As always, I may not take your advice ;)
Help me choose a video game!
Final Fantasy III (DS)
Final Fantasy IV (GBA, played on DS)
Chrono Trigger (DS)
Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle (PSP)
Epic Mickey (Wii)
Muramasa: The Demon Blade (Wii)
Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy XII
Dirge of Cerberus (PS2)
Persona 3 (PS2)
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time (PS2)
A Datin recalls her romance with an orang bunian. A teenage pontianak struggles to balance homework, bossy aunties, first love, and eating people. An earth spirit gets entangled in protracted negotiations with an annoying landlord, and Chang E spins off into outer space, the ultimate metaphor for the Chinese diaspora.
Straddling the worlds of the mundane and the magical, SPIRITS ABROAD collects 10 science fiction and fantasy stories with a distinctively Malaysian sensibility.
The post is here, if you're interested. The condition is that you review it on your journal or blog or Goodreads.
Reading this was like peeling an onion, layer by layer, tears leaking every step of the way.
At its heart, this book is about love, but it's also about jealousy, racism, class mobility, the westernization of Japan post-WWII & the emergence of the middle class.
I think this book is better than the source its adapting: Wuthering Heights. The English translation is the best English translation of any Japanese source material I've ever read. I hope that more of Mizumura's work gets translated into English.
I'll be thinking of this book for days; I'll be rereading it for years to come.
Avengers Assemble: Science Bros - I liked this much more than the first volume. For people loooking to jump in after the Avengers movie, I think this is a much better spot to start than volume 1.
The Hidden Land - I can definitely see how this & The Secret Country were originally published as a single tome, & it probably reads better that way? Regardless, I liked this one just as much as the first. In addition to Dean's prose & her commentary on daily life ("the [people] melted away around them as cats leave the room when people began to quarrel"). I've been saying this a lot lately, but I was glad to find this & The Secret Country used so that I can reread them many times in the future. & for now, I look forward to getting my hands on The Whim of the Dragon.
X-Men: Reckless Abandonment - I liked this as a wrap-up to the story's arc. I particularly enjoyed Pixie as a character.
Sadly, didn't care as much for the Domino/Daredevil story. But I think I'm getting the swing of X-Men, sort of?
X-Men: Primer - Technically a reread. It was nice to return to this with more X-Men background, having read the run-up that came before this new "reset to issue #1."
I'm a huge fan of the all-female cast, less so of Storm's mohawk :(
There's a lot going on & being set up, but it's a fun ride, & as a bonus, I like the art (hit or miss with me and Western comics).
Is there a collection or series about kids at the Jean Grey Academy & hanging out?
Alias, vol. 3: The Underneath - I think the thing with Alias that I like most is that it acknowledges that in a world of super heroes & massive popularity & ridiculous plots, there are also people with super powers who either cannot or choose not to engage at that level. There are other ways of living, & other ways of being heroes.
It seems to be a running theme that any Marvel series I enjoy, it will have either Jessica Jones or Carol Danvers (or both) hanging around in the background. They are my personal bat signal.
[don't pay to renew for me! I have the $$ and will do it when back from work/Up North]
Via rilina. You can tell a lot about a person from their music. Hit shuffle on your iPod, MP3 Player, etc. and put the first 10 songs! One rule, no skipping! Tag 10 people and pass it on!
1. Down With the Trumpets - Rizzle Kicks [on here via Teen Wolf complete season 2 playlist from 8tracks]
2. LA Song - Christian Kane
3. Stay and Defend - Wolf Gang
4. Angel of Music - Sarah Brightman [Phantom soundtrack]
5. Mama Who Bore Me - Lea Michele [Spring Awakening soundtrack]
6. Singing in the Rain/Umbrella - Glee cast, feat. Gwyneth Paltrow
7. The Small Print - Muse
8. 707 Goshitsu - NANA OST
9. Lucky - Bif Naked
10. Ready Aim Fire - Imagine Dragons
I am also not tagging, but participate if you feel so inclined.
How does a group balance existing according to its own principles while at the same time still getting stuff done? How does it deal with straying from those principles -- whether as an org, or on the individual level? How does it deal with toxic volunteers, especially when they're an otherwise effective worker? Conversely, how does it deal with ineffective volunteers who are otherwise individuals deeply committed to the principles?
Where are the tipping points? Put up with X amount of bullshit in order to get stuff done? Or kick out problematic people and risk not having enough staffpower to get that stuff done?
And, most importantly, how can we actually make it work?? What are the secrets to recruiting and retaining good volunteers? To creating a healthy organizational working environment? To getting stuff done while still upholding our own principles?
Can it be done?
X-Men: The Curse is Broken - I was grateful for the focus to return to Jubilee, and enjoyed this volume more than I have the last few.
I liked Pixie, too. I've seen her in a few comics, and am interested in learning more about her.
The art feels like a series of micro-aggressions to me - the center of a panel will be the back of a woman's spandexed ass, and you're looking at someone else *from between her legs*. Like, really? Obnoxious. Not to mention the breast-accentuation.
X-Men: Blank Generation - This arc was like a breath of fresh air after the previous few. Everyone has distinct personalities, the plot is actually interesting, etc.
I enjoyed seeing the team hanging out on their plane/ship, & actually talking strategy, as opposed to just showing up places & fighting.
The Secret Country - I loved this. As with The Dubious Hills, I love the way Dean includes details not often mentioned in fantasy novels - breezes, insects, too many stairs, etc.
The premise is that a group of cousins play-act a Shakespearean fantasy with magic & murder & etc. During the summer they're separated, their pretend world - "the game" - becomes real. (Maybe.)
I'm excited to read the rest of the trilogy, and also glad that this seems to be a series that will lend itself well to rereading. Not only are there many clues & nuances to the plot, but I really just enjoy Dean's prose.
Laura sure gives shoujo manga heroines a run for their money with her clumsiness, ;)
The worldbuilding is interesting, the way highways and roads are both real & not. The rules for various types of ghosts, etc. Rose is a very likeable protagonist. We see her most often in greasy diners, one specifically called Last Chance, which isn't fixed & seems to move around just as much as she does.
