I actually did watch tonight’s Germany vs. Ghana World Cup match – the interesting part of it at any rate. I missed the first twenty minutes or so. Afterwards, I watched Fantasia, which just happened to be on TV tonight.
One thing I noticed – aside from how fabulous Fantasia still looks 74 years after its first release – is that Fantasia is basically an attempt to convey what visual music synaesthesia feels like. Now I’m heavily music synaesthetic, so the film speaks to me. The person I was watching with is not music synaesthetic at all and has little affinity for music in general, so the movie didn’t work nearly as well for them. In fact, I suspect they would have preferred watching NCIS reruns.
But that’s all the football and Disney cartoons for today, so let’s have some other links, mostly about gender and SFF, because that’s one debate that never dies:
Ann Leckie has an interesting post about swearing and power differentials and what it says about power regarding who is allowed to swear in front of whom. Now I swear quite a lot and with impunity, as do my characters. And yes, there are people who don’t like that. Though interestingly, the people who are most likely to be upset by me swearing are older women.
Kari Sperring has a great post about living as a woman in a science fiction future and how problematic it is never to see yourself reflected in SF books, films, TV shows, etc… I share her sentiments in many ways, especially since I was also initially drawn to SFF, because it offered better roles for women than the mainstream stuff of the same era, only to end up feeling betrayed by the sexism inherent in much of the genre.
Not that everybody disliked the inherent sexism in the genre. In fact, Sandra Newman laments that science fiction isn’t as gonzo, bizarre and sexist anymore as it used to be in the good old days of Philip K. Dick and Cordwainer Smith at The Guardian. Now I’m not at all sad that the sexism and creepiness in the genre has declined somewhat, but if sexist, bizarre and offensive SFF is what Ms. Newman wants, we might have a few tips for her.
Jenny Gadget wonders why female readers and reviewers are expected to put up with books by (male) authors containing all sorts of sexist and blatantly offensive content, while male readers and reviewers whine that it’s so much work to find books by women. The post is a response to this post by debut SF writer Jon Wallace talking about writing “real women” who just happen to be sexbots (no joke) and this debate at Tor.com where some male book bloggers and reviewers go on about how hard it is to find books by women, when publishers mainly send them books by men and they’d rather read books by men, too. Now I have zero problems finding interesting books by women to read, especially since a lot of the dude-written and dude-focussed stuff doesn’t appeal to me. Writers of colour and QILTBAG writers require somewhat more effort, but again it’s not that difficult, if you’re willing to do the work.
Regarding Barricade by Jon Wallace, the SF novel with real women sexbots (at least the cover is sexbot free, unlike the monstrosity Tor forced on Charles Stross’ entry into the sexbot subgenre), the SFF genre’s resident curmudgeon Christopher Priest thoroughly savaged it in this review at Arcfinity, the harshness of which angered quite a lot of people. Meanwhile, Damien Walter believes that the genre needs more cruel and nasty reviews.
Now I’m not sure if the genre needs more nasty reviews and I haven’t read Barricade, nor am I likely to, but as I’ve pointed out before (also in response to a debate involving Christopher Priest coincidentally), Germany has something of a tradition of harsh and snarky reviews. The late Marcel Reich-Ranicki regularly served up much harsher fare than Priest, while German critic Denis Scheck once called a book “a literary abortion”, so I’m used to “reviewing as performance art”. Besides, it’s not as if US/UK genre critics are always gentle. For example, John Clute had very harsh things to say about one of Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville stories in this 2011 review at Strange Horizons. Oddly enough, there was little to no outrage on behalf of Carrie Vaughn, probably because she’s a woman writing urban fantasy and not a guy writing about sexbots and climate change.
Finally, here is the best headline ever: Firefighters rescue man from stone vagina in Tübingen. The gist of the story is that a guy tried to crawl into a sculture depicting a giant vagina and managed to get stuck, so firefighters had to free him.
ETA: There’s also an English language article about the incident available at SMH Australia as well as at Huffington Post UK. Well, that headline is irresistable.
Finally, enjoy these photos of flowers in my garden: