Over at Fantasy Faction. We talk about editing, books and general genre stuff:
Yes, in part the post had been to point out that we weren’t getting much in the way of submissions from women, in any category of genre, although SF and horror were the worst, and to say ‘hi, we’re here, we’re women and we’re looking for good SF’. It was supposed to act as a shout out for any female writers who may have thought that publishing was a patriarchal establishment, to disabuse them of the notion that they wouldn’t be taken seriously and to let them know that the majority of SFF editors are women, actively looking for female writers. I got a lot of replies from women saying that they’d submit and over the next few weeks we did see an increase in direct submissions from women – so for that alone I’m glad for that post.
To create this set-up, though, I had to completely change how I approached a novel. Not only was I using a different narrative voice, but the whole process was entirely new – it had to be. And it was really, really difficult – by far the most difficult thing I’ve done in prose. However, I learned plenty of things from this process and from my research into locked-room mysteries, particularly from writers such as John Dickson Carr, the master of the genre.
So I’ve handily transformed my learning into an Internet-friendly list.
If you’re interested in writing, or reading crime fiction in general, you can read that list here.
By Paris Bordon, c. 1530s. Taken from the absolutely fascinating Tumblr account, People of Colour in European Art History, which is an eye-opener. For me, it highlights that no matter how loosely based on ‘history’ many fantasy novels are, they do tend to be fairly whitewashed. (As in, if realism is the excuse, seems it’s a pretty poor defence. That blog shows why.)
Sad news that Frederik Pohl, legendary SF writer, has died at the age of 93. The Guardian has a nice obituary.
On the Tor UK blog, my editor asks if book browsing is a lost art:
“But I’m curious to know whether with the saturation of information, have we all taken the fun out of book browsing? Or have we just shortened the odds in ensuring that in our hectic lifestyles, we have a better chance of picking up a book that we know we’ll enjoy rather than finding one we think we might enjoy?”
And finally, via Daniel Abraham on Twitter, a ‘geek’ boy makes misogynistic comments, and ends up making a complete idiot of himself in front of the world.
Sophia McDougall has very good things to say in New Statesman about why she hates Strong Female Characters. I tried to find a quote to read in isolation, but you should probably read the whole thing now.
That link was via io9, which also had a very interesting article on whether or not villains should have to commit taboo acts for us to hate them:
“Do villains need to rape, torture or mutilate people for us to hate them? Or maybe the reverse is true: Sometimes we can invest more in a villain, if his or her evildoing is creative and leaves more to our imaginations. Sometimes with villains, brutality is the lesser path. Here’s our plea for more subtle monsters.”
Indeed. The over-the-top nature of some villains can be done well, but for the most part it does indeed feel lazy on behalf of the author. That is unless you’re trying to get the reader to like a psychopath, but even then, beware of the dodgy shorthand.
A few geek links of note. Firstly, the Guardian has a good video feature on 2000AD, to coincide with the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
The dark side of geek culture goes more mainstream as the New Statesman looks at what lies behind “fake geek girl” accusations.
And while I continue highlighting how tough things are for women in geek culture, the LA Times looks at comic writer Mark Millar’s comments on rape in narratives. Which is best summed up by this response from Laura Hudson:
“It’s using a trauma you don’t understand in a way whose implications you can’t understand, and then talking about it as though you’re doing the same thing as having someone’s head explode. You’re not. Those two things are not equivalent, and if you don’t understand, you shouldn’t be writing rape scenes.”
The Lowest Heaven anthology, in which I have a short story, gets a nice review in the Guardian. Pretty chuffed that mine was picked out as a highlight – ‘a sly tale’, in fact – especially as I don’t often write short fiction. If you want a copy of the book, here’s a list of where to get one.