I sometimes find the writing to verge on the edge of cliche, but it never fully dips down into making me feel embarrasssed. And McGuire's writing sucks me in. I read the second half straight through, couldn't put it down.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - Shortlisted for the Booker, and rightfully so. The narrator's voice is both matter of fact and nonlinear. Unreliable, but honest. It's best to not know what's coming, so I'm purposely being a little obtuse.
I know of Fowler from WisCon, as she has attended many times in the past, and in fact co-founded the James Tiptree, Jr. Award.
There were references to Jo, Amy, and Beth from Little Women. But I didn't know how badly I needed to see Dicey Tillerman in a list of orphaned girls like Jane Eyre and Anne Shirley until she was. A genre of buldingsromans that had always felt coherent but disparate to me suddenly snapped together.
There are allusions to Star Wars throughout. I also enjoyed the comparison of Merry and Pippin in Isengard to the Romans sitting amid the ruins of Carthage.
I work with human subjects research for a living, and this book made me reflect upon animal research more than anything has before. It's timely, too. Last week, there was a semi-heinous Isthmus cover story called MOTHERLESS MONKEYS (http://www.isthmus.com/isthmus/arti
There's a human counterpart study related to that one: in the human study, babies go into an MRI scanner instead of having their brains cut up.
It was hard to put this book down. It pulls at you, & doesn't let go. The ending is perfect.
While it's a crossover event with Guardians of the Galaxy, I was able to follow the plot decently well despite being unfamiliar with the GoG.
This book is high on action but low on characterization, making me feel kind of "meh" about it. Clint Barton constantly cracking jokes about his own stupidity, Hulk did nothing for me, etc.
I don't regret having read it, but I'm glad I got this from the library & didn't buy it. The art didn't do much for me, either. I have higher hopes for DeConnick's run, which I believe follows this one.
Anne of Green Gables - I know I read this at some point in my childhood, but it was never a favorite series for me, even though my sister had them on the shelves.
It was my sister's copy that I borrowed; I picked it up while sitting in her living room during some family function.
I loved it, all of it. Anne herself is a critique on the silliness of Victorian society, & she also grows up into an understanding and gracious woman.
I'm really excited to read the next books in the series - I can't remember ever having read them, & I'm eager to see what Anne & Marilla do next.
The Kingdom of Gods - I'm having a hard time figuring out why I disliked this book so much, especially considering that I enjoyed the first two books in this trilogy quite a bit.
The dialogue, the endless exposition, all of it - I got two-thirds of the way through & just cannot stand it, cannot finish it. I think it's the pacing that's throwing me off, or perhaps Sieh's voice, I'm not sure.
Saga #21 - I miss Lying Cat.
When not going over poles, we switch between walk/trot/canter. Chief is a gaited horse, so his trot is very smooth.
Last night, I rode one of my instructor's other horses, a white horse named Jesse.
Jesse is 2 years older than Chief (so, Jesse = 20). The other person who rides Jesse is an 11-year-old girl, and as such he has six braids in his mane lol.
When we brought Jesse inside from his pasture, my instructor told me not to be surprised if he fell asleep in the cross-ties while I brushed him, and...THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED! I'm kind of shocked that he's able to fall asleep while I'm doing my thing with him, but I guess it's probably soothing. We had to wake him up a little aggressively so that he could cooperate with putting his bit/bridle on.
Jesse and I rode in a small circular gated thing that I'd never rode in before. With Jesse, I rode on an English style saddle, which so far I don't like at all. There's much less between you and the horse, and I feel less secure.
However, this didn't go as poorly as my previous attempts at English style riding, which was on a different horse (Jake).
We worked on posting, which is difficult for me. I have a hard time finding the rhythm unless I'm actually looking at Jesse's legs to see when the "outside" front leg is moving (aka, when I should stand up). This is super frustrating to me, because I'm used to having good rhythm musically.
We also worked on a position called two-point, which is sort of like the "standing" part of posting, but involves hovering over the saddle. This position is generally used for jumping. It takes a lot of muscles to do it!
Jesse's trot is MUCH more bouncy than Chief's. So far I really dislike English-style riding, I think. The bouncing makes me feel semi-out of control, although Jesse is a good horse & if he feels me losing balance, he'll slow back down to a walk right away.
Jesse is also a legit horse (remember that Chief is technically a pony), so when riding, I'm about seven inches higher off the ground, which feels like A LOT!
I guess one thing I do like about English-style is that the saddle is much less involved & therefore lighter, and I can carry it with no problem. (I struggle a lot with the Western saddle lol.)
I felt as though I had deeply betrayed Chief when I walked Jesse back to the pasture and gave him a cookie, but had none to offer Chief. I'M SORRY, CHIEF!! I AM A MONSTER!
Other points of amusement last night included the fucking cats. One cat would sit in the circular pen we were in, right in the path Jesse & I were walking, and even though we kept steadily approaching, the cat would get all, OH SHIT!! when we were right about to step on him, & then run off.
One cat also kept crouching in the weeds, & then when a few birds flew overhead (way overhead), he jumped into the air & swiped, as though he would get one - he must have really poor depth perception, idk.
I'm so grateful for this time, every week.
After the books, the Wizarding World tries to go back to normal as best it can. Trying to make up for his past deeds, Percy Weasley uses his position at the Ministry of Magic to issue arrest warrants for friends/family of former Death Eaters - whether they're actually guilty of any crimes or not. A sort-of-coping Draco Malfoy eventually meets up with Auror Potter, & things go on from there.
INSURRECTION. THE ENFRANCHISEMENT OF WIZARDS. A POLITICAL CAMPAIGN. A LOT OF TEA. PEOPLE BEING NICE TO KREACHER. PEOPLE ENJOYING THEIR FOOD EVEN WHEN SHIT IS HARD. EVERYONE WORKING TOGETHER OVER BOOKS AND LEGAL BRIEFS. THE INNER-WORKINGS OF BUREAUCRACY.
BASICALLY EVERYTHING I HAVE EVER WANTED IN AN HP FIC.
It was amazing. My ranting doesn't do it justice.
Toph and Aang having to deal with their pasts is also compelling, particularly Aang, the sole survivor of an entire race, who's trying to figure out how the Air Nation traditions he knows can live on, when it seems like the entire world has moved on without them. I'm eager to see how this trilogy will end.
