogger and former AAR reviewer who was kicked out of that site for her extreme views. But be warned, you’ll need a strong stomach.

Now I have never gotten the really nasty threats, but I have been attacked and called stupid for daring to dislike the new Battlestar Galactica or daring to have liked Torchwood once upon a time or daring to point out that reviews are always subjective and therefore always biased* or daring to politely point out that the blanket dismissal of Twilight/the romance genre/the urban fantasy genre as pornographic crap may be driven by a teeny bit of subconscious misogyny. So yeah, every woman gets this shit online. It doesn’t stop me from saying what I want to say and my geographic location protects me somewhat from having to worry about potential threats (because most of those trolls seem to be American with Brits a close second). But the risk of attracting misogynist trolls is always there.

More on gender issues, though regarding a different award, Rose Lemberg points out that the “Best Fan Writer” Hugo has a severe lack of female nominees (just a single one per year mostly) and that women’s commentary on genre issues is simply ignored or dismissed.

Of course, the Clarke Award discussion was not just about tone but also about perceived literary quality. And so Sherwood Smith offers her take on the recent discussion about the Clarke Awards and what the various responses say about ideas of what does and does not make a good book at the Book View Café.

While we’re still discussing the last batch of awards nominations, a bunch of other awards shortlists and winners have been announced: Christopher Priest will likely be pleased with the winners of this year’s BSFA Awards, since Priest’s novel The Islanders won along with a Paul Cornell short story (Paul Cornell is usually a good choice) and the latest edition of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Apparently, there was some kind of uproar about inappropriate jokes at the awards ceremony as well. The 2012 Philip K. Dick Award has also been awarded to the Samuil Petrovitch trilogy by Simon Morden, a series and author I must confess I’ve never heard of. The Op Art covers are neat, though. Finally, the shortlist for the David Gemmell Legend Award has also been announced.

Romance writer Colleen Kwan attempts to define the elements of Steampunk. An interesting view from the other side of the genre fence.

The New York Times has an interesting article about the problems facing those attempting to preserve modernist and particularly brutalist buildings, because those styles are widely despised and repairs would often cost more than a new building, because the material used in the decades of modernism and brutalism often did not stand the test of time. I have discussed the problems of stunningly ugly brutalist architecture before, most recently in my Leeds photo post as well as in this post on Ernö Goldfinger, the architect who became a Bond villain, and this post on the Brutalist horror and instant dystopia that is the London suburb of Thamesmead.

Finally, only a few months after last year’s Freimarkt accident, there has been another accident at Bremen’s annual Easter fair, this time affecting the ride Commander. I have never riden on the Commander, but I have always been very fond of the ride (a Mondial Shake), because the custom design, based on the movie The Rocketeer, is stunning. The Commander is the most beautiful ride on the Freimarkt IMO. I’d really hate to lose both Commander and the Kraken.

*The vehement response to that one surprised me, since it was such an obvious truth. But apparently someone forgot to inform me that God died and handed the authority of absolute taste over to a certain webzine.

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9 Responses to Easter Monday Link Round-up

  1. Estara says:

    You are so my heroine, because you dare to name names on the internet in connection with asshattery which I have witnessed but don’t have the nerves to take up myself, except for a few initial comments.

    • Cora says:

      You flatter me, since I didn’t even name any names in this post, though I linked to the two misogynist lady bloggers. Oh yes, and I alluded to the webzine with delusions of godhood, but then I doubt they’d ever have published me anyway, considering that my taste is 180 degrees opposite of theirs.

      • Estara says:

        “Meanwhile, a man would have to be Will Shetterly to get the same level of hatred. ”

        I read this to mean you know how nasty he is and I totally agree especially the way he went after Sherwood and Rachel Manija.

        • Cora says:

          Ah yes, the dreaded Mr Shetterly. I referred to him both because he can be extremely nasty (e.g. Sherwood and Rachel, but also coffeeandink and others) and because he apparently got death threats (no rape threats as far as I know though) as a reaction to his behaviour. So in short, women get death and rape threats for fairly mild critical remarks, while men have to go to the level of Mr Shetterly to get similar reactions.

