alanajoli: (mini me short hair)
The Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards were announced last weekend at Mythcon 45, at which I had a fantastic time. (I made my first food sculpture, below, at the Mythcon Banquet, an annual tradition that I find wonderful. I love that the con in Mythcon could equally represent conference and convention; both words accurately describe the atmosphere, which is a mix of scholarly and fannish all at once.)


Shadowchild from Guest of Honor Ursula Vernon's Digger

I've served on the Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards (both adults and children's lists for fiction, but not the scholarly juries) for several years now, and this was the first time I was able to attend the awards ceremony, which I was allowed to livetweet. (I'm @alanajoli.) This year's awards went to:

  • Mythopoeic Fantasy Award in Adult Literature: Helene Wecker, The Golem and the Jinni

  • Mythopoeic Fantasy Fantasy Award in Children's Literature: Holly Black, Doll Bones

  • Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies: Jason Fisher, ed., Tolkien and the Study of His Sources: Critical Essays

  • Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Myth & Fantasy Studies: G. Ronald Murphy, Tree of Salvation: Yggdrasil and the Cross in the North

The full announcement with book jackets and links to purchase is available on the Mythopoeic Society website.

This was my first year voting on the Hugo Awards, which was a very different experience. The MFAs are very much a juried award; the mailing list discusses the merits and flaws in the longlist and finalists throughout the process, and anyone participating in the jury is expected to read each as many on the longlist as they can and each of the finalists at least once. The Hugos, on the other hand, don't have any of that conversation, in part because there are so many voters that such an official mailing list might be ridiculous. There's also no real expectation that voters read anything other than what they want to, and they're free to vote for only their favorites if they like. Given my MFA training, I didn't feel comfortable voting in the novel category (where I'd not read, in full, any of the nominated works), but I did read all the short stories and novelettes and read selections of the writings by all the Campbell nominees. So I was eager to see the results this evening, which--as of this post--I've not been able to find listed anywhere. With the thought of saving others from going through the chat transcript of the live awards coverage (which does have some excellent commentary), I thought I'd list the winners here.

  • Campbell Award: Sofia Samatar

  • Best Fan Artist: Sarah Webb

  • Best Fan Writer: Kameron Hurley

  • Best Fancast: SF Signal Podcast

  • Best Fanzine: A Dribble of Ink

  • Best Semiprozine: Lightspeed

  • Best Professional Artist: Julie Dillon

  • Best Editor, Long Form: Ginjer Buchanan

  • Best Editor, Short Form: Ellen Datlow

  • Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: Game of Thrones, “The Rains of Castamere”

  • Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: Gravity

  • Best Graphic Story: “Time,” Randall Munroe (XKCD)

  • Best Related Work: “We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative,” Kameron Hurley

  • Best Short Story: “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu

  • Best Novelette: “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal

  • Best Novella: “Equoid” by Charles Stross

  • Best Novel: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

I'm surprised (and occasionally disappointed) by some of these wins, but some of them please me tremendously. I'm especially pleased to see my taste reflected in the Best Short Story and Best Novelette categories; Kowal's novelette had me sobbing as I read it, and Chu's short story, the first of his that I've read, has turned me into a fan seeking out more of his work. I think it's great to see Kameron Hurley win not one but two Hugos; I loved her essay when it first came out, and I've been meaning to seek out her fiction as well. Now seems the time!

I also think the gender balance here is really interesting; for an award that has a reputation for having so many men as nominees and winners, this list has an awful lot of women on it! I didn't even realize the break-down until I was typing it up. I don't have any commentary on that other than just the observation.