Ms. Marvel, #3-6 - Finishing up the first arc & starting the second. I just really love this series. I love Kamala. I loved her conversation with Sheikh Abdullah in #6. Kamala is a hero I need. Reading the series is a delight.
Brunette Ambition - It's impossible for me to be objective this one, as Lea Michele is one of my most-admired & most-adored celebrities. It was a treat for me to hear her voice so strongly, unedited by Hollywood Reporter or other gossip sites.
I enjoyed the insights into her routines & how she keeps herself centered. I don't think I'll be able to take much of the advice, as a lot of the self-care tactics are costly.
Still waiting for a behind the scenes Glee cast tell-all, ;)
Gertrude and Claudius - Hamlet's always been one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, if not my most favorite.
This is my first Updike novel. While the prose is good & the writing technically great, the book as a whole is...kind of boring? A little disappointing. What I liked most were the glimpses at Hamlet and Ophelia. Mostly, I now want to reread Hamlet.
Maybe I need to create a "books: fanfiction" tag for books like these?!
Kitty Goes to War - I kind of had a hard time rating this one.
I dug Kitty trying to rehabilitate two army-created/trained werewolves. This entire series' comparison of lycanthropy to mental illness is why I stick around. Her encouragement of the guys to focus on one day at a time, one hour, one minute, then the next one, etc., is just spot on.
That said, I felt pretty dubious about this entire plot, as I work in human research administration professionally. I get that someone went rogue to create the werewolves, but the fact that all of this stayed somehow secret, *especially* in the VA, is ludicrous to me.
The Speedy Mart/wizard subplot was intriguing, although I could use a little more worldbuilding there.
& speaking of worldbuilding, Cormac's plot got laughably little screentime for how important his development was. I really hope that's further explored in future books.
I keep picking these books up when I'm feeling low, & Kitty is always inspiring to me. I hope I reread these many times in the future, but for now they're great on the first time through.
This one's a little different, though, because the protagonist spent 14 years as a koi, in a pond. Random, lol. I plan to read more!
March Story, vol. 1 - This was okay?! Paranormal stuff happening in what they call the 18th century but I'm pretty sure is the 19th, Europe. Very pretty art. Interesting thing with gender that I hadn't seen coming. It's a pity there only seems to be one volume out in English so far.
One Piece, vols. 13-15 - I found the first two volumes really boring. But now that Nami's sick & they're in a snow area trying to find the doctor, I'm finding it really interesting?! I like Vivi even though she's probably temporary. I like that Nami's illness shows how absolutely essential she is to the crew. I think in the first two volumes contained in this omnibus, I was having my typical shounen feelings - annoyed by neverending fights. UGH.
The Lives of Christopher Chant - I liked this WAY MORE than Charmed Life. Christopher is a much more interesting protagonist, and the I found the plot & world-building in this book to be much more fascinating, and I usually don't care about world-building so that's saying a lot.
The insights into everyone who becomes a character in Charmed Life are fascinating, and now I just want to reread certain parts of Charmed Life to see those characters later on. I really love Christopher, & plan to reread this book in the future.
I LOVED the Goddess/Millie. It's so important to me that she found a life she wanted to emulate through books, and let her fictional heroine guide her own actions in a time of crisis - staying loyal to her friends because that's what Millie would do - genius! So special.
Nineteen Seventy-Nine by blamebrampton - The last year of Regulus Black's life, which I really, really liked. Even while getting in with the Death Eaters, Regulus checks in on Sirius to make sure he's okay. He accidentally bumps into Lily Potter, with whom he forges an unlikely friendship. This shows Regulus getting deeper & deeper into the Death Eater group, even while questioning some of their methods. His compromises & eventual inability to compromise are fascinating to watch. I appreciate the way that Lucius Malfoy tries to mentor him, too. I'm still looking forward to reading more HP fic by this author.
I think that reading Rowling's latest Cormoran Strike novel has made me really, really long for her to write some adult Harry Potter books, which is why I'm trying to fill the hole with politically intelligent fanfiction.
I usually dislike plots that can be resolved by two people simply talking to one another, so I spent most of the book just wanting Cat to TALK to Chrestomanci. Still, I like the world & more importantly, the writing, so I'll be reading more.
Alias, Vol. 2: Come Home - Still really enjoying the writing in this series, which is about Jessica Jones, a former super hero who's now a detective.
The use of frames/etc. is a little different, and I'm interested to see how it translates to TV when the Netflix show based on this series gets made. In the meantime, looking forward to volume 3.
For the Public Good by blamebrampton - This was recommended to me on twitter so long ago that I can't remember who recced it >_<
"Harry is loaned to the Muggle government to assist relations between the two governments after the London bombings. When his counterpart in the Communications team comes to him with evidence of a plot to expose wizarding Britain, he is all ears. And only in part because the messenger has such a familiar voice."
The counterpart in the Communications team is, of course, Malfoy. This takes place post-canon, & I really liked it. Catnip for me, sort of - tons of politics & bureaucracy, I actually found the Harry/Malfoy pretty sweet, & it was funny, too.
I'm going to look for more by this author.
One Bird - I bought this book a few months ago, during Frugal Muse's going out of business sale.
I read most of Mori's books as a kid. Since I grew up in Green Bay, her fiction was readily available, as she taught nearby at St. Norbert's.
One Bird has some similarities to her more famous Shizuko's Daughter in that it's about a Japanese high school girl coping with an unhappy home life. In One Bird, Megumi finds a role model in Dr. Mizutani, who shows her how to rehabilitate sick birds.
The book spends a lot of time on the impossible choices women had to make due to the unfair societal expectations people had based on gender, even with this being 1975. It's an interesting insight and commentary. I really enjoyed how Megumi's support system eventually allows her to challenge the virtual prison she's been placed in, disallowed from visiting the mother who's left her for the next seven years.
Most of all, though, I appreciate Mori's writing. Her prose is cutting, just as visceral for me now at 28 as it was when I was 10 or so, reading this the first time.
Sweethearts - I really loved reading about Jenna's relationship with her childhood friend, Cameron.