          I’m not scared of summoning him, though. I use my real name and I never went to any expensive private schools or universities, so there’s nothing to uncover about me.

          • Since you’ve commented on my blog a number of times, it seems only right that I respond at least once on yours:

            I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry at being the dreaded Mr. Shetterly, so I’ll go with laugh. Have you seen this tumblr?


            I don’t remember any rape wishes, but there were generic death threats and specific ones. While it’s a choice no one should have to make, I suspect most people would prefer to be raped than die in a fire. (I realize the Metaphor Police position is that your violent metaphors are charming and other people’s violent metaphors should not be tolerated, so I didn’t go all drama queen about the threats. The only one that I took at all seriously was Kynn’s, and that only caused me to keep an eye out for her at a book fair.)

            If you’re really afraid of people who comment on public posts, be assured that you have nothing to fear from me. You didn’t cherrypick things I said to misrepresent me or lie about being pseudonymous, and you haven’t charged anyone for being homophobic because you can’t sell a book to a market that’s been supportive of gay characters for decades.

            Out of curiosity, do you know if Rachel and Sherwood have sold that book yet? Many writers have a book or two that was written on spec which they can’t sell. I suppose it’s comforting to think the reason is homophobia rather than a problem with the book itself.


            the dreaded Mr. Shetterly (TM)

            • Cora says:

              Just to clarify things, what I meant to say was that women are verbally attacked online over all sorts of things, sometimes as minor as posting the wrong sort of gluten free muffin recipes, while men would have to be – well – you to get the same level of abuse. And you were actually the only male writer/blogger I could think of who had received death threats as a result of something written online. It’s interesting that you did not get rape threats – apparently those are still reserved for women and male suspects on cop shows. And for the record, I’m not a fan of the whole “Die in a fire” or “I want to stab you” rhetoric found in certain parts of livejournal/Dreamwidth, because it’s no better than the reflexive “Shut up and make me a sandwich.” or “You’re an ugly fat feminazi” responses that are hurled at many women online.

              As for the “dreaded”, that was a reference to the fact that some people seem to dread typing out your name and come up with (not very creative) ways of circumscribing it. It’s as if you’re Voldemort. And don’t worry, I’m not scared of you – so far, you’ve always been civil to me.

              I don’t know if Sherwood and Rachel have sold the book yet – you’d have to ask them. Though Sherwood has a long track record as a writer of very good YA fantasy and Rachel has previous publication credits as well and the dystopian YA genre is booming right now, so I doubt it was just a case of a book not being up to scratch.

          • PS I wanted to thank you for recommending Misfits. I finally got to see the first episode today. My favorite character is the chav; I suspect she’s the writer’s favorite, too.

            • Cora says:

              Glad you’re enjoying Misfits. I thought it would be right down your alley with its strong focus on class issues.

              Kelly is a great character and the actress won a BAFTA award for her performance. Also pay attention to Simon, the quiet arsonist, because he’s sure to surprise you.

              I strongly suspect that Misfits is based on some kind of personal experience of the writer, either working with troubled kids or having been a troubled teen himself, because the characters are so real. Not teenagers as they are commonly portrayed but teenagers as they really are. I’ve watched some other shows that Howard Overman wrote about older and more middle class characters and while they were funny and enjoyable, none of them had quite the same bite as Misfits.

  2. Actually, I like being the Dreaded Mr. Shetterly. It’s like being the Dread Pirate Roberts.

    And to be very clear, I like Sherwood, and I don’t think Rachel is lying. When people see the world in a certain way, they interpret it accordingly.

    But really, the f&sf field has had gay characters since Sturgeon, if not earlier. I put gay characters in my second novel, Witchblood, and in my Bordertown stories, and no one ever objected. Suggesting changes involving gay characters doesn’t make anyone anti-gay; it just means the critic thought the characters didn’t work as well as they might in the current draft.

    Ah, well. That ship of net outrage has sailed, so I’ll say no more. I do hope Rachel and Sherwood get the book into shape to sell it; they’ve both done some fine work.

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