At Locus Online, Kameron Hurley has a great post about how focussing exclusively on all the big ideas and cool worldbuilding might not be the best way to sell your SF or fantasy novel to a general audience and that maybe focussing on the characters and/or plot might be a better idea.
I am inclined to agree with her as well, if only because I am far more interested in the characters than in big ideas and cool worldbuilding as well – and I am a longtime SFF reader. Take for example, this explanation by Charles Stross about the background of his duology Singularity Sky and Iron Sunrise. Now I read both books ages ago and disliked them a lot, because while they had some really neat ideas, the characters were thinner than cardboard and their supposed emotions did not make any sense. If I’d read this explanation before I tried reading the actual books, I’d have known not to bother, because the explanation makes it clear that the books were all about the big ideas (half of which I couldn’t even recall a few years later) and that the characters were an afterthought.
Meanwhile, at Fantasy Fraction, Leo Elijah Cristea weighs in on the ever popular subject of women in SFF. And for the record, is it too much to hope that 2014 will pass without a race- or genderfail incident? Yeah, I guess I just answered my own question.
For those who still aren’t aware that these things happen, Kelly Barnhill offers yet more examples of the crap women get for daring to speak up on the internet, particularly on feminism related issues. In this case, Kelly Barnhill got crap for daring to criticize a children’s movie called Mars needs Moms for perpetuating some nasty misogynist tropes.
The Boston Globe has an interesting article on whether Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol was influenced by the writings of female textile mill workers from Lowell, Massachusetts. Found via Jay Lake.
Finally, here is a bit of cuteness: Photos and a video of the newborn icebear baby in Bremerhaven’s Zoo by the Sea