Jenna's transformed herself, but never forgotten him or the impact he had on her when she was still unpopular and had no other friends.
There's a lot of tension when he shows up - she and her mother and shifted upwards in terms of class, she has a boyfriend, & a group of friends.
Cameron & Jenna's relationship felt real to me.
It makes me wonder what it'd be like if people with whom I used to be close to showed back up & I tried to fit them in with my life as it is now.
I guess it's hard to write about this one! Anyway, I've been tracking down Sara Zarr's novels, & loving each one. I particularly enjoy how important class is, is each protagonist's viewpoint and story.
The Housekeeper and the Professor - A housekeeper & single mother comes to keep house for a retired mathemetician suffering from a memory problem: while he can remember everything up until 1975, his current memory only lasts for 80 minutes.
There's a romance for numbers here, as well as the quiet creation of a found-family.
I liked it quite a bit, although I probably won't reread it.
The Lady Elizabeth - It's nice to read this after Weir's other historical fiction novels about Lady Jane Grey & Katherine Grey/Katehrine Plantagenet. Elizabeth learns how to play the game, & *wants* to play the game.
This book covers Elizabeth's life from birth up to Mary I's death.
I don't have much to say about it. Weir's prose is very readable and engrossing, but at the same time not particularly memorable.
Having read this, I'd love to read more about her reign.
Tokyo on Foot - I reserved this because Gerard Way tweeted about it.
A French twenty-something spends six months living in Tokyo because his girlfriend has an internship. While there, he sketches every day with colored pencils. This isn't a normal sketchbook - he shows detailed maps of each neighborhood in Tokyo, prefaced with a picture of that neighborhood's koban (police box).
Sometimes, he sketches the labels that come on expensive fruit, or copies of receipts from cafes, tickets that get left when he parks his bike somewhere he shouldn't, the contents of a cup noodle meal, etc.
This made me remember a lot of little details from my own trips to Japan, especially the "thousands" of potted plants that appear outside many people's houses/store fronts.
A couple of comments made me uncomfortable - overtones of transphobia, and also a couple comments about fat people (showing a group of high school girls & then saying "There's always one fat one") left me cold, preventing this from receiving a higher rating. He has some other observations of people that feel a little mean-spirited, too, :/
The Dubious Hills - Also purchased when Frugal Muse was going out of business.
This is a beautiful fantasy novel, one in which people consume many pots of tea, plan for childcare, prepare food, & herd cats. It contains the type of mundane details that I wish more speculative fiction would include.
The premise is that wizards eliminated war by parceling knowledge among the members of a community so that they have to rely on one another to navigate through life. One person teaches, one person experiences pain, one person knows plants, etc. Then, the wolves come.
In her review, Jo Walton said this book expands the possibility of what fantasy can be. It really does.
The Silkworm - As with The Cuckoo's Calling, I find the Cormoran Strike novels less condemning than The Casual Vacancy (essentially an evisceration of the white middle class), but still focused on issues of class, wealth, inequality, & human nature.
Rowling's prose is masterful, the vocabulary in particular.
I love the protagonist's reflections on fame. (His estranged father is a rockstar.)
Strike is a veteran, & had part of his leg blown off in Afghanistan. His disability is something that never goes away, is never forgotten by the author. It affects his ability to perform his job, how he travels, how other people perceive him.
I find the Strike novels almost as difficult to put down as the Harry Potter books.
While I rarely by hardcover books brand new as soon as they come out, I did with this one & I don't regret it. I can't wait for the next one.
Plume 1-4 - I picked these up in the $0.25 bin at the comics shop. It's apparently based on a webcomic. It gave me a lot of feelings reminiscent of Min-Woo Hyung's Priest manhwa, but I think I like this heroine a bit more. The art style is really great. I asked my comics guy to order the fifth issue for me, which wraps up this introductory arc. I believe this printing was funded by a Kickstarter; to read the rest, I'll need to read it here.
One Piece, vols. 10-12 (omnibus) - A decent continuation of the plot from the previous volume. I liked Luffy's superpower actually being used (as opposed to a glaring continuity error). I also liked Usopp finding the will to fight after thinking about facing his courageous friends afterward if he hadn't.
I enjoyed the closure to Nami's arc - she's my favorite character. It's fun to see the gang finally hanging out in the Grand Line, even if it's not going as they expected. I hope that Tashigi sticks around. She seems like an interesting character.
For 12, I felt pretty meh of the denoument of this arc?! But the next volume starts a new one!!
Homecoming - This series used to be a childhood favorite of mine, & I was in need of a comfort read.
I still really love this, & it came at a good time for me. I like how the kids respond positively to being treated like adults, how much they trust one another, the way the entire book is about class privilege, and how awesome Dicey is.
I'm glad this comfort reread held up for me.
Dicey's Song - This is another reread; it's probably been at least fifteen years since I'd last read it. Dicey defying her teacher over something she wrote made me remember why I identified with her so strongly.
Even though I knew what would happen, the ending still made me cry.
I love this family and the community they create. The truths everyone teaches one another are comforting.
I'm really glad to have returned to this series, & hope to keep progressing.
A Dangerous Inheritance - This was a good follow-up to "Innocent Traitor," which I'd read back in April, & focused on Lady Jane Grey.
This book picks up where that one left off, focusing on the life of Jane Grey's sister, Katherine. I found Katherine Grey to be pretty stupid, but luckily this book has two heroines. Interlaced with Katherine Grey's life is the story of Katherine Plantagenet, the bastard daughter of Richard III. Both Katherines live mostly unhappy lives, manipulated by the people around them due to their bloodlines. They fall in love with people they shouldn't. And they both have an unhealthy obsession with what happened to Richard III's nephews, famously known as the princes in the Tower.
I like Weir's historical fiction in part because I know she's an historian and a lot of her plots are based on facts. Her afterward reveals what she made up, and from where she found her facts.
I loved the small glimpses we got of Elizabeth I in this book, and I'm looking forward to reading the next book, which focuses on her: Captive Queen.
A True Novel, Book I - This is only the first "half," but the library only sends me one at a time, & at 450 pages I'm counting this as its own "book," even though I haven't read the second volume yet.