Congratulations to all the Hugo, Campbell, and Mythopoeic Winners!
alanajoli: (mini me short hair)
As I just posted over at the Substrate blog, congrats to Max on his Campbell nomination! As I mentioned in my last post, there's been some complaint about a lack of diversity among the Hugo nominees, but there's nowhere that that's less true than the Campbell slate. Here's the list:


  • Wesley Chu

  • Max Gladstone

  • Ramez Naam

  • Sofia Samatar

  • Benjanun Sriduangkaew


I'm actually reading (and enjoying) Samatar's Stranger in Olondria in my current pile (which is divided among review books, jury books, and picture books...), and Chu's Lives of Tao/Deaths of Tao look right up my alley. Naam is a computer scientist and futurist as well as an SF writer, and though I'm not usually a thriller reader, I'm definitely intrigued by his profile. Sriduangkaew got nominated on the strength of her short fiction; according to other blogs that I've read, that happens very rarely. Regardless of who wins, the future of SF is bright!

fullfathomfive

Speaking of the future being bright, in July, my so-far favorite of Max's Craft-verse books, Full Fathom Five, comes out! Better yet, you can read the first five chapters at Tor.com right now!
alanajoli: (mini me short hair)
So, the 2014 Hugo finalists came out. And the usual furor ensued about which authors are pushing which agendas--which is always an interesting conversation. Over at Tor.com, Liz Bourke posted "Sleeps with Monsters: How about Those Hugos?," and I found the comments section to be an interesting cross-section of SFF fans. I found one of Liz's responses to a reader, who claimed one author promoted no agenda in his work, telling. She wrote: "You don't see the message, perhaps, because you agree with it. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist, nor that it doesn't alienate as many readers as it entertains."


Best novel nominee Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie, which has been recommended to me a ridiculous number of times, and which I'm looking forward to reading.


There are a lot of accusations about how nominees for the Hugos are selected because they promote certain PC agendas. These usually come from readers who enjoy traditional SFF elements, in novels which are frequently led by a white-cis-male protagonist. Disclosure: I like a lot of traditional SFF stuff myself, and I'm a fan of shared-world fantasy, which tends to revisit a lot of the old tropes over and over again. (Sometimes in new and interesting ways, but that's a conversation for another post.)

I also like books with female protagonists. I like books that show different cultures and different worldviews, and I like books in which the diversity of opinions and worldviews and ethnicities reflects the same sort of complex world we live in, rather than assuming one unified cultural identity. I have sometimes surprised myself by liking books that stray outside my normal relationship comfort zones. (Triptych by J. M. Frey was one of the novels that most impressed me in 2011. If it hadn't been recommended to me, I might not have read it, as I'd have thought it wasn't my sort of thing--and I'd really have missed out.)

I think that what people who talk about "diversity checklists" may not realize is that people don't nominate those books because they promote a certain agenda (though that might be part of it). People nominate those books because they like them. They enjoy reading that type of story. Those books provide the same level of entertainment and emotional arc for readers who like that sort of thing as traditional novels do for readers who like that sort of thing. And for people who are bored of the white-cis-male-led stories, there are still plenty of people who enjoy those books, and there's not anything wrong with that (so long as those books aren't the only thing being published).

People like what they like. As long as the world continues to be a diverse place, we're probably going to keep disagreeing about what we like and what's good. And as long as we can disagree respectfully, I think that's okay.
alanajoli: (mini me short hair)


Only 11 days until Hugo Nominations are due, and I'm still sorting through my list of titles, deciding what I'm going to nominate, figuring out what authors I read compulsively had titles out in 2013, etc., etc. I'm used to nominating for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards, which require a single-book nomination to stand alone, so entries in the "Kate Daniels" series or the "Kitty the Werewolf" series aren't eligible. Not so with the Hugos! The stand-alone quality is not a judge of merit. (Notably, I'm behind on the Kitty books, which is why I haven't listed one below. I've no doubt that the two published in 2013 are awesome and worthy of consideration!)

