a garden in riotous bloom
Beautiful. Damn hard. Increasingly useful.
other gardeners 
29 January 2015 17:25 - please do my homework
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Someone on my flist had data on average age of marriage in various cultures but I have forgotten who it was. Pointers, please?
29 January 2015 15:09 - true love
yhlee: Shuos Jedao (Hellspin Fortress) (hxx Jedao 1x10^6)
Coming Out On Top, work-safe partial screencap

My PC, while chatting up Hot Marine Wot I'm Trying to Date:


Uh, not to make you feel insecure or anything, Joe! =D

(Embarrassingly, I've mostly forgot what I knew about the Pelopponesian War--I had one class on ancient Greek warfare in college and I still have the notes somewhere, but my memory's terrible.)
29 January 2015 11:08 - more on dreams
yhlee: Gunn pointing his finger (AtS Gunn)
They weren't kidding about trazodone dreams. This last one included characters from Dragonlance, Angel, Planescape: Torment, and the Malazan Book of the Fallen. I would sort of kill for that crossover fic, actually.

Also, more highlights from last night:
- L5R pageant including Lady Doji and Hida Osano-wo intercut into a Bones video showing Seeley Booth (I see my fannish roots are...colliding). I was disappointed at the absence of Unicorn characters.

- visit to an absurdist hell where Joe wisely warned us that anything we bought in a store in hell was unlikely to help us escape hell (this proved to be true)

- Peanuts puppetry on the walls of buildings on a rocket ride up to Valhalla. Also, I got lectured by Odin on the ethical correctness of smoking meat that gave you immortality (?) if you ate it. (It had been raw, so would have gone bad quickly. I think the idea was that the meat wasn't supposed to last long?)

- cleaning the floor with a small bottle of white vinegar only to realize I'd accidentally grabbed a bottle of some BPAL limited edition scent instead, whoops. And yet I kept cleaning!

- a run in with Faith (Buffyverse) in a bilingual (Korean/English) prison. It's cool; she didn't hurt me.

(I wake up multiple times in the night right now, which really sucks and I don't recommend it. Getting sleep in 1-2 hour snatches is unfun.)
29 January 2015 10:00 - Deeper Shade of Soul
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

We didn’t go out clubbing every night I was in New York. No, sometimes we stayed in the studio all night instead.

Somehow Jordan always had the energy to be awake before me the next day. Sometimes he had to go to meetings. At one point he was gone for almost a day and a half, rescuing someone’s album or song. I didn’t know whose and even if I did I probably wouldn’t be allowed to tell you. Not that you guys don’t already know how the sausages are made, but yeah.

It was in the second week that I started talking about Ziggy.

Read the rest of this entry » )
29 January 2015 09:30 - The Final Chippening…
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)

Welcome to the Final Chippening!

Here’s your backstory:

This has been a lot of fun. At least for me. Hopefully you’ve been amused as well.

So, now that this is over, should I start planning what to do when I get to twenty thousand Twitter followers? :-)

#

5-1

5-2

5-3

 Sean Williams Maurice Broaddus Wesley Chu Stephen Leigh Deborah Blake Ferrett Steinmetz Kelly McCullough John Levitt Harry Connolly Elizabeth Bear

5-4

5-5

5-6

5-7

#

Well, that was fun! My thanks to guest Chipmunks Sean Williams, Maurice Broaddus, Wesley Chu, Stephen Leigh, Deborah Blake, Ferrett Steinmetz, Kelly McCullough, John Levitt, Harry Connolly, and Elizabeth Bear.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

28 January 2015 22:36 - Suzette Haden Elgin
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Michael Lowrey has reported the death of author Suzette Haden Elgin.
28 January 2015 21:04 - well, poop
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Once tomorrow's review is up, I will have two sponsored reviews left, one of which is waiting on a side-project and the other one is of a book I haven't got access to yet.
28 January 2015 16:31 - The Month of Letters returns!
swan_tower: cover detail from Voyage of the Basilisk (Voyage of the Basilisk)

I suppose it isn’t really the Month of Letters as Mary Robinette Kowal originally conceived it, since I don’t actually wind up mailing something every day of February. But the Month of Letters is where it started, so I still think of it by that name.

