Category Archives: Reblogs

Why Manila Needs Stories

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Truth!

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Readercon wrap-up: ‘You don’t look Filipino’

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Michael Janairo on his “Long Hidden” submission, which contains a story set during the Philippine-American War of the 1900s.

Michael Janairo

Me, the author, autographing my story in "Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History" Me, the author, autographing my story in “Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History”

Readercon is awesome. The conference for speculative literature is always worthwhile, as it offers a deep dive into issues and concerns that are at the forefront of literature.

So I got to hear luminaries like Michael Dirda and Peter Straub talk about their development as readers and writers. (Dirda doesn’t have time to reread books; Straub is rereading Iris Murdoch right now.)

I got to hear Samuel Delaney read for a work in progress that is from the point of view from a young Herman Melvill(e), and includes scenes during his life and times in Albany.

I learned a lot about the difficulties of living in space (the weakening of the body in low gravity; the politics of funding); about how authors try to strike a balance between fulfilling and subverting readers’ expectations (though…

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Top 30 Anime Series of All Time

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Wrong Every Time

Management: I’ve started adding new shows to the list, meaning that “Top 30” title will be becoming less and less accurate over time. I hope you can forgive me for highlighting more good shows.

Yep, I’ve finally put together a top shows list. As I hopefully made clear in part one and part two of my critical biases post, this is obviously my list – it represents the things I think are most valuable in stories in the way I think they’ve best been articulated. It’s also just a list of shows I enjoy – there’s no hard criteria here, so I wouldn’t stress the numbers too much. Also, it’s a bit front-loaded – I only started watching anime seasonally about two years ago, so the last couple years are disproportionately represented. Incidentally, I’m not including movies here either – I think direct comparisons between shows and films are a bit of a…

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and here’s another thing…

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Filling the Well

You know that thing where people say, “Well, how do you write strong/tough/kickass/whatever women characters who aren’t just men with breasts?”  i.e. so-called women characters who are basically men, in female trappings, doing male-type things in the  story.  I guess.

I realized awhile back that I have no idea what this means.  Seriously.  What kind of men?  What kind of breasts?  What does this even mean?  The answer is, it doesn’t mean a damned thing.  In fact, I think it’s nothing more than apologia, another thing feeding into the idea that strong/physically tough women characters are somehow weird and need to be explained, and if you do them wrong you’ll be accused of some kind of. . .I don’t know.  I’ve written before about the discomfort with powerful women we often see in fiction, how they’re often mitigated by being some kind of “chosen one,” or given some kind…

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Chinoiserie is just another way that racism sells fiction.

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Carrie Cuinn

I saw a comment on a Facebook thread which asked, “why do we have so many Japanese and Chinese science-fiction protagonists and authors featured, and fewer Indian ones?”

My response, built off my many years studying the history of art, and speculative fiction, along with my experience in the industry as a writer and publisher, and conversations I’ve had with many, many, authors and readers:

Because Chinese/Japanese authors and stories fall into the currently acceptable version of the same recurring Chinoiserie* that Western audiences have been buying since the 1600s. It’s Orientalism, really; the idea that certain kinds of Asian culture/fiction or writers of specific Asian descent share an aesthetic which is more “delicate”, more “refined”, more “exotic”, than Western styles but not too much so. We’re allowing an archetype (of that highly educated, polite, non-politcal, poetic, Asian, the one who would have counted up on your gold on his abacus or…

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When Calls for Diversity Are Not Enough

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I’m Elliot Roger and So are You, Dude

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“Underneath that stereotype is homophobia, of course, and underneath that homophobia, of course, is a hatred of women — of being a woman, of being womanly, of being soft, affectionate, and of being god no EMPATHETIC — that keep men from being well-rounded, decent, complete people.”

Con Gusto

barth polaroidI’ve been trying to talk to men about rape and sexuality for about 23 years now. It’s a conversation that comes and goes, at best, but it seems to be coming back right now, with Elliot Roger’s rampage and how we should deal with it, “in the news.”

I worked with Men Stopping Rape in Madison many many years ago, wrote articles for the group’s newsletter about Axl Rose coming out as an abuse survivor, about Tailhook, how we needed more men talking about our role in the rape epidemic, child/spousal abuse, behavior that supports both, and organizing brother’s circles in the Madison co-ops with great guys. It was the early 90’s men’s movement, and in Madison, ever the soap bubble within soap bubbles, the point was to create “safe spaces” where men could talk to each other about their experiences with sexism, rape supportive behavior, their own abuse or…

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