Taking into account what a "typical WorldCon voter" is expected to be like (see Jim Hines on Larry Correia on Alex Dally MacFarlane; my comment is, of course, tongue in cheek), here are some of the pieces and people currently on my whittling-down list:

Campbell eligible:
Max Gladstone
Shawna Mlawski
Mark H. Williams
Brian McClellan

Short stories:
"Drona's Death" Max Gladstone, xoxo Orpheus
"The Best We Can" Carrie Vaughn, Tor.com
"Stranger vs. the Malevolent Malignancy" Jim Hines, Unidentified Funny Objects 2
“The Life Expectancy of Cockroaches” by Michelle Muenzler, Crossed Genres
"Galatea Odysseus" Madeline Miller, xoxo Orpheus
"The Squid Who Fell in Love with the Sun," Ben Loory, xoxo Orpheus

Novels:
Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone
Sleepless Knights by Mark H. Williams
Pen Pal by Francesca Forrest
Codex Born by Jim Hines
Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan
Cold Copper by Devon Monk
Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews
Hammer of Witches by Shawna Mlawski

Graphic novels:
RASL by Jeff Smith
Saga vol 2 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples
Hawkeye vol 1 by Matt Fraction and David Aja

Editors:
Moshe Feder
Marco Palmieri
Stacy Whitman
Erika Tsang

Dramatic Long Form:
Choice of the Deathless by Max Gladstone -- notably, this is an interactive novel game app, which may mean this isn't technically the category for it, but there's some buzz this year about nominating games for this category, and I'm all for that.

I'm still poking around the Internet to make sure I haven't miscategorized 2013 titles in my head as belonging to other years. What books and stories are appearing in your nominations lists (if you're voting), or which would you pick (if you're not)?
alanajoli: (mini me short hair)


I've sent in my final nominations for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards jury that I've been serving on for the last few years, and I just got the e-mail that Hugo Award Nominations are open. Exciting stuff! I'm not shy about sharing books I love here, but I'm not always up on what's eligible and what's not. Here are a few highlights of folks and books I think deserve to be recognized (with the note that I have not fully researched their eligibility):

  • Fellow Substrater Max Gladstone is in his second (and last) year of eligibility for the Campbell award. His novel Two Serpents Rise is eligible for Best Novel. There is no question in my mind that he's getting nominations for both from me. Go Max!

  • I'm not sure if Shana Mlawski is eligible for the Campbell, since her first novel is a YA, but if she is, she's also on my list. I'm a little surprised there's no YA/children's category for the Hugos, but I guess that's what the Nortons are for. Shame I'm not an SFWA member (one day!) and thus can't weigh in on those.

  • Mark H. Williams's Sleepless Knights is both brilliant and, I believe, eligible. I'm pretty sure he could be nominated for the Campbell also; it's his debut novel, but he is also a playwright and television writer, and I don't know how that plays out with the Campbell award.

I have to go back through my list and figure out which books I read last year were actually published in 2013 so I can determine what's eligible. I read so much stuff for review before it comes out (and catch up with so many books in the couple of years after they're published) that I always have to go back and look.

Who are your nomination choices this year? Who should I be paying attention to who's eligible for stuff? (And please, don't be shy about recommending your own books!)
alanajoli: (Default)
Last weekend, Substrate got together -- mostly in Boston area, but a few of us stragglers couldn't get to the physical location. We logged onto Skype, our usual long-distance communication technique, and realized that with two of us off site, we couldn't all have video.

Enter Google.

The new Hangout feature on Google+ allows for unlimited (as far as I know) video connections on the same feed. And so, Substrate gathered, to me all on one screen, and we discussed a role playing setting and two short stories (one of which was mine), much to the benefit of those of us who had pieces critiqued. It was great to get the gang back together (as Kermit says), and I'm excited to get to work revising "Good Company."

--

Super exciting good news since I last wrote: Haunted came in first in the Critters Writers Workshop Preditors and Editors Readers Poll!



We also got a very nice review from Dave over at Hellnotes.