I am referring, of course, to the chance to receive a letter from Lady Trent herself. It’s easy to do; all that is required is for you to send a letter to her, at this address:

Marie Brennan
P.O. Box 991
San Mateo, CA 94403

Address the outside envelope to me, not Isabella; that way you can be sure it will be delivered. And remember to include your return address!

Then check your own mail. I will write back as Isabella, in my very best cursive (please forgive its awkwardness), with a hand-dipped pen, and sealing the letter in wax. You are welcome to do whatever you please with the letter: share it with others, post it to social media, etc.

I will answer any letters sent before the end of February, though depending on volume it may take me a little while to do so.

Happy letter-writing!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

28 January 2015 16:02 - Violet Wild, Boys, and Trolls
catvalente: (pic#941394)

This month, you can find the first part of a new CMV novelette in Clarkesworld Magazine‘s 100th issue: click here to read “The Long Goodnight of Violet Wild,” or here to listen to the story as read by Kate Baker.

And if you don’t already read Clarkesworld Magazine, what are you waiting for? The 100th issue is a fine place to start, with an amazing cover by Julie Dillon, previously unpublished fiction from the late, great Jay Lake, and so many more pieces of fiction and nonfiction, powerful and fascinating. There’s work from Kij Johnson, the article “#PurpleSF” by Cat Rambo, even translated sci-fi from Tang Fei and Zhang Ran. Click on over.

For those of you eagerly awaiting the fourth installment in the Fairyland series, Cat has a message for you:

fairyland4-tweet

You can revisit “The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland – For a Little While” over here at Tor.com.

Can’t wait another second for a sneak peek of The Boy Who Lost Fairyland? Luckily, io9’s got you covered with a free chapter! Follow the HTML road to read Chapter 3 from The Boy Who Lost Fairyland: “Troll to Boy, Boy to Troll.”

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

28 January 2015 19:15 - Ta da list
ailbhe: (Default)
  1. Got up before 8am
  2. Had shower
  3. Got dressed
  4. Tidied bathroom and set toothbrush to charge, toothbrush charger was disgusting, seriously how does that happen?!
  5. Took delivery of groceries, put some away
  6. Put on a load of laundry from the holiday
  7. Emptied and refilled the dishwasher
  8. Cleared mouldy food off table, dear god, ew
  9. Went to charity shop with three children, delivered donations and bought some things in my new, larger size
  10. Went to pharmacy to pick up hairties, chapstick etc
  11. Supervised kids doing some workbooks
  12. Booked Linnea's summer camp
  13. Booked my optician's appointment
  14. Paid a bill
  15. Let the electricity meter reader in
  16. Made enquiries about Linnea's summer school
  17. Registered for the potato council's educational growing kit
  18. Started sorting fluids for the trip on a plane in a few weeks. Carry-on only, the children are anxious about REALLY WANTING to bring (nail varnish, shower milk, detangler, whatever) so I'm trying to sort it out ahead of time. The good news is, because there are no children's fares any more, we have five adult cabin baggage allowances.
  19. In the last three days I have also booked all those flights, bus and taxi transfers etc.
  20. And I remembered to eat food.
28 January 2015 18:17 - Five weeks later
ailbhe: (Default)
I have spent most of the past five weeks really really unwell. But I'm hopeful it's going to get better. After Christmas we spent a week at Centerparcs and I did tiny bits of cycling and lots of playing in the swimming pool, then we traveled back and the following day I was unable to stay awake for more than 10 minutes at a time, but that's ok.

Today we got out of the house in the daylight and ran some necessary errands, and I've made an appointment for an eye test, and the children are starting on their workbooks again. Emer has taught herself to crochet and Linnea's interest in Things And Stuff continues unabated. Astrid learned to swim while we were away and can now propel herself forwards in the water and breathe.
28 January 2015 12:59 - An idea for another review series
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Basically, it's a way to use a title I considered in the past for my site but was talked out of:

Graveyard Orbits: authors' final works.
28 January 2015 09:05 - Reading Rainbow, I Mean Wednesday
pantryslut: (Default)
I finished "White Girls" last night. I have not yet picked up a new book, but I am leaning toward a complete change of pace and diving into "Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking," which is a food memoir not a cookbook in case you were wondering. That might give me enough psychic space to tackle Claudia Rankine's "Citizen," which is also near the top of my queue but I think needs some breathing room. (Skimmed a page or two on Serena Williams this morning, very timely, hello Australian Open.)