This is technically a retelling of Wuthering Heights. The characters are Japanese. It's a book about wealth, racism, westernization, the effects of World War II on Japanese society, and human nature.
I've consumed a lot of Japanese-created media, but this book is unlike anything I've ever read. Mastserful. I kept having to remind myself that it's fiction.
There's a family tree in the back - wish I'd known that all the way through.
I really hope they translate more of Mizumura's novels into English. In the meantime, I am very much looking forward to book II.
Due to construction, west-to-east evening traffic has been abysmal this summer, whether one is traveling by bus or by car.
The b-cycle station is not really conveniently located for getting on to the bike trail, & I had to back-track a couple blocks.
Still, the bike ride portion took about 18 minutes.
Overall, I only saved 5 minutes. But all of the start-and-stop that riding the bus involves - particularly the evening drivers on my route, ugh - usually leave me feeling sick.
Biking doesn't make me feel sick like that, however it did wipe me out for the rest of the evening.
My mind felt good - it was a great way to let things go after work. But my body was exhausted. I'd previously planned to cook dinner that night, & I had to microwave something instead.
My second ride was this evening. The Boyfriend and I walked took a walk for a few blocks, & then I grabbed a b-cycle & took it to the market to buy a couple food things for the week. It was a nice ride, mostly, but other bikers kept passing really close to me without shouting out, "On your left!" or etc., which made me feel anxious, :/
It's pretty buggy, too.
I'd sort of like my own bike for trips like these. I tried checking out the nearest St. Vincent DePaul's bike sale Saturday morning, but it was a bust.
NK Jemisin’s Guest of Honor speech at Continuum 2013 included a call for a Reconciliation within SF/F. “It is time that we recognized the real history of this genre, and acknowledged the breadth and diversity of its contributors...[I]t’s time we took steps -- some symbolic, some substantive -- to try and correct those errors. I do not mean a simple removal of the barriers that currently exist within the genre and its fandom, though doing that’s certainly the first step. I mean we must no make an active, conscious effort to establish a literature of the imagination which truly belongs to everyone.” What would a Reconciliation look like? How can we start one? How can we grow one?
This is not a transcript! But I tried. I faded a lot toward the end - I need to go to bed ^^;;
ALSO, I suggested this panel. *mic drop*
firecat also did a write-up here, & included a number of links for context.
NK: I am losing my voice, oh, here’s the mic on!
This panel is Reconciliation Within SF/F. I have corralled, well, WisCon corralled people to discuss this with us. I’m going to read the panel description and then we will do introductions. I’m the moderator, by the way. [reads panel description]
DN: Many people know me. Not a writer. Been a seller, editor, fan on the chair of the Tiptree Motherboard, lots and lots of stuff. Saw this panel on the schedule, I checked “please” b/c I thought panel was so exciting. Then Nora asked what we are going to talk about, and I thought I should KNOW what I want to say. I did some research and reading and I’m totally excited to be talking about this topic.
MT: I’m a board member of Chicago Nerd Social Club. I’m not a sf writer YET. Do a lot of writing in creative non-fiction, exploring identity within a lot of SF/F, what that has meant for formation of identity for gender. With Grace. Essay published with Jim Hines’s guest writer series in invisible anthology. Saw this on schedule, really want to be on it. Nora’s speech was something I found extremely inspiring. Idea of getting into nitty gritty and how we can make SF/F more inclusive and talking about how the history has been not so inclusive is really important to do.
EG: I write SF. This is the next step. I was very struck with Nora’s speech, which I read. Been to Australia, know what reconciliation means in Australia, know how much widespread support there is for it. I’ve been part of community that is working for diversity since the sixties. Started out being very small. It’s larger now, and we can move it a step ahead. So the community, the whole community, becomes part of a process. That’s what Reconciliation is. In Australia and here. Move beyond individual people of good intent to entire community and getting them to buy into the process. Nora’s comment to establish a lit. of the imagination in which everyone truly involves far more people. Writers, editors, readers, conventions. It’s a huge thing. And it’s very doable.
AH: They all said what I was going to say! I write novels, essays, plays. Teach at a college. Musical theater. Teach screenwriting and playwriting. Told my students I want their work out in the world. I need to change the world to make a place for all my students and all the people I know who want to write. To me, that’s what SF/F is about. This is a core issue. I want to get at the core issues, and beyond the snark. I want to get beyond snark to building the world we want.
NKJ: Want to note I’m the moderator, and also its subject, which is a bit strange. Going to strange my thought process behind that speech, but other than that won’t talk much. Thoughts on reconciliation have evolved and changed. I will talk more about this in my GOH speech on Sunday. For now, let’s go with what I said last year. For those who didn’t fully understand context, I went to convention in Australia intending to do usual touristy things. Figured I’d see kangaroos and some stuff. But in order to acclimate to the city, I just walked around and visited museums. Went to Melbourne City Museum. While at the museum, one thing that struck me repeatedly was how honest that museum had been about how Australia’s indigenous population had been treated. Until 1970s, classified as fauna - as animals. During the worst of the early colonial period, there were hunts and barbecues. Not kidding about the barbecues. Scalpings, and so on. Not of white people - the indigenous. This was all in their museum. They weren’t holding it back - yeah, it was just that bad. Part of the healing process for coming out of this time was their willingness to acknowledge that. Struck by public meetings - a pause, and a brief acknowledgment of the land they were on, that was stolen, and gave respect to the indigenous people. “We took it, we’re trying to be nice now.” To the degree that you can.
Moment of immense sadness - this would never happen in the US. Same thing happened here except barbecues - the US can barely manage an apology let alone an acknowledgment of just how bad it was. Constantly hear politicians wanting to rebrand and rename what happen. What to call slavery the Triangle.
AH: In Savannah, want to call them the workers instead of slaves. Tourist ride on a boat. This was recently.
NKJ: That was my thought process. If we can’t even acknowledge what happened, of course you can’t move on from it. That was my thought in SF/F. Still not acknowledging a lot of what happening, not acknowledging what’s still happening, nor longterm impact. Genre dominated by white male voices. That wasn’t nature. Start with questions in panel. What would a Reconciliation look like?
