Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Feminist Science Fiction: Linkbot 2.0 31/08/2011

  • The first part of the BBC4 programme "Cat Women Of the Moon" is now available on line for your aural edification. It is a documentary in two parts exploring the subversion of gender and sex within science fiction. Includes interviews with Nicola Griffith and Farah Mendlesohn among others. The second part will play next week.
  • NK Jemisin talks about "The Limitations of Womanhood in Fantasy". "But I’m beginning to wonder if, along with rejecting the stereotypes imposed on women by society, we haven’t also rejected all characteristics commonly ascribed to womanhood — including those that women might choose for themselves."
  • The Future Fire describes themselves as "Social-political and Progressive Speculative Fiction. Cyberpunk. Feminist SF. Queer SF. Eco SF. Multicultural SF. An experiment in and celebration of new writing." TFF has been on hiatus for over a year, but in the run up to their relaunch and reopening for submissions they are running a month of blog posts "addressing one subgenre, theme or topic that we'd like to see in the TFF slushpile in the future". More information is available here.
  • Over at the WorldSF Blog, there's a fantastic round table "(Global) Women in Science Fiction". It's long and very in depth, but well worth your time.
  • Two recent Galactic Suburbia 'casts I've enjoyed have been Episode 36 "The Spoilerific Book Club: Joanna Russ", in which they dissect 'The Female Man', 'When It Changed' and other Russ subtexts, and Episode 39, where the Mary Sue trope is dissected with the snarky abandon it deserves.
  • Sady Doyle (she of TigerBeatdown) wrote "In praise of Joanne Rowling's Hermione Granger series", a snarky take down of how the market and readers still treat female authors and characters.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pr0nTastic Book Covers: Joan D. Vinge's "The Snow Queen"

Check this puppy out!

Image: Scan of the 1981 UK Orbit edition of Joan D. Vinge's "The Snow Queen". A silver masked queen watches over a man in silver jocks and phallic helmet, who stands over a blond woman on her knees, buttocks thrust out, her face at crotch height. Yeah.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Boring Rejection Post, Talk Amongst Yourselves 22/08/11

"Through The Open Door" rejected by Unstuck via form letter.

"Through The Open Door" rejected by Penumbra with nice vibes. Thanks Penumbra!

"Halfway Between Asleep and Dead" rejected by Digital Science Fiction via form letter.

"Situation Vacant, Apply Within" rejected by Comets and Criminals via form letter.

Please buy a paper shredder. I'll even pay for it.
This used to be a fun hobby but I can't keep up with all your mistakes and rewrites!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

This and That.

The writer life is a little quiet at the moment. I'm struggling with procrastination, and it's been nothing but rejections for a while.

I'm not sure if I wholly believe in writer's block, but I certainly can understand what stress, the fear of failure, constant rejection, and troughs of activity does to a head. It can be a lonely existence as a writer, and sometimes you can really get stuck inside your head.

But I keep reminding myself that I'm way better than I was before eighteen months ago, and the last five months have been pretty rough and I've managed to keep going. 

So here's the hard truth, though I hate to admit it: I haven't written any new words in two weeks. For some stupid reason the rejections are getting to me, and trunking some stories has effected my mood way more than I thought it would.

I'm at the bottom of a motivation trough, hoping for something good to pull me back up, whether it's creative inspiration or a sale. And what's two weeks out of all this time I've been writing? I've talked myself past the problem before, I'll get back on that horse very soon. I'm my own cheerleader and professional butt-kicker, and I kick my own butt hard.

Luckily, to keep me looking forward I have a few things I'm anticipating:
  • A story going live at Expanded Horizons in the near future.
  • A story going live at Khimairal Ink. This has been delayed, but I have every faith the e-zine are doing their best to get their next issue out.
  • A story going live at Luna Station Quarterly very soon. My profile is already available at the site.
  • Stories sitting in the slush piles of venues I hold in great esteem, and am looking forward to their reply.
And in other news, here's something to wrap your head around - 'Tales For Canterbury' is now available at the Christchurch Public Library, the Auckland Public Library, and the Dunedin Public Library. If you find it at your local library, let me know. For truth. I'm not on a boat...I'm in a library!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

How I deal with Rejection, and other epic stories 11/08/2011

"Situation Vacant, Apply Within" rejected by form letter from OG's Speculative Fiction. Then from Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, strangely enough without the feedback I usually get from them (they must be over slushed).