I couldn't be more pleased with how well Haunted, is doing, and I hope those of you who have picked it up have enjoyed it!
alanajoli: (Default)
This is my last day to post about my experience reading the MFA nominees this year before the winners are announced, so I figured I'd better do a write up quickly!

I have to say that this year's finalist lists were a real joy for me. Usually, there's at least one book in the finalists that I detest, or appreciate but slog through. Sometimes there's one that I just don't get. This year, I'm happy to say that, whether or not I feel they're the best choice for the award, I enjoyed all of the books on the finalist lists for both the adult MFA and children's MFA.

Children's List

The awards finally got me to finish Megan Whelan Turner's "The Queen's Thief" series. I'd started The Thief some time ago and hadn't really enjoyed the style; when I got to the end of that book, however, I realized what all the fuss was about, and why it was an award winner. The rest of the series really won me over, and I'm very glad to have read them. Polly Schulman's The Grimm Legacy was a great discovery, and I thought Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson was a great recasting of a Grimm fairy tale in a non-Western setting.

Adult List

The best discovery on this list for me was, without a doubt, Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord. Based on a Senagalese folk story, this short novel grabbed me and didn't let go, and I was very pleased to see it make it from the long list to the finalists. I was also tremendously excited that Devon Monk's collection A Cup of Normal made the finalists; Devon's been a great inspiration for me a number of times, from both her blog and her fiction, and I'm tickled to see her recognized. Guy Gavriel Kay's Under Heaven is another excellent contender, and definitely shows how the definition of mythopoeic can expand to include epics outside of a Western comfort zone. There's always a lot of conversation on the jury lists about what it means for a book to be mythopoeic; Kay's novel uses a different cultural language, by being set in China, than the usual candidates, and it's not directly tied to a folktale the way Lord's novel is. And yet, magic and the supernatural are always just on the other side of a boundary from Kay's characters -- sometimes crossing over it directly but other times only hinting at the presence of Other nearby. It worked for me not only on the fantasy fiction level, but also on a mythopoeic level, and I'd highly recommend it ([livejournal.com profile] lyster, this means you, although I'll be surprised if you hadn't discovered it already *g*).

That said, I'd recommend all of the finalists this year, even the ones I didn't directly point out here. I enjoyed all of them, some of them to my own surprise, and some of them just as I expected. (I can't think of the last time I didn't enjoy one of Terry Pratchett's novels, for example, and it's never a surprise to see him on the finalists list. Speaking of Pratchett, Genreville linked to a cool discussion about gender in Discworld this week, which is worth checking out.) So, if you're looking for something good to read, pop by the MythSoc Awards list and you'll have ten good things to put on your to-be-read pile. The winner will be announced at the Mythcon 42 banquet tonight!
alanajoli: (Default)
As I mentioned earlier, I got my Serenity Adventures earned Origins Award, known as a "Callie" (because it's in the shape of the muse Calliope) in the mail in the last few weeks.



In honor of Calliope's arrival, I came up with my very first contest question: Who is your muse? This could refer back to which of the classical muses you prefer (I admit to having a soft spot for Terpischore, the dancer, who appeared in a couple of mosaics and paintings I've seen as a red-head, so she reminds me of my sister, but I know I work for Calliope). If you'd like to take a less literal interpretation, feel free. On August 8th (one week from today!) I'll choose the answer I like best -- or, more likely, I'll think they're all good and won't be able to choose, so I'll use a random number generator like all the cool kids.



Your fabulous prize is an advanced reader copy of Troy High by Shana Norris, which just released today. I had the opportunity to review this one for School Library Journal, and I have to say that The Iliad works brilliantly well as a high school football rivalry. (I can't say more than that here -- you'll have to do a search for my SLJ review.)



So, who's your muse?
alanajoli: (Default)
It's been awhile.

I've been involved in sort of a big new project that's been taking up a lot of my time. It's called: being pregnant. It's very exciting for both me and my husband! That said, it's amazing how much your time management skills change when you have to sleep a much larger portion of the day. I should be back to normal in a few weeks, assuming I'm a text book example of how these things are supposed to go. (I suppose this is also practice for learning new time management skills when I have to balance being a writer and being a mother!)