EG: I think if you’re really talking about a reconciliation of the literature, you need everybody involved in that. You need the writers, how do you bring them in/get them involved? They have to read one another’s work. White people read white fiction. Black people read black fiction and white fiction. Native Americans, if isolated, could read…? Ways to get into groups and make it cool to read lots of different kinds of literature. The problem here lies with white people reading white people stuff. Problem not with POC. POC do read divergently. I think really that’s where it would start. Readers read divergently, publishers publish things that diverge. Editors buy divergent books. There will be a feedback effect.
AH: As I was thinking about this, thinking about what do I want? I want what EG is talking about. People to read what storytellers offer. To have that be available because when less and less opportunity. We have the Internet and you can find if you know what to look for. Having accessibility means knowing what to look for. We all know a certain set of names, but don’t know another set of names. We’ve got to have access to possibility of reading all those wonderful writers. Asking students when they come, and they don’t know any of the writers I’m about to read. I get them excited and then they are. But then some of them are afraid - take Magic If class, and surprised there are black women writers. I’m standing there - you’re the professor? Then they go wow, this is good. And it doesn’t kill them. I want people to risk themselves. In order to have reconciliation, in order to forgive, in order to move, you have to leap. You’ve gotta leap to it. We have to make risk fun. Like, this is not my comfort zone, I might feel lost the first time I read this book. After ten, my students are all like, “Yeah, we know it all.” But then they want to go out and read and find more. They’re launched. They become fluent. See things they couldn’t see when they read the first piece. By reading, you become a reader. Not before.
EG: Have a plan for that, don’t know how to implement it. Amazon and others include “more like this,” include more with POC. Someone needs to provide them with more books like that. Match up, “If you like this book, you’ll like all these others by people you didn’t think to read.”
NKJ: If I am looking for books on Amazon and looking for Daniel Abraham’s latest, I see my books.
DN: E and A went toward the future. I’m struck by Nora’s speech and reconciliations happening in Australia and South Africa and how they look at the past. In South Africa, acknowledged the land. Didn’t realize it was a thing until just now. When I was listening to Nora just now, thinking about what it would be read if in the beginning of every book/magazine, a boxed statement that said, “This genre is historically white and male. …And so is this book.” Or, “And this book isn’t.” Just an acknowledgmenet of the ground you stand on. Kernel of something in it, worth playing with.
ET: Like the idea of being able to do that. Lots of classes I’ve taken, been SF literature, it’s the same authors over & over without any acknowledgment of why that is, why every time you look through a syllabus, it’s Asimov, Heinlein, Tolkien. Integrating that acknowledgment that the genre has always been more than those authors. There have been WOC, queer authors, it’s not a new thing. It’s actually not something you need to be in a certain mindset to get into. If you love the genre, you’ll love these writers even if you’re not familiar with them. Even going to a bookstore, “If you like George RR Martin, you will like X.” Conscious effort to put a variety of authors on those cards. Doesn’t have to be big gestures. All little things you can make to normalize that the genre is more than straight white male voices with straight white male characters. So when you pick up the book, “Oh, it’s been written by a black woman, it’s still going to be really good because it’s of the genre.”
NKJ: Next question we had talked about was tackling the harm that has been done. A reconciliation takes place after a great harm. In South Africa, it came after apartheid. In Rwanda, after the genocide. In Australia, the genocide and ongoing treatment. After they were taken off the fauna list. Because of the response I’ve gotten on that Reconciliation talk, was there enough harm done in this genre to reckon a reconciliation process? Examples of what and why a reconciliation would be necessary.
ET: Two examples. There was a class I was taking last year, a massive online classes. Talking about gender in comics. Actually fairly new thing to tackle. Male/female sexuality presentation. Several weeks in, looking, and there’s not a single character of color being discussed. None of that. Couple of classmates also POC and I were tweeting at the professor, asking why we’re not discussing them. Giving us the idea that talking about gender in comics defaults to white POV. Her answer boiled down to, talking about gender in comics is already complicated. Talking about race too makes it more complicated. Have to save that until next class. Assumption that talking about race makes something complicated is a huge hump to get over. C2E2 has been good in past couple years in having discussions about diversity and representation. Two panels about diversity in general. One about LGBTQ issues in geek culture. Three about women’s issues in geek culture. None about race. Someone, at least one person, submitted a fantastic panel looking at black women and identity of being a nerd. She was told it’s a great idea, but there were too many fantastic ideas and we couldn’t take it. They had sexual identity, gender identity, diversity in general, and deliberately not looking at race - not doing it on purpose, but it’s like they don’t want to touch that issue b/c it feels complicated or feel uncomfortable spotlighting it. Huge hurdle - how can we talk about how race is an issue in SF/F unless we’re willing to have them in the first place?
NKJ: There’s an historical compartmentalization in marginalization. Fitting in with a panel seen done over and over. Shoving off of those issues into the political - out of the normal center of whatever it is you want to have a conversation about. Assumption that you have a white default & everything else is other. Inherently politicized because of that default. Trying to have a conversation about inclusiveness, who is involved/who is supposed to be here. Impossible to have that convo. People think inclusive means extra, means additional effort.
EG: Assumption that default, that the neutral, that there IS neutral state.
DN: Not using the word scared. Nora, you said we’re never going to have the reconciliation in the US. I hope you’re wrong, but I think you’re right. Amazing to me how frightened most white people are about talking about race, saying the word, admitting people have races. There are ways it’s a completely made up thing, but in daily life it’s terrifying to me how terrified other people are. Maybe too complicated, etc. So scary. For me, I talk about it every chance I get to everybody I can. Only thing I can do to demystify it a bit.
NKJ: Resonating it. Fear comes from a sense of threat. The feeling that if we acknowledge the contributions of these groups we’ve tried to keep out, there’s a question mark and like, profit in there? But it seems to me reasoning of people who are so resistant to having these conversations is that if we admit for example that…
DN: Worked on size acceptance and fat liberation. If you say, “Fat women are beautiful,” huge group of thin women who immediately hear, “You are not beautiful.” That’s a quick example.
NKJ: Part of American thought. Our culture built around idea that THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE group in power. If not white men, society will be taken over, we will grind them all beneath our heel!
