A Big Dump of Mixed Links

Somebody found my blog today by googling “cora buhlert sexy pics”. Now I’m torn between wondering who would be looking for sexy pics of my little old self on the internet and what exactly they were hoping to find.

The past few days, I’ve been on something of a roll over at the Pegasus Pulp blog and posted about the renaissance of short fiction due to the e-book revolution and shared some mixed e-book links of interest.

While on the subject of pulp, at The Huffington Post crime fiction writer Walter Mosley writes about the magic of pulp fiction. Walter Mosley has also recently edited an anthology called Black Pulp, which sounds fascinating.

At SF Signal, John H. Stevens offers his take on the current debate about “realistic” female characters in SFF. Meanwhile, Kate Elliott wonders whether it’s possible to not fall into writing that caters to a male gaze.

More on the subject of fighting women, the latest relaunch of the X-Men has an all-female team consisting of Storm, Rogue, Psylocke, Jubilee, Kitty Pryde and Rachel Grey a.k.a. Phoenix. Sounds like a great line-up featuring a lot of characters who were favourites back in my X-Men reading days. Rachel is the only one I don’t much care for. Coincidentally, I’m also happy that Psylocke and Kitty Pryde have gotten better, since last I knew they were dead (Kitty had the hands of likeable character serial killer Joss Whedon at that).

The BBC asks if Doctor Who was rubbish in the 1980s. Even the most casual Doctor Who fan agrees that the answer is “Yes, it was. Sorry.” Though to be fair, there were some excellent Doctor Who stories made in the 1980s such as the Fifth Doctor’s swansong Caves of Androzani, which also features a very young Robert Glenister in a double role. And even the much derided Sixth and Seventh Doctors (not their fault, scripts and budget were ridiculous at the time) have some stories I quite like such as The Mysterious Planet, one of the stories in the Trial of a Timelord plot arc of Colin Baker’s time (on the other hand, I was totally buzzed on anti-cold medicine while I watched it) or Paradise Towers, a good story marred by terrible production values and a guest cast who seem to have been kidnapped from the audience of Top of the Pops, from Sylvester McCoy’s time.

The 2013 Cannes Film Festival has been and gone. Now I have stated my views about the Cannes Film Festival in these pages before. And this year’s festival and awards did absolutely nothing to change that perception. Anyway, the Palme d’Or went to La Vie d’Adèle a.k.a. Blue is the Warmest Colour a three-hour plus drama about a lesbian couple, while the grand prize of the jury went to the Coen brothers latest offering. However, Julie Maroh, author of the graphic novel in which La Vie d’Adèle is based, is not happy with the film, since she considers the sex scenes heteronormative and unrealistic.

What I find striking is how everybody has been remarking on the fact that a lesbian romance could win the Palme d’Or as some kind of great step forward for GLBT cinema. Meanwhile, at the Berlin Film Festival, an independent jury has been awarding the Teddy Award for the best queer film presented at the festival since 1987 (the inaugural winner was Pedro Almodovar BTW – his first award ever), because even back in the 1980s, Berlin had a significant number of films with GLBT themes in the running. Cannes, only 26 years behind Berlin.

That said, Steven Spielberg, this year’s president of the Cannes jury, really seems to enjoy lesbian romances. He was reportedly moved to tears by Aimée & Jaguar, a Jewish German lesbian romance during WWII (based on a true story – the surviving partner of the couple attended the premiere), which was the opening film at the Berlin Film Festival back in 1999.

While on the subject of GLBT issues, The Millions has interviewed speculative fiction’s most infamous homophobe Orson Scott Card in an attempt to offer a more nuanced coverage of Card and his work. Unfortunately for The Millions, the best way to offer a nuanced coverage of Orson Scott Card is not to let him talk at all, because the man keeps digging an ever deeper hole for himself. Anyway, in additions to gays and atheists (He explicitly says in the interview that there is no human being without religion – This human being manages quite fine, thank you), we can now add English majors, English teachers, university creative writing classes, universities in general, political correctness, pornography, experimental fiction, public funding for artworks that Orson Scott Card finds obscene and first person present tense narration and to the long list of things that Orson Scott Card hates. Oh yes, and he hates Germans, too, just because some of us believe that your religion does not give you the right to surgically alter the genitals of a non-consenting baby (scroll down past a lot of stuff about Mitt Romney and his wife). Honestly, by now I suspect that those who haven’t been offended by Orson Scott Card at some point are in the minority. At any rate, this non-religious German former English major and current English teacher who occasionally writes in first person present tense is proud to be disliked by Orson Scott Card.

National Public Radio has a nice article about the last remaining German speakers of Texas, descendants of German settler who came to Texas in the 1840s. Make sure to listen to the audio version, which has clips of two Texans speaking German. Found via Jay Lake, who has just listed me as one of his stops on his morning blog crawl.

For those who are following the travails of my hometown football club Werder Bremen, Werder has now hired a new coach to replace Thomas Schaaf who left/was made to leave not quite so mutually consensually after 14 years. The new coach is Robin Dutt, whose previous job was with the German football association DFB. Let’s hope he’s not a dud. Interestingly, a lot of Google News hits for Robin Dutt were from Indian news sources. Turns out – and I for one did not know this – that Dutt is the son of a German mother and a Bengali father.

I also have a trio of deaths to report:

Legendary SF Jack Vance died aged 96. I have enjoyed many of his works over the years.

German actress Hildegard Krekel died of cancer aged only 60. Ms. Krekel is one of the comparatively few celebrities I have ever seen “in the flesh”, since her husband Max Lorenz is a former Werder Bremen player. I recognized her before I recognized him BTW, because Hildegard Krekel was frequently seen on German TV and also heard as the dubbing voice of Helen Mirren and Bette Davis among others. Of the many shows in which she appeared I liked the little remembered Detektivbüro Roth (Detective Agency Roth) best. However, most Germans will remember Hildegard Krekel mainly as the daughter in the early 1970s sitcom Ein Herz and eine Seele, one of the many local adaptions of the British sitcom Till Death Us Do Part. Another adaption was the longrunning US sitcom All in the Family. Now I have never liked that show in any of its many incarnations – bigotry isn’t funny. Never mind that I suspect that a lot of the fans of the show in whatever incarnation secretly agreed with the bigot Alfred/Alf/Archie. So let’s remember Ms. Krekel for the many parts she played and not just for a single dated and unfunny sitcom.

Finally, Sarah Kirsch, one of the most famous German poets of the postwar era, died May 5 aged 78. The German paper Die Zeit has a longer appreciation which even includes some of her poems.

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