Browsing Tag



Because apparently I need to say this again

While I was working the NIWA table at Worldcon, one of the people who came by was a very outspoken, charming fellow who took the time to chat and make jokes with several of us. I wanted to like him. Except for one thing: he was very blunt in his opinion of romance, sweepingly dismissing the entire genre as “swill”.

And as soon as he said that, I had to speak up in romance’s defense, as well as back off from talking to him much after that. Because it seemed pretty evident that he had an opinion, the kind of opinion that isn’t easily going to change in one chance meeting, and I didn’t want to drive him away from buying anything at the table if there was a chance he would.

But I did want to talk about this here. Because it’s yet another example of what I see out of SF/F readers on a regular basis: i.e., the broad-spectrum dismissal of romance as a genre that’s worth paying attention to. Usually this is hand-in-hand with misogyny, targeted at female SF/F authors who get their work dismissed as “thinly veiled romance novels”, thereby insulting female authors and the romance genre in one double-fisted blast of “oh for fuck’s sake, this again?”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m really tired of SF/F readers snarking on romance. And hell, I’m not even as devoted a romance reader as many; I’m on the periphery of the romance readership at best.

I see in the regular remarks to the effect of “X is still a better love story than Twilight“. And don’t get me wrong: I’m not about to run out and read Twilight, but I think it’s also unnecessarily condescending to go on and on and on about how anything is a better love story than Twilight. Particularly when most of the time, the people doing the snarking haven’t even read the series, so they have no real basis on which to deliver the snark.

I see it in the constant dismissal of the romance genre as nothing but “porn for women”, and how “bodice rippers” still gets thrown around to describe the genre, despite how the genre hasn’t really been rife with bodice rippers since the 80’s. As anyone who actually cares enough to explore the modern state of the genre could easily discover for themselves.

I see it in the constant ever-so-convenient failure to ever give male authors any level of shit for having love stories in their work, either. You don’t see men getting their books dismissed as “thinly veiled romance novels” or “porn for women”. Even when they also have sex scenes in them, especially given how rapetastic a lot of modern fantasy epics can wind up being. Because apparently a woman getting raped in a fantasy novel by a man is “realistic”, while a woman having a positive consensual sexual encounter in a fantasy novel written by a woman is “porn for women”.

Surely I can’t be the only person who sees the injustice in that attitude?

So I’ll say this again: SF/F readers, quit it with the genre snobbery. We’ve all grown up with a history of getting snarked on for our reading tastes, so we shouldn’t be sneering at what other people like to read. Particularly when we haven’t even bothered to look at the books in question ourselves.

Sure, romance has its share of bad books. Every genre has its share of bad books, and SF/F is not exempt from that. And not every genre is going to be appropriate for someone’s reading tastes. I’m not asking for people to unilaterally embrace romance as the awesomest thing that ever awesomed.

But I am asking, yea, challenging you: next time you catch yourself about to snark on a book in the romance genre, particularly one you haven’t even bothered to read, take a step back and ask yourself how you’d feel if somebody else was about to do that to a book you loved. Remember that the person you’re snarking to, or people who may be reading that tweet or post to your Facebook wall, might well have actually read and loved that book.

Likewise, I challenge you to consider: is a book that portrays romance and love stories and positive sexual encounters for women really all that bizarre a concept?

Here endeth today’s rant. Thank you.

Events, Publishing

Right then, how about those Hugo awards?

As y’all know already, Worldcon this year saw the conclusion–for now–of this year’s Puppy slate voting. Dara’s documented her reaction to the results over here, so I’m not going to recap what she said. Go read her directly!

I will, meanwhile, note that Natalie Luhrs put up this recap of what the Hugos would have been like if the slate voting hadn’t occurred. In particular, like Dara, I weep for how Avatar: The Legend of Korra came so close to getting onto the ballot.

But I must also call attention to what the Best Novel voting might have looked like. I was intrigued by City of Stairs when I first saw it getting promoted on, and I very definitely enjoyed Lock In, as I reported earlier this year. I feel that if Mr. Scalzi had made the ballot, I would have had a much harder time deciding between his book, Ancillary Justice, and The Three-Body Problem. As it stands, I will be upping the priority on checking out City of Stairs.