AH: There’s rage, too. “I didn’t do anything!” right? I’m not responsible, I didn’t own slaves, I didn’t beat women, .
AUD: NOT ALL MEN!
AH: Systemic and then the individual saying, “I can’t take all of this!” & therefore I won’t deal with any of it.
NKJ: For example: Read only the first Game of Thrones. And I have not followed the TV show, don’t watch much TV. Giving a talk at Brooklyn Museum. Two young black women fans were shaking with rage, I had said something to effect of, “Assumption in epic fantasy that medieval Europe was basically white.” If you say they were a few brown people there, just a few (there were more than a few), medievalPOC blog was instrumental in getting across just how many. Queen Elizabeth tried to get rid of them b/c so many, then she realized she couldn’t b/c so many.
Me as a person who thinks she knows something about history, educated, writes epic fantasy - I didn’t know that! And yet, George RR Martin who describes his series as realistic & constantly defends himself as realistic - two girls upset got into it on his board, said why we see only a few POC and only exist in narrow range of stereotypes? Immediately attacked by fans, and Martin said something vaguely disparaging about the topic. No folks like that back them, they weren’t there.
We see the fantasy population that not only is wedded to false notions of what actually was, but willing to fight you if you try and change it to reality. They will hurt you, they will send you death threats, they will do terrible things. This is an example of the harm we’re talking about. This is violence. This is conceptual violence. Violence being done to our ability to have fun reading epic fantasy. In order to read epic fantasy, have to be willing to swallow a level of white supremacy that I shouldn’t have to swallow. We are so inculcated in the idea that this is the way it has to be that we’re not willing to change.
I’m sorry, I’m talking too much.
ET: I have a hard time understanding why we can’t have those convos. Fans. Writers aren’t perfect. Why can’t we have those conversations about Westeros or the story/we love it, let’s take the story apart and look at how it’s reflecting these problematic tropes. The more we learn, it’s not the way that it works. Defensiveness that comes out is like attacking a person’s essence of who they are b/c of the things that they like as opposed to ideas and the things that they like. Biggest problems in having a reconciliation - our identities are so deeply wedded to the things we’re fans of. If saying something is problematic, interpreted as, “there’s a problem with YOU.” Having those conversations is extraordinarily difficult. Saying someone can still like something & still see there are problems is good.
EG: You are criticizing them as people. They’re closing themselves off to part of reality. Not everybody who reads a writer, but some people who become so identified with the work, they become deeply invested in what that work is about. Then, the way you look at the world is skewed in a way you’re not perceiving reality correctly, you are telling them you’re doing something wrong. You’re right to tell them that, how can a SF writer pretend we live in a white world? We don’t. Won’t live in a white future, too. You’re doing them a favor but might not be perceived that way.
AH: I write historical fantasy. People want to argue with me about what happened in history. V. interesting. In futuristic, had a world only spoken a few language. Someone in US: “My God, how could all those people end up speaking only one language having come from all these other places?” I didn’t even know what to say. I meet them, they’re telling me about it. I asked their credentials/what’s their basis. They said, women didn’t make films. This is just another fantasy. I said more women made films at the turn of the 20th century films than they do. I’m a scholar - I actually wrote a master’s thesis on this. Guy says, “Oh, really?” I say often, I’m a professor of theater at Smith, people don’t acknowledge that. Not taken seriously, what you do is devalued. I constantly have to explain that what I say might be true. I don’t get the benefit of the doubt. We have to start asking who are we questioning and why. Maybe I should do some homework, maybe I should question MYSELF. We’re imbued in reality we grow up in. Before we leap, maybe I should go and check this first. Look that up. Before I say, “This is how it is,” with authority. Yet I get people speaking with authority on things I am an authority IN. I can’t get the kind of secure place to play as an artist because I’m constantly defending my position. I’m not just writing it, I’m defending it. Part of the reconciliation for me would be someone to read my writing and say, “Wow, your paragraphs,” instead of, “How dare you have Native Americans in your fantasy,” you know?
ET: Some of us are more willing and used to questioning our assumptions because that’s how we’re raised, because we have to prove ourselves constantly. We check, we triple check, if I open my mouth and I’m wrong, it’s that much worse. People with privilege, don’t check their sources, doesn’t occur to them. Please check your sources? Check your assumptions about who’s speaking. When you read something & come upon internal “Wait, no, that can’t be right, I need to tell that person they’re wrong.” Stop, think for a second, Google. Then you can go back and talk. Taking five minutes is going to save everybody a huge amount of problems.
DN: Take that a step further and say, “I need to tell that person they’re wrong.” Often, you DON’T need to tell a person they’re wrong. Those kinds of - really? That’s really interesting, what’s your source? If people ask George RR Martin & AH in the same tone of voice - like, “I didn’t know medieval Europe was all white, what’s your source?” That’s a really interesting reconciliatory gesture.
NKJ: Going to questions soon. Wanted to bring up one another example, which is the assumption of expertise or correctness. Thinking, is Daniel Older in here? Anyone affiliated with Long Hidden? Please check my facts on this. I half-watched on Twitter. Long Hidden anthology came out recently, deliberately intended to be unheard voices in SF/F genre. Number of stories in voices and tones and styles that are atypical within the genre. Recently a review of this book in Strange Horizons. Review tossed off in an offhanded sort of way, when people use dialect in fiction, it’s a literary trick. It’s a shame this otherwise great story was damaged by careless use of this trick. Person who wrote that story speaks in this dialect. Whole point was to bring dialects we don’t hear into public sphere. Daniel Jose Older, one of the editors, took exception. Pointed out among other things, the fallacy. Also that dialect permeates American literary canon. James Joyce, Twain, all people lauded. James Baldwin said you can imply it - remember, minstrel shows, darky dialect? If you use it, we don’t want to hear it, seen as minstrel shows. After Baldwin said that, white writers started using this as something against using it. Apex responded with an editorial, working with an author who had dialect, struggled between how much to include to not be accessible. Tobias Buckell did it a certain way. He is now the James Baldwin of SF.