I had an ex who used to criticize my tendency to change up the tempos and such on mix tapes, rather than build up to one single mood. Well, this impulse of mine is not confined to music, apparently.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
But he knew exactly what he was doing every time he waited for me to get comfortable in bed before turning the radio on last night.
28 January 2015 07:37 - Things what happened yesterday
1. We survived the Snowmageddon (which was most definitely nearly as bad as advertised up here, minus the power outages, thankfully). Work's still closed today, and I'll be doing a good amount of shoveling. Since the front yard is also 90% full of snow, there's the question of where to put the stuff I shovel, but that's a problem for after coffee.

2. I finally got my first gold character (Necromancer Undertaker) in the more-fun-than-it-should-be WWE Immortals. Yes, the gold characters really are worth it -- at level 6, he's twice as powerful as any other character I have.

3. I got retweeted and followed by John Hodgman. Um, yeah. Woke up to find that out. Consider this the buried lede of the post.

4. (As implied by 3), we powered through all of Mozart in the Jungle, which is damned fun, and has a great cast (including vets like Malcolm McDowell, Bernadette Peters, Saffron Burrows and relative newcomers like Lola Kirke, Gael García Bernal, and Hannah Dunne).
28 January 2015 12:28 - My 15 Bitcoin predictions for 2015!
reddragdiva: (trolldad)

(Inspired by this euphoric fever dream.)

  1. There will continue to be nothing that Bitcoin does better than existing systems, apart from money laundering and purchasing illicit goods.

  2. No, not remittances. The expensive bit of Western Union is in fact that last mile.

  3. It will remain difficult to turn your Bitcoins into conventional currency (which is the only reason there's such a spread between exchanges).

  4. It will get even harder to turn your conventional currency into Bitcoins, as any exchange not being run by blatant crooks puts you through the anti-money-laundering mill.

  5. The protocol problems will continue not to be fixed, unless most of the hashing power and Mircea "socks and cocks"* Popescu can be convinced to go along with the Bitcoin Foundation. No 20-meg blocks for you!

  6. 99% of current hashing power came online in 2014; this will be very price-sensitive, and much will go offline as the price drops, maybe coming back next hash adjustment.

  7. Miners will continue to sell their coins immediately to cover costs: we are circling equilibrium, where the cost of mining 1 BTC is about 1 BTC. The pool of money to pay for them comes from new Greater Fools.

  8. Transaction irreversibility will remain Bitcoin's sticking point, as speculators who are insufficiently computer-savvy keep getting burnt. "No chargebacks" will continue to repel customers and not attract businesses.

  9. More exchanges will get hacked and/or just take everyone's money. (So far just this year: BitStamp, 796, LocalBitcoins, EgoPay.)

  10. Everyone who bought in the last year and held is a bagholder. Their claims and speculation will get increasingly frenzied. Ask for numbers supporting all claims, particularly the ones in this infographic.

  11. The bagholders and gambling addicts will continue to be taken by obvious scams, e.g. the two Ponzi scheme sites in just the last month.

  12. Altcoins will continue to be even scammier than the Bitcoin ecosphere, boggled as I was to realise this.

  13. The price is presently being held up by speculation and wishful thinking. No new reason will come along. The "fundamentals" are a castle in the air.

  14. Nobody actually wants smart contracts. They know that the plot of Dr. Strangelove is literally an unstoppable smart contract going wrong. Real companies want to retain the option of lawyering out of a stupid deal. The only people who would want smart contracts are businesses looking to screw over their customers even more than "mandatory arbitration" clauses do. This is about as appealing to customers as no chargebacks, for the same reason.

  15. Blockchains, even if by some remarkable wrinkle they turn out useful for something, will not lug Bitcoiners' 33 GB of SatoshiDice penny shavings with them. Bitcoiners will continue to bring up "blockchain technologies" as a reason to bother with Bitcoin regardless, because that's literally all they have.

