More Destroying Science Fiction!

The Destroy! series of science fiction anthologies continues, this time from the folks at Uncanny.  From the Kickstarter:

Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction will be in the same vein as the previous Destroy special issues (Women Destroy Science Fiction, Queers Destroy Science Fiction, and People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction), featuring editors, writers (both solicited and unsolicited), and artists with representation from all across the sliding scale of disability.

The project has already funded, which is great to see.  But alas, the “Bespoke Space Unicorn Art of You” reward has already been claimed.

From Around the Web: 3 July 2017

A few links of interest from around the web:

Guns, Girls, and Glory: Part I

At a recent book sale to benefit my local elementary school, I happened to find a copy of Herland near a copy of Nebula Award Stories 8, edited by Isaac Asimov. Both I grabbed, the former because my current copy is an ebook, the latter because the anthology boasted stories by Clarke, Anderson, Pohl, Ellison, and others.

Herland and Nebulas 8

Among those “others” in this 1972 paperback is Joanna Russ; her story “When It Changed” won the Nebula for best short story published that year. In this story, a planet populated entirely by women is visited by men. The men on the planet had died hundreds of years before, so none of the women had first-hand knowledge of men—a parallel to Herland.

What’s strikingly different is that while Gilman’s all-women society is a utopia, the society that Russ created, the planet Whileaway, is not. Children are communally raised in Herland; society conducts itself in a “feminine” manner. On Whileaway, a sense of individualism permeates the culture. The narrator considers her twelve-year old daughter’s imminent coming-of-age: “Some day soon, like all of them, she will disappear for weeks on end to come back grimy and proud, having knifed her first cougar or shot her first bear, dragging some abominably dangerous dead beastie behind her, which I will never forgive for what it might have done to my daughter.” Though men are absent from the planet, a sort of stereotypically male relationship between people and nature—and among the people themselves—remains.

Aside from the obvious differences between these two takes on women-only societies, one notable distinction between them struck me: guns. Guns are conspicuously absent from Herland—they’re not needed in a society without conflict. On Whileaway, they’re a part of daily life. And in spite of their presence, what guns they have are not enough to protect the women there: “Men are coming to Whileaway. When one culture has the big guns and the other has none, there is a certain predictability about the outcome.” Katy, the narrator’s wife, never touches her rifle, because, as she says after she nearly shoots one of the men who do come to their world, “’I knew I’d kill someone.’”

As a Texan following our current legislative session, I’m not surprised that I focused on this difference. A number of bills have been put forth that would make owning and carrying guns far easier than it is now—and that’s not to say that it isn’t already quite easy here. And as a Texan, I hope common sense will prevail and that these bills will not pass. And as a writer of science fiction, I’ve been considering the ways in which state and national bills and legislation will affect us in the future.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing posts about gun ownership and mental health, gun ownership as a signifier of social status among the middle class, and how gun training might be implemented in public and private schools.

In the meantime, y’all, I’ve got letters to write.  From The Dallas Morning News: “Texans could carry a handgun without a license under a House bill that’s stuck in the chamber.”

From Around the Web: 20 March 2017

A few links of interest from around the web:

From Around the Web: 13 March 2017

A few links of interest from around the web:

  • From The New York Review of Books, Masha Gessen explores the role Russia is playing in the Trump administration and in our conception of it: “For more than six months now, Russia has served as a crutch for the American imagination. It is used to explain how Trump could have happened to us, and it is also called upon to give us hope. When the Russian conspiracy behind Trump is finally fully exposed, our national nightmare will be over.”
  • In “definitions depend on which field you’re in” news, the latest episode of Planetary Radio asks “Hope for Pluto—Should We Re-Redefine Planets?
  • And on the topic of Pluto, check out The Future Fire‘s interview with Toeken, who illustrated my story “Over the New Horizon.”

From Around the Web: 9 March 2017

A few links of interest from around the web:

  • Check out Geoff Ryman’s “100 African Writers of SFF” write-up at Strange Horizons.
  • Skyboat Media is raising funds to produce an audiobook version of Lightspeed’s QUEERS DESTROY SCIENCE FICTION!
  • Here in the Lone Star State, State Representative Ana Hernandez filed HB1947, which would provide high school graduated with two years of free community college.  As a former community college student and, later, instructor, I’m heartened by this.  And as a Texan, I’m glad to see a bill filed of late that has nothing to do with threatening reproductive rights….

 

Some Thoughts on the Venue for “The Next Big Dystopian Novel”

In a recent NPR interview, Margaret Atwood speculated that the next dystopian novel to capture our attention won’t be a novel as we think of them now:

Well, it won’t be a book, according to Atwood. “The question to be asked is, if somebody does write such a novel where will it be published?” she says. “I think we might go back to newspaper serials … Because events are evolving so fast it would almost take a serial form to keep up with them.”

I agree, but I wonder if this is a case in which we can look backward and forward at the same time.  That is, I do think publishing speculative fiction in widely-read periodicals (and on their corresponding websites) would be ideal to reach the broadest audience.  That said, what if we couple these venues with ones that are already in place that essentially do present serial speculative fiction?

If newspapers (and the like) drew on the editorial talent from weekly and monthly SF venues, not only would we be more likely to see the kinds of serials Atwood suggests, but also the SF the authors write and the editors foster would reach a larger audience.  I’ve heard a number of authors, editors, and publishers bemoan the fact that SF–a genre with great potential for social change–just doesn’t reach enough readers.  Perhaps this would be a way to make reaching more readers possible.

From Around the Web: 6 February 2017

Links of interest from around the web:

  • SF author Kameron Hurley discusses feminist SF and space operas on the most recent episode of the Breaking the Glass Slipper podcast.
  • Ursula K. Le Guin responds to a letter to the editor to The Oregonian that compares the current US president’s administrations lies to science fiction: “[SF writers] make absolutely no pretense that our fictions are ‘alternative facts.'”
  • And on the topic of the current US presidential administration, check out Dr. Sarah’s post on Freethought Resistance, “Speak out NOW to stop Betsy DeVos“: “The good news is, you may actually be able to stop her nomination from going through.”

 

Recommended Reading: Nature Futures

Recommended reading, or in this case, listening.  Nature posts a new science fiction flash story each week in, and last week’s, S. L. Huang’s “The last robot,” is well worth reading. Also check out “The story behind the story: The last robot.” The podcast version is available on iTunes here.

And in the archives, since it’s feeling relevant these days, I also recommend Marissa Lingen’s “The most important thing.”