ET: He made an interesting point, about Apex article in general. Ended up not being about the dialect so much as reframing the discussion to be about the editor’s feelings as a white woman trying to do the right thing, and no she wasn’t racist because she was concerned about dialect. Can we not reframe it to be about white tears and feelings? If you want to have a discussion about dialect, keep it framed on what you’re trying to have the discussion about. It’s not about someone’s feelings about not being a good person. It’s not helping or moving the discussion forward. You’re reframing it to be about the privileged view point.
NKJ: How many voices have been policed out of the genre? Could Ancillary Justice have been published a few years ago? (lost entire thread here, sorry.)
EG: Thinking about dialect issue for quite some kind. Both practical POV and a sort of Irish heritage POV. One of most popular writers from 19th/20th writers wrote in dialect. Left-leaning wildly liberal journalist. Wrote fabulous stuff, hilarious funny. Written in Irish dialect. Very difficult to read. Can only be read aloud. I tried to translate it, and found it was impossible to take the words he’s saying and put them into conventionally spelled English. You lose something in doing that. People writing in dialect they can hear, they’re not faking it. They’re hearing something that cannot be told in another way. Not easily translated.
NKJ: What is wrong with asking the reader to be multilingual?
AH: I’m from the theater, I listen to voice. Use not just what’s in the quotes. Nalo Hopkinson, writing the whole narrative in the dialect. The meaning/understanding of the world, the perspectives, the cosmology, are in the [lost] of the words. [more thoughts lost] I think we can go there. You know, a lot of people don’t understand physics, right? When I write that, I don’t get as many complaints. They go there. It’s really distressing me - where we will go. We don’t want to talk about some things, therefore we don’t make an effort. This country in particular, we’re afraid of more than one language. Because it’s about power.
DN: When a white man makes up a dialect out of nowhere, it wins the World Fantasy Award. I’ll leave that adjective out of it…
AUD: Junot Diaz: Motherfuckers will read a book that is one-third Elvish, but write a few sentences in Spanish and we’re taking over.
AUD: Do you think it’d trivialize fantasy to [lost]?
NKJ: People put what they want on to it. I write about things that don’t exist, people assume I was out to get white people in the Inheritance Trilogy. You can’t divorce race in this country.
AUD: Inconvenient truth problem here. If we acknowledge what we’ve done to POC, then we have to do something about it.
AUD Isabel: Asked question about quantifying the harm, trying to talk - has there been sufficient harm to justify reconciliation? I thought about examples. I thought Michi was going to talk about death threats and rape threats. When Andrea talking about having to prove her qualifications, that affects your career, your ability to sell a book, speaking engagements, tenure. These are quantifiable losses. In feminist circles, if a woman makes 75-cents, over her lifetime, that’s X amount of dollars. How can we quantify the harm so that we CAN justify a reconciliation?
NKJ: Any statisticians? Or actuaries? Statistic of women losing money over money, we could say loss to women authors and POC who could not get a slate on Book Con. A chunk of BEA exclusively white and male, and a cat. They now have a diversity panel, yes it’s much better.
AUD: Fascinated by idea of dialect. There are many groups who speak dialects of English but still have to understand/practice standardized English. [Lost some sentences.]
AUD: Trains our brains, trained to hear and understand different kinds of nuances. I don’t really understand what the problem is. A reflection of a reality that we live in. Why would it still be so controversial to use dialect? People do it all the time every day.
AH: My answer is power. Language is power. To say, you can’t speak English and you must speak mine, is about power. My language orders the world, you speak my language because I am in power. Those whose dialect is the standard don’t have to learn anything else. Those who speak two languages are the dumb ones. In the US, how we defined ourselves was partly by power dynamic. Take all Africans and make them speak English, don’t want Spanish people having any kind of foothold, we will define our political reality using culture, which we do all the time. We forget our history. It’s about power.
AUD Ian: Comment is that all I’ve heard about question of framing what the harm does, is always about the harm to people on the downside. Women, POC, whomever. I don’t actually believe that’s accurate, that’s a loser argument in getting white guy who doesn’t care, to care. MLK used to say you can’t keep a man down without staying down with him. Does anybody on panel want to talk about harm to majority position?
DN: Eileen did speak to that in beginning. How much we’ve lost - not just loss of compassion, heart, or whatever. Loss of what we could have read, what we could know. All you need to do is look at Octavia Butler’s books & wonder how many black voices every bit as a good did not have her luck/moment/strength to battle against all the obstacles? How many women, disabled people? I Feel like I’ve lost an enormous amount, personally. Further you are up the privilege chain, the worse it is.
EG: Feel self-conscious thinking about it. Feel very strongly that white people have lost knowledge that POC can bring. The warmth. Enormous number of wonderful interactions that white people - right off, don’t talk to black people, move away from them on the bus? Makes me so unhappy to think about that. The fact is that by that, the active oppressors are losing so much. With a slight shift, they could regain. Could enjoy life so much more.
NKJ: Will briefly say one of the reasons why I hesitate to reframe the argument to what white people/men lose is, they already dominate the conversations.
AUD: From Canada. Bit of a different perspective on reconciliation. In there, it was “reconciliation.” Committee is wrapping up, how many people know that? Not very many. Almost no attention. First Nations saw how superficial it was. At the same time, reconciliation can’t happen until acknowledgement. At the same time, a study on how many First Nation women - how many murdered? Number was shocking to them. What is government doing in response? Nothing. They said we don’t need to do more, we’ve done our reconciliation.
AUD: Just read TNC’s on case of reparations. Would love to see that in SF. People get just the facts, the history, over and over, every time, really loud, no blushing, just no, this is what happened. Why do you think Heinlein is the best? I will tell you why you think Heinlein is the best.
NKJ: In 1st/2nd volumes of Dark Matter, there is an excellent rundown on racial history in science fiction. My mind was blown when I realized WEB DuBois wrote SF.
AUD: TNC wrote piece on reparations. Everyone should read it. About the fear - the majoritarian group has fear that once minority gains power, will act exactly like majority. Fear of revenge, and then fear of justice having vengeful motivation as opposed to just motivation. Sure, days when oh yeah, that would be alright. But need to work towards that. Seriously, read TNC piece.
DN: read “this country needs a better class of racists.”