    (Bitcoiners misunderstand that when a techie calls something "interesting" they don't necessarily mean "useful", "feasible" or "practical" — often they mean "what the hell even is that" or "I ain't even mad, that's amazing". The blockchain, particularly as implemented in Bitcoin, is very much the last.)


If you know nothing about Bitcoin and find the above largely confusing, here's the short FAQ and the RationalWiki article (which I started). I'm not such a fan.

* Technically this is blatant ad hominem, but it's definitely a post so amazing it should be linked anywhere his name is mentioned, ever.

sovay: (Sovay: David Owen)
In recent years, I feel we have been promised many blizzards, snowpocalypses, and Fimbulvetrs that never quite made the grade: blew out to sea, slumped off into freezing rain, deposited an entirely normal amount of snow for a New England winter storm and moved on with their lives. Especially as the forecasts and warnings threw around (admittedly delightful) meteorological buzzwords like "bombogenesis," I was prepared for snow, but not lots of it.

It was snowing last night as we watched Here We Go Again (1942). It was snowing last night as we watched Zazie dans le métro (1960). It was snowing last night as we went to bed and I read Josephine Tey's The Franchise Affair (1948). Sometimes it was snowing vertically. It looked very impressive, sleeting sideways by in the sodium streetlight. It was snowing when we woke up.

This isn't the second coming of the Blizzard of '78, but there's a respectable two feet of snow in the drifts down there and I foresee lots of shoveling in my future. I can live with that.
27 January 2015 14:43 - This may be a possible to-read
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Diabolical-MissHyde


Forensic science, magic, mystery, and romance mix in this edgy steampunk fantasy—a retelling of the horror classic, in which Dr. Eliza Jekyll, daughter of the infamous Dr. Henry Jekyll—pursues a dangerous murderer in an alternate Victorian London.

In an electrified Victorian London, Dr. Eliza Jekyll is a crime scene investigator, hunting killers with newfangled technological gadgets. She will need every advantage available to catch a terrifying new psychopath splattering London with blood. Hidden in the grimy shadows, the fiendish murderer preys on beautiful women, drugging them before slicing off their limbs. Finding the “Slicer” can make Eliza’s career . . . or unmask her darkest secret. Like her father, she has a hidden second self that emerges when she drinks his forbidden magical elixir. Just a few sips, and a seductive and impulsive Lizzie Hyde is unleashed.

The members of the Royal Society do not trust Eliza, and they send their enforcer, the mercurial Captain Lafayette, to prove she’s a dangerous sorceress. The careful doctor knows that one wrong step can make her prey to the clever Lafayette, a man who harbors an evil curse of his own. No matter how much she craves the elixir, she must resist.

But as the Slicer case draws her into London’s luminous magical underworld, Eliza will need the potion’s power to help her . . . even if it might attract the attentions of Lafayette. .

Even if it means setting the wild Lizzie free. . . .
27 January 2015 14:18 - It's like Christmas in mid-winter!
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
At some point I bought a package of new underwear and never opened it.
27 January 2015 10:00 - International Bright Young Thing
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

So living at Jordan’s turned out to be like living at Grand Central Station. There was always someone interesting coming or going. Musicians, songwriters, deejays, New York art scene people—it wasn’t always clear who was connected to him for actual work and who was just there to hang around. Then again, I suppose making connections is part of the work when you’re in the business. The old cliche is “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” I’d say it’s more like both: you have to know your what, but you have to know the who, too.

Jordan was a connector. He was a match-maker. A people-person.

Read the rest of this entry » )
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)

Jennifer Morgue CoverI’ve fallen behind in my book reviewing again, so this is my attempt to catch back up, starting with The Jennifer Morgue [Amazon | B&N | Indiebound], by Charles Stross.

This is part of Stross’ Laundry Files, about magic and computers and government employees. In this one, “Bob Howard, geekish demonology hacker for The Laundry, must stop a ruthless billionaire from unleashing an eldritch horror, codenamed ‘Jennifer Morgue’ from the ocean’s depths for the purpose of ruling the world…”

This was another fun read, similar in tone to The Atrocity Archives (which I enjoyed, and reviewed here). Only there’s an added twist. Without getting into details, Stross has found a clever way to write a tribute/parody of a certain other subgenre, one which fits perfectly with the rules of the world he’s created. It felt a little forced in one or two places, but for the most part, I enjoyed watching Stross play with the tropes and structures of those other books, while occasionally smiling and thinking, I see what you did there.