Speaking of Mr. Scalzi, he had commentary (short and pithy as well as longer and yet still pretty pithy) on the matter. It will surprise none of you that I pretty much agree with what he has to say. I would also like to call attention to Mary Robinette Kowal’s excellent commentary, while I’m at it.

Because here’s the thing: as the Mary Sue reported, while the Puppies were not as blatant a presence at Worldcon as I feared, they were nonetheless there. And some asshat thought it was funny to leave an anonymous flyer purporting to be from SFWA on the freebie table–a flyer which was brimming with racism and transphobia.

Needless to say–or at least, it ought to be needless to say–I do not find this funny. I do not find it worthy of the SF/F genre, or of civilized persons in general.

And next year, although I am not yet convinced I actually want to set foot in Kansas Missouri even for a Worldcon, I will be getting a supporting membership to MidAmeriCon at minimum. Because this year has demonstrated to me in no uncertain terms that my continued participation in the Hugo voting process is important. I’m just one small voice and one small vote.

But those votes add up. And the wisdom of Ambassador Kosh notwithstanding, this one small pebble will do her part to redirect the avalanche.

ETA: Editing because Kansas City is in Missouri, not Kansas. Derp. That said, my commentary still stands as I am not particularly convinced I want to set foot in Missouri, either!


Hi all, back from Worldcon!

Dara and I returned from Worldcon yesterday and I’m taking today off to decompress–because I spent the entire con pretty much working the NIWA table in the dealers’ room, and that’s dealing with a lot of people by my introvert standards. So I need some downtime!

I will, nonetheless, post today!

Since I was at the NIWA table so much I actually wound up seeing very little of the convention. And I gotta say, we were totally spoiled for space at our table, occupying a corner booth as we did. We had a truly magnificent spread of books, with 37 different authors represented on the table! Seriously, check this out, this was the booth space we had to play with! (And you can guess which portion of the table was my favorite, I expect!)

(Putting in a More tag as this post is kind of long!)

Continue Reading


Going to Worldcon! Will I see you there?

For those of you who haven’t already seen me posting about this on the social networks, tomorrow Dara and I head out to Spokane for this year’s Worldcon: Sasquan!

I plan to be spending a good chunk of my time helping staff the NIWA booth in the dealers’ room, so I will be easy to find. I’ll have plenty of copies of Faerie Blood and Bone Walker with me, as well as copies of the Bone Walker Soundtrack! Look for me there if you’ll also be at the convention. I’ll even have posters of the Bone Walker cover art for anybody who might happen to want one, so you have reason to track me down even if you already have the books!

And here’s hoping there will be minimal drama all around, yes? Yes.

OH YES and don’t forget: Faerie Blood and Bone Walker remain on sale for 99 cents each for the duration of the convention, and three days afterward as well to give folks time to pick up the book if they talk to me at the con!

Bone Walker, Faerie Blood

Worldcon sale for Faerie Blood and Bone Walker!

Since Worldcon is IMMINENT (and I have posted about that very thing right over here on Here Be Magic), I have elected to put Faerie Blood AND Bone Walker on sale for 99 cents!

This price will last until 8/27, so as to give any congoers I happen to talk to at the NIWA table time to get home from the convention and buy my ebooks if they are so inclined. So if you’re reading this, whether or not you’ll be at Worldcon, this will be an excellent time to snap up both these books!

And if you’re so inclined, spread the word, won’t you? Here are pertinent links to share! (If you don’t see the price down to 99 cents yet, give it a bit, various sites may take a bit to catch up to the prices I just set!)

Faerie Blood: Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords | Google Play

Bone Walker: Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords | Google Play

Cheers all and hope to see some of you at the convention!


On how I will be voting on the Hugo ballot this year

For the first time since 2007, Dara and I will be going to Worldcon. We’ve come out of the mire of the financial hits leveled at us by several consecutive years of medical crap, and moreover, the convention’s taking place in our home state. We can drive to it. Even better, I and several other authors in NIWA are banding together to run a table there. We’ve got books. We’re gonna sell ’em.

The thing that makes me sad and tired and wary, though, is what’s happened with the Hugo ballot this year.

As y’all may remember, since Dara and I semi-regularly post about this, there’s a broad ultra-right-wing conservative clique within SFdom. They’ve been up in arms lately because the wrong things have been winning Hugos. And by “wrong things”, I mean “things created by women, people of color, and queers”. They’ve pushed back against this with an organized rush to get things they consider acceptable onto the voting ballot.

