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.