The character of Ramona was fascinating, and representative of the real darkness Stross gets into with these books, beneath the humorous surface. People have talked to me about feeling uncomfortable with Lena Greenwood’s character, with her nature and the way I chose to write her. Ramona created similar discomfort as I read–she’s possessed by a succubus, meaning she has a physical need for sex, as well as using sex as a weapon of assassination. While I’m not sure Stross handles this perfectly, neither do I, and I give him credit for not ignoring the problematic aspects of Ramona’s character.

Overall, if you enjoyed the first book, you’ll almost certainly like this one as well. They’re smart, different, and bring enough humor and darkness and action to keep things moving.

#

Fairyland CoverNext up is Catherynne Valente’s award-winning YA book The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making [Amazon | B&N | Indiebound], about a 12-year-old girl named September who leaves Omaha during WWI to travel with the Green Wind to Fairyland, where she befriends a wyvern who’s part library (only A through L), meets witches, rustles wild bicycles, confronts a queen, and so much more.

Valente’s imagination shines through from every page, presented in lush language by a narrator who offers their own commentary throughout the book. It felt like I was reading an old-fashioned tale of young, fantastic adventure, with shades of Wonderland and Narnia and more. I enjoyed it, but I could also see reading this one to my 9-year-old. I suspect he’d get a kick out of it.

My guess is that a lot will depend on whether or not you like Valente’s style in this book. I’d definitely recommend checking out the excerpt on the publisher’s website.

#

Finally, there’s Lucy A. Snyder’s Installing Linux on a Dead Badger (and Other Oddities) [Amazon | B&N | Indiebound], a collection of “12 humor stories about computers and the forces of evil.” I received a review copy of this one in audio book format, as read by Mary Bertke, and listened to it while driving to and from ConFusion earlier this month.

The collection starts with step-by-step instructions for installing Linux on a dead badger, but this is only the start. From there, the stories begin to explore the implications of a world where you can reanimate the dead with the right hardware and operating system. Many of the stories take the form of news reports, exploring everything from the implications of zombie call centers to the special Kung Fu mode you can activate in your dead badger.

The first story went on a little long for my taste, but I liked the larger picture Snyder created as the collection progressed in its satirical exploration of a world — particularly the corporate world — that’s gotten its hands on magic. As someone who’s worked both in tech support and in the land of cubicle bureaucracy, many of Snyder’s ideas felt just familiar and plausible enough to be funny. (And also depressing, now that I think about it … how many of us could be replaced with zombies at our day jobs?)

Three of the stories are available on Strange Horizons:

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

27 January 2015 01:08 - A horrible temptation
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
As I was taking the book I will review on Thursday off the shelf, I noticed this and considered it for Tears.

I will fear no evil

That would violate my Heinlein rule, which is "only for money".
26 January 2015 19:43 - dreams
yhlee: Jedao's motto: I'm your gun (hxx I'm your gun)
Inspired by [personal profile] telophase's past posts on trazodone and odd dreams (I was just prescribed it today because the old sleep med wasn't working):

Things that are weird about my dreams:

- They are intensely, primarily visual. I can see things in crystal clarity. Which is baffling because I'm probably a hair away from being legally blind in real life and cannot, while awake, visualize jack squat.

- Water has resistance, but does not feel wet. Ever. Even when I'm drowning in it. Drowning feels very peaceful.

- Recurring pieces of architecture that don't exist in real life, usually presenting themselves as secret hideouts at either Seoul Foreign School or Cornell or some amalgam of the two.

- I'm really good at climbing. I used to climb things in high school when I would ramble around SFS campus, but I was never quite as athletic as my dreams seem to think I am. There's this recurring cliff, which seems to be based on--it's where we buried the fetal pig after the class dissection in 3rd grade. I still think of it as Squealer's Grave, although I bet the campus has changed by now. (The cliff in the dreams is much more formidable.)