"The Words Women Say That Men Don't Hear" rejected by by form letter from Clarkesworld.

"Anthropology, Redacted" rejected by form letter (and one of the cutest form letters I've had) from Brain Harvest.

"Through The Open Door" rejected by form letter from Pedestal Magazine.

"Where The Wild Blackberries Grow" rejected by form letter from Fantasy Magazine. Longest wait on that slushpile yet - five days! (yeah yeah, I know, doesn't mean squat)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Western-Centrism In World Building: Up North, Down South

As I've been planning and thinking about the continuation of my "Katewin and The Phoenix" stories, I've been coming back to one of my first tenets from when I started out writing. I want to subvert tropes and challenge mainstream ideas.

Recently I've been thinking about world building (creating countries, landmarks, cities, maps etc), and one of the things that struck me about epic fantasy is how western-centric the settings are. More to the point, how northern hemisphere oriented the landscape is. There's always mountains and/or snow to the north, desert/hot/dry places to the south, "exotic" land to the east or across the sea, and the main story takes place in a reasonably temperate zone and the hero/heroine must travel through these exotic/unusual zones as part of the drama and their character building.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Warning, boring blog 'State of the Union' ahead

If you've popped over to PT looking for a bit of my witty feminist snark, you might be wondering what's happened lately.

After some navel gazing, I've come to the conclusion that I've lost sight of the original objectives of PT. When I first started out, I was so keen to make the blog look active that I started blogging about any ol' thing to keep my hand in and the post counting ticking over. Ok, not maybe 'any old thing' - 'There, I Fixed It For You', FA, activism etc are important to me, and at the time I wrote the posts I was sincere in getting a point across.

However, those points in many ways have nothing to do with why I started PT: My writing. I'm also feeling the ol' 'Feminist Blogger Burn Out' on top of post February stress, so to look after myself I'm paring it back. PT is going back to being mostly about writing.

I say mostly, because there's always the intersections of feminist and activism within my writing and the SFF publishing industry, so if there are going to be any future posts along those lines it will be writing/career inclusive.

Feel free to remove me from your links, I won't be offended. I've also removed posts irrelevant to the writing cause, so you might need to fix broken links too.

I'm sorry if this has disappointed anyone, but I hope you'll understand that blogs and people evolve. I started this blog to chart a change in my life after all! There'll still be cute cats, plenty of Picard, and snarky analysis, just more of the SFF, book and writerly kind.

Yes, my butt is better reading

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Quick Update

Writing News and/or Topics-of-Interest have been thin on the ground in the last week or so because I've been head down,  bum up finishing two stories.

The first was one I'd been angsting over for a couple of months. I'd actually binned the original first four drafts (yes, four!) and given up on the deadline I was working towards. I figured the story just wasn't meant to be. I think I was being way too earnest in what  I was trying to depict.

Then last weekend I went on a long drive, which I always find exceedingly conducive to creative thought - it gives me a chance to sit still and do absolutely nothing for a few hours (as opposed to chilling at home where I have distractions), and usually my brain wanders in great directions. And wander my brain did. I came out of the drive with a draft fully written in my head, had it down on paper (well, screen) within 24 hours, and fully edited within another 2 days. It might or might not come up to standards because I produced it so quickly. It's funny how this can happen - I can spend forever labouring over something, and have it be good, or something literally falls out of my head, and it's good too.

The other story I was working on was a revision of the piece rejected with massive vibes from Strange Horizons. I did some juggling and cutting, and I came up with another draft I'm even more happier with than the first. I love it when I get a good feeling about a story! Here's hoping.

I have lots of story ideas, especially with my novella-in-progress, and another tale set in Katewin and The Phoenix's world. Magpie brain ensues!

Black cats aren't evil
They're just misunderstood ninjas