Even though it’s still September, the original Munich Oktoberfest started today with the traditional tapping of the first beer keg by the mayor of Munich and also kicked off the autumn fair season in Germany. Personally, I prefer our own Bremer Freimarkt, because it has just as many rides, a wider spectrum of culinary specialties and fewer violence and drunkenness issues (though it’s been getting worse here as well since the mid 1990s with ever more people already arriving at the fair heavily drunk). And fewer dirndls, probably because you’d freeze if you’d try to wear a dirndl to the Freimarkt, which takes place in late October and is usually cold. Freimarkt is usually the first time I wear gloves again.
As the post title indicates, I’ve got a bunch of links for you today:
Over at the Pegasus Pulp blog, I take a look at the renewed discussion about Amazon’s KDP Select program. My own stance hasn’t changed, which means that I won’t be going exclusive with Amazon.
Neil Gaiman posts a letter from one of actresses who was tricked into performing in the nasty anti-muslim film The Innocence of Muslims, believing it was a simple low-budget adventure film about a comet in the desert. Nice that the people who made this piece of cinematic dreck had to trick actors into appearing in the film (and put them at risk) rather than showing their own faces. Found via Jay Lake.
The Washington Post has a nice article by Eloisa James about attending the National Book Festival in Washington.
Juliette Wade has a good post on fictional slurs and insults for fantasy and SF worlds. The first step is of course avoiding real world slurs and swearwords which don’t fit into the world of the story. For example, I once read an attempt at “gritty” fantasy, where the characters constantly kept accusing each other of sleeping with their mothers. The result was incredibly jarring, because the swearword in question is so very much linked to a late 20th/early 21st American thing. “Hell” and “damned” and other religiously based swearwords used in settings where there is no Christianity is another very common pitfall. Coming up with replacements that are not giggle-inducing is the next step. Trust me, you don’t want to have one character refer to another as a “green-blooded Mongan”, which I once did in a story that is mercifully lost. I was very proud of that one, too.
Lavie Tidhar writes that the view of “universally relevant” literature as peddled by the Guardian and the New York Times is rather white, middle-class and Anglo-American. This is not very surprising, particularly since “relevant” German literature (and by extension the Non-German literature German critics deem relevant) is rather white and middle class, too – as the annual ritual of handing the German Book Award to yet another middle class family saga with a historical background attests. And the one time a novel about immigrant experiences won the prize, the winner failed to hit the bestseller lists, because the sort of people who care about the German Book Award apparently enjoy multi-generational sagas of middle class families with relevant historical background details. But what sets Anglo-American literary critics apart from German critics or indeed those from other countries, is that the Anglo-American critics consider their preferred white middle class reading matter as universally relevant, hence the annual chorus of “Why did Philip Roth not win the Nobel Prize?” German critics at least don’t try to pretend that anybody except middle class Germans cares about Eugen Ruge or Uwe Tellkamp or Julia Franck or Arno Geiger.
The Smithsonian Magazine has a pair of interesting articles about the great vampire panic of New England as well as some profiles of deceased people mistakenly assumed to be vampires. Found via Kathleen Valentine.