- I don't think it's strong enough to be called full-on lucid dreaming but some percentage of the time I'm aware that I'm dreaming and some percentage of that time I can influence what's happening, although the dreamscape usually resists me because I know you can't change reality like that. *shakes fist* For instance, there was the time we watched a Batman: The Animated Series episode where Batman has been put into a dream world by the villain and one of the clues is that all the signs, lettering, etc. are gibberish. Joe had to explain this trope to me because I was unfamiliar with it. I've been able to read things quite clearly in my dreams before. (The stories are not good stories, but the text is English.) So shortly after Joe told me about the trope, I had a dream in which I looked at a poster and made a deliberate effort to read it to test the trope, and the poster manifested perfectly good English.

There was also the time I wanted to talk to Jedao (I don't know why this struck me as a good idea; quite possibly I was experiencing writer's block?) in the dream, but I was only able to raise him on the radio, not get to him physically. Which is kind of lolarious now that I think about it.

ETA: Tracked down the journal entry. Apparently his advice to me was "Use available resources." Oh, shut up, you, this is why I plan to [verb] you.




I have a bunch of the usual boring anxiety stuff too, but who cares about that. My brain seems to have moved on from "Yoon forgot to do topology homework due tomorrow," which I had been begging for years, only to replace it with "it is the first day of classes and Yoon does not know what the first class is or where to go." To say nothing of a particularly brain-breaking recent one in which Joe and I were both in a 900-level physics class and I was sitting there in mute dread and incomprehension while Joe was just fine because physicist. Joe's reaction, when I recounted this one to him in the supermarket, was, "YOON. THERE ARE NO 900-LEVEL PHYSICS CLASSES." (I don't know if this is literally true or not, but it doesn't matter because you're never going to catch me in one either way.)

I don't get the embarrassing-naked dreams. It's always about academic failure, or locker combos.

What are your interesting dream tidbits?
26 January 2015 13:44 - Adapting the Wheel of Time
swan_tower: (ouroboros)

I doubt they’ll ever make the Wheel of Time into a TV series — but it’s an interesting mental exercise, thinking about how they would do it. (I do this sort of thing a lot, because it makes me think differently about story structure and how to create the appropriate shape.)

Up front: no way in hell would they just film it the way they’ve done with Martin’s books, (roughly) one book per season; that would make for fourteen seasons of TV, and even in a hypothetical scenario nobody’s going to do that. Even allowing for reductions based on things like “you don’t have to describe clothing when you can just show it” and “we’ll go straight to the meeting between these characters, rather than spending an entire chapter setting it up,” you’ve still got too much. Even if you go further and cut out a lot of the side viewpoints. You have to make it smaller. We’ll give them seven seasons to play with: that should be enough.

The next thing is that you have to restructure it. You can’t just condense the material and then film it straight through, because you’ve got to make sure the beats fall where they should. The end of every season needs to have something significant happening with the protagonist. I said in my discussion of writing long fantasy series that you need to hammer in some pegs for major events, and then navigate a path between them; in this case that means deciding what’s happening with Rand at the end of every season, and then shifting everything else to form a good shape around that. Theoretically the same should have been true of the books, but — well. Because of the way the structure got out of control, there are several books where the actual climax of the book is in somebody else’s plot strand.

Going through the series, what are his big events at the end of each book?

Read the rest of this entry  )

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

26 January 2015 13:59 - Do my homework
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
In the old film Hear My Song, there's a short bit where two of Micky O'Neill's employees spontaneously do a little dancing while working on the marque of the theater. Who played them?
ceciliatan: (default)

Tower-and-Tears_Amazon_200I’ve been having a verrrry busy week on the Internet so I figured I’d present it in a roundup blog post:

I’m on a blog tour to support the release of The Tower and the Tears, which has a bisexual hero and the idea for which came about while I was writing Harry Potter fanfic for fun. Two of the guest blogs I did on those topics have gone bananapants viral!

First, over at the Lambda Literary Review I wrote about the trope of “Bisexuality in Science Fiction” literature.