And the particularly vile part of this: they’ve reached out to GamerGate to pull them in on these shenanigans. All in the name of getting additional recruits for their declared war on “social justice warriors”.

(About that phrase, by the way: I’m now ranking “social justice warrior” right alongside “political correctness” on the list of phrases that set my teeth on edge. I’ve said before that if the first words out of your mouth on any issue are “political correctness”, then you are part of the problem. Likewise, I here and now state for the record that if you are the sort of person to dismiss progressives and liberals as “social justice warriors”, you are going to have to work very, very hard to get me to respect and take seriously anything you have to say. Do not bank on your success in that regard.

Besides, me? Totally a social justice healer. But I digress.)

Dara has written up a comprehensive post on the matter, and what attendees of Worldcon can do about this to cut this and future Hugo shenanigans off at the pass, in the name of trying to keep the award from becoming entirely meaningless. Her recommendation: vote “No Award” on any category overloaded with the nominees from the voting bloc in question.

I will be following Dara’s recommendations, because it is deeply disheartening to me to see SFdom becoming, more and more, a microcosm of the same “us-vs-them”, toxic tribalism that has infected US culture in general. If you’re going to Worldcon too and therefore have the ability to vote on the Hugos, I encourage you to consider doing the same.

About Me

Exactly how it happened

Not too long ago on Facebook I was giggling over the Easter egg on Google Maps that actually takes you into a TARDIS interior if you click on certain police boxes that show up in the UK. Related to that story, I went and dug up this old pic of myself from 1995, from when Dara and I went to the Worldcon in Glasgow in Scotland that year. We called this “Anna Buys a Used TARDIS”.

Anna Buys a Used TARDIS

Anna Buys a Used TARDIS

I posted it to Facebook and was promptly asked whether I lost the vehicle in a card game. This was my reply!

Certainly not. There was a PERFECTLY LOGICAL EXPLANATION for the entire affair. See, this little Scottish dude with an umbrella showed up and said to me, “YOU! I NEED YOUR HELP! I seem to have parked my police box here without proof of ownership and aheh, well, I’ve got something I’ve DESPERATELY got to take care of. I don’t suppose I could convince you to buy it from me for oh, say, half an hour?”

“What?” I said? “Why only half an hour?”

“Well,” the little Scottish dude with the umbrella explained, “that’s the RULE. But if you’ve bought it from me that makes you the legitimate owner. It’ll be safe then!”

“Ummmm okay?” I said dubiously, but what the hell, we were only just wandering around being tourists anyway, and it was going to be nice to hang out for a bit. “I’ll give you five pence for it.”

“SOLD!” he said, and dashed off like his shoes were on fire. That’s when things got REALLY weird, because THEN a guy with curly blond hair and the most hideous coat I’d EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE showed up.

The blond guy started to argue with me about the police box being HIS, but I said quite firmly that I HAD just paid five pence for it. So then he stormed off, gesticulating and pontificating wildly, and I was about to say bugger to the whole thing when a THIRD guy showed up. This one had pointy hair and a pinstriped suit on and he was running as fast as his red trainers could carry him. “For the love of all that’s holy, GET OUT OF THE WAY!” he bellowed as he charged past. “Also, you might want to duck!”

I ducked because somebody was firing FRIGGING LASERS over my head, and when I turned around, wait, what? Stompy robots? In Scotland? Da hell? They weren’t even wearing kilts or playing bagpipes. Just kept blithering on about YOU WILL BE DELETED, and they stomped off after the guy with the pointy hair.

By then, I can tell you, I was DEEPLY confused. But that was when the door to the police box opened from the inside, and the little Scottish dude with the umbrella poked his head out and smiled at me. “Here you are then, here’s your five pence back! Also, you might want to have a dash of this nitro nine. On your way now. Be on the lookout for those robots.”

Which was when the police box promptly vanished, with a WHRR-WHRR-WHRR noise that I was pretty sure that police boxes weren’t actually supposed to make. So I went on my way, wondering what the HELL had just happened, and chucked the nitro nine over the fence just so that last robot would explode nicely.

And then I had tea.

Cross my hearts, this was exactly how it happened.