Do you have a minute to talk about the free market? You know, that thing in which if a book is bad you don’t read it?
I know, I’m insane, right? After all traditional publishing houses release books that are barely proofread, books that have no objective plot and books with unintentionally repulsive characters all the time. One could almost say that’s 99% of their production.
But what do they REALLY care about? Why books that portray a “protected minority” in a way that might offend someone, somewhere.
This week, in one of the many forums I’m on — and mostly skim, because I’m so bizarrely busy — I came across a question of how many and which writing books you’d read. These are the how-to-write books.
Inevitably, two or three people piped up to say that all books say different things, so they don’t read them.
Does sinal salute.
Okay, the contorted insanity of mingling politics and fandom has just hit a new high… or low… or sideways whatever.
Surely, it was a logical step, from banning people who wanted to attend your conventions, and whose politics you didn’t approve of, to keep black lists, so that people whose politics you didn’t approve of couldn’t even purchase a membership. That’s all well and good — well, no, not really — but the insanity in fandom said “Hold my beer and watch this.” Read more
Years ago, in a country far far away, when the writer was a wee sprout, and her manuscripts no more than a vague glint in her mind’s eye, she had a Portuguese teacher. Yes, they were almost all Portuguese. But this was a teacher of what is now called Language arts, and in the US used to be called High School English, or in Portugal, Portuguese. One of those attempts to teach uncouth youths to use their mother tongue with a modicum of grace and charm.
Anyway said teacher was a Communist Party Member, though otherwise a decent human being (No, really, it’s possible. She didn’t even ding me despite my rather vocal rebellion.) In any case, she’d gotten a little heavy handed on message. So, that morning we greeted her with a full choir rendition of Pink Floyd’s The Wall.
The Quiet Diversity of Robert Anson Heinlein – -by Christopher Nuttall
To cut a long story short, I wrote three reviews of Heinlein’s most popular and influential books for Amazing Stories. (You can find the first here.) In doing so, I realised that Heinlein had practiced a form of ‘quiet diversity.’ It seemed a good topic for an essay.
‘Diversity’ is a word that brings out some pretty mixed feelings in me.
On one hand, I appreciate being able to eat food from many different cultures and explore the history of many different societies. On the other hand, I frown at the idea that all cultures must be treated as equal when it is self-evidently true that they are not. And, on the gripping hand, I feel very strongly that characters must not serve as politically-correct mouthpieces for a writer (or a company’s) views on society. That does not lead to well-rounded characters, but to flat entities that are either instantly forgettable or laughable.
Diversity does not exist when a character is feted as the first [insert minority group character] to exist. Diversity exists when the presence of such characters is seen as unquestionable. Read more
When I was very young, and was first introduced to science fiction, I read a lot of things that objectively (and metaphorically) hurt my feelings and outraged my received opinions.
… Most things I read, actually. It’s part of what attracted me to science fiction, the ability to put myself in another situation where the givens I had in my world weren’t the same, and therefore I could sometimes see the logic of the other side. And sometimes I could see why the other side wasn’t being logical, which is just as valuable. Read more
Okay, it’s not New Years, yet, but I won’t see you till after New Years.
It’s been a very tough year. Very tough. It started with relatives dying, took some turns into odd personal health stuff. I ended up on Prednisone… 4? times for massive auto-immune attacks mostly brought on by stress. There were other things (including relatives health) adding to the stress, to the point sometimes I felt I was going to pop. Read more