I wrote: “As a young bisexual growing up in the 1980s, when I thought I was possibly the only one of my species, I was drawn to science fiction because while I didn’t see space for myself to exist in contemporary stories, I could imagine a world that included people like me only by imagining other worlds. I wasn’t the only one who felt that way: many writers also used the expansive canvas of worldbuilding and futurism that science fiction afforded them to explore sexuality “outside the box,” and bisexuality in particular is a trope that has been explored variously in every era of the genre.”

I talk about how “Science fiction literature of the 1970s used bisexuality as a signifier of outsider/other, alien, or futuristic status” but how more recently, as the literature moved toward more representation of actual people and not “tropes” in the late 90s, bisexual characters in sf/f began to suffer the same invisibility that bisexual people do in real life.

The article got a big shoutout on i09 and you can read the original article on the Lambda Literary website: http://www.lambdaliterary.org/features/01/18/a-look-at-bisexuality-in-science-fiction/

Second, I wrote about “Why Fanfic Matters to Pros” for the OTW website.

International Fanworks Day is coming up, and as the OTW gears up for that, my post tackles the subject of why fanfic and fanworks are good for professional writers.

“We pro writers can be a very insecure lot, and with good reason: our world is uncertain, and our lives and livelihoods often depend on the whims of both large corporations and the faceless masses. Just because the corporations are cozying up to fans now (and looking to utilize and even monetize fan culture) doesn’t mean that the landscape got any smoother or more reassuring for us. For some, I’m sure the spectre of fan fiction is even more ghoulish than it was before. For those who were convinced fanfic was a form of theft, the money being earned by EL James and Anna Todd must seem like proof!”

“[Some pro authors believe] fanfiction hurts writers because it takes away attention from the writer’s original work and gives it to fan writers instead. This last point is truly an emotional one, but if looked at with rational eyes is revealed to be patently backwards. There is no more loving and in-depth attention given to a writer’s work than that paid by fanfic writers and readers.”

The OTW also shared a snippet from the essay on their Tumblr and it has been reblogged many times:

“Pro writers: this isn’t a zero sum game. Every minute a reader’s eyeballs are on fanfic does not mean a minute is subtracted from the attention the original work receives. We don’t get paid per eyeball or per minute anyway: there is no Nielsen rating for books. If anything we get “paid” these days for the size of our audience (author “platform”) and the passion of reader engagement, both of which are GROWN via the vehicle of fanfic. Fans are good for a career. Fans are good for a writer to have. Fans are not merely a passive sea of consumers: fans are evangelists, recruiters, and cheerleaders. Given that, why wouldn’t a professional writer want to do everything possible to support fans and fandom?”

Original piece: http://transformativeworks.org/news/otw-guest-post-cecilia-tan
Tumblr excerpt: http://transformativeworks.tumblr.com/post/108746700836/pro-writers-this-isnt-a-zero-sum-game-every

cecilia-tan-bwc-banner

Meanwhile, I was interviewed on two blogs as part of the tour, by fellow authors who will be presenting at BDSM Writers Con in August. Gray Dixon and Silk Jones both write kinky romance and interviewed me about the subject:

Gray asked “What kind of research do you do for your books?”

Cecilia Tan: My entire life ends up being inadvertent research. Since I’ve been in the BDSM lifestyle for over 20 years if I happen to want to include a kink in a book or story I can usually find someone who can tell me about it. The details from life that make it into books aren’t necessarily what you can read in how-to books: the way my socks feel as my lover pulls them off my feet, shower sex can make me lightheaded, the way lube tastes when you accidentally get it in your mouth… I end up researching mundane things like floor plans for the buildings where scenes are set, the time of sunrise, and weather.

Read the whole interview on Gray Dixon’s blog here: http://graydixon.blogspot.com/2015/01/flogger-friday-with-cecilia-tan.html

Silk asked “Do your nearest and dearest know what you do, and if so, what was their reaction when they found out?”

Cecilia Tan: “Found out” makes it sound like my erotic writing was ever a secret. It was never a secret. I’ve been a professional erotica writer pretty much my entire adult life. My first professionally published story over 20 years ago was a self-bondage story called “A True Story,” which it was. My mother was little worried about bondage and the master/slave roleplaying at first. Her take was that she couldn’t figure out how she had raised me to be a freedom fighter for civil rights and yet I could eroticize slavery. Once I explained that BDSM is about consent and a personal imaginative connection between two people, and nothing about the subjugation of one race by another, she was fine with it. She reads all my books!

Read the whole interview on Silk’s blog here: http://silkjones.com/interview-cecilia-tan/

Still to come, an interview on Paige Matthews’ blog and an essay on bisexual characters and identification that will be posted as part of the Queers Destroy Science Fiction! campaign on Kickstarter!

I also did an online video chat, which you can now watch:

Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

26 January 2015 01:37 - There was something very weird
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Going on with the frame rates on tonight's Broadchurch.
25 January 2015 17:49 - Help me recreate a drink!
swan_tower: (Default)

When my husband and I were in England a couple of years ago, we had lunch in Highgate at a place that also served a drink I found absolutely delicious. We have recently found the list of ingredients again, so now our challenge is: what should the proportions be?

The drink contained:

Hendricks gin
Zubrowka
apple juice
elderflower juice
mint

We have a different brand of gin and elderflower syrup, so we may need to adjust slightly for that. Ideal result is for it to not taste very alcoholic — since I don’t like drinks that are terribly strong. Any suggestions for proportions?

Edited to add: It was served in a martini glass, to give you an idea of final volume.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

25 January 2015 19:03 - brainfail
yhlee: soulless (orb) (AtS soulless (credit: mango_icons on LJ))
My brain is still convinced that Massachusetts is west of New York state. I did a double-take when I saw a map of the incoming blizzard that's currently up at CNN.com. Which is probably why I flunked the 13 colonies (?) quiz in AP U.S. History the first time I took it. (We all did so poorly the teacher gave us a retake, in an unusual act of mercy.)

I have circled in lime green where my brain thinks Massachusetts is. NO I DON'T KNOW WHY.


(screencap of CNN.com 1/25/2015 around 7:10 p.m.)

If I ever went to war, I would hire someone with a sense of direction to run it, and retire to do something useful, like inventorying boots.

Not coincidentally, I also have a flipped version of the map of Rokugan in my head, as if east and west were switched up. This made trying to read the account of how the Unicorn Clan returned through the Shadowlands completely incomprehensible until I actually flipped to the map.

Sometimes I think I must have dyslexia. :(

Anyway, y'all, stay warm.
25 January 2015 18:40 - [BJD] Kel Cheris
yhlee: a plush raven on a plush fox (hxx Cheris Jedao)

Kel Cheris

Based on character art by [personal profile] telophase, which I commissioned for my character.

Costume by Sewing Box Designs.

BJD in question is an Elfdoll Wysteria.
catvalente: (pic#941394)

It’s that time, everyone! Nebula Awards nominations are open until February 15, for those of you in the SFWA. The 2015 World Fantasy Awards judges are in their reading period until June 1. If you are attending this year’s World Fantasy Convention or attended one in the last two years – you can nominate!

ifmagic-coverThen there are the Hugo Awards: the nominations period opened just over a week ago. Step up, step up, one and all of you who are Worldcon members – do your genre duty and have your say in the best stories, films, and related works of 2014!

Remember, anyone who attended Worldcon last year or is registered for this year’s Worldcon (or next year’s!) by the end of this month can nominate.

CMV’s eligible for the Best Related Works category this year, with her collection of essays, Indistinguishable from Magic.

Nominate early, vote often, and read always.

Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

25 January 2015 14:33
phi: (Default)
I am home from silent retreat. It was very good for me in a lot of ways and also nowhere near as silent as I've come to expect, as there were a dozen guests of the monastery, and not all of them quite understood the concept of "silence." As I said earlier today in a chat with a friend, "it gave me an opportunity to practice the Christian virtues of patience and forbearance with my fellows!"

My darling love M left me a full sink of dishes before he left for New Jersey, and as he doesn't get home until tomorrow, they're mine to wash. Fun times! After that a friend is coming over and there's also a new Courtney Milan out (a "new adult" contemporary, of all things), so I may still be scarce on the internet. My email is terrifying; if you want my attention SMS or gchat are the way to go.
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