Now that I've finished up a few deadlines that I was trying to balance with my new schedule over the last few weeks, I'm hoping to be back on track to blog here at MtU&E. There's a lot to talk about! We had Substrate today, which always gives me fodder for thought, I got my Callie award in the mail and will post a picture of that soon (along with the first of my weekly contests, until I run out of prizes!), and Maggie Stiefvater ([livejournal.com profile] m_stiefvater) has done a brilliant guest entry for this Friday. I'll get to talk about Maggie's new book, Shiver, and I've read a couple of really interesting blog posts from other folks that deserve conversation here. I've also submitted my first blog post to Flames Rising ([livejournal.com profile] flamesrising_lj), so I'll make a note when that goes up.

Yes, lots happening in this part of the universe, and there will be much activity here next week. It'll be good to be back.
alanajoli: (british mythology)
It's been a week and a half since I posted? This whole summer thing is wreaking havoc on my blog schedule. (The beach is such a homey place, though... I just can't stay away! Thank goodness for review books that are portable "work" that isn't on my laptop.) The big news is that Serenity Adventures won an Origins Award this weekend! I'm really thrilled -- the competition was very stiff, I thought -- and I wish a huge congrats to editor Jamie Chambers and the other contributors. Good work team!

I've been pondering a number of posts since I was last here, and the one that's been sticking with me is similar to a post I wrote after coming home from Greece and Turkey last year, about alignment. I suspect I recalibrate my spiritual life a little bit every time I come back from a study tour, because I always learn something about myself while I'm away. Sometimes I learn even more when I come back.

When I first went to England as a student on the Myth in Stone tour in 2000, Mark Vecchio advised me that if I wanted to buy a cross necklace for myself, I should look in Glastonbury. Read more... )
alanajoli: (Taru)
One of the things I've noticed since I got back from Greece and Turkey is that I'm feeling a detachment from my former favorite Greek deity. The first time I went, I fell in love with Ephesus (I still am a bit), and so it was natural to take Artemis at Ephesus as a patron, in some ways. I've adopted variations on her name, and on the name Kybele (the Anatolian goddess with whom Artemis merged in Ephesus), in screen names since 2001, trying to recapture the feeling of being in a city that was, once, clearly hers. Ephesus is also, notably, a city that belongs to St. John the Apostle, and though Paul preached there, it was John who lived in Ephesus, with the exception of the years he was in exile, and was eventually buried there. Many of my warm feelings about John the Apostle began at that time as well, though I had always felt some kinship with the disciple Jesus loved.

But this time, I feel as though something has shifted, and I think this is in part due to Mycenae, and in part due to Naxos. Read more... )

--

In other news, Flames Rising has been nominated as best fan product for this year's Ennies! Since I write for them, I'm incredibly tickled, and am wishing Matt and the staff the best of luck!
alanajoli: (Default)
Well, I didn't keep up with the Nebulas and read them all in advance, which I suppose means I can shorten my ever growing reading list by just reading the winners.

One of these years, I will actually keep up again. Maybe I should start a sci-fi/fantasy book club and read the Hugo nominees before WorldCon in September. But since that's only three months away and I know there are more than three nominees for best novel, maybe I'll think ahead to next year and plan it for then. That gives me a little bit of time to start finding sci-fi and fantasy readers in my area--an unexplainable rarity in the land of Yale. You'd think that the Connecticut shoreline would be awash with geeks of all stripes due to the proximity of that institution, but we're sadly short on game stores, niche genre stores, and even just SFF circulation in the libraries. I'll have to see if [livejournal.com profile] banana_pants and any of the other New Haven-ites would be up for some good coffee-shop book clubbing.
alanajoli: (Default)
The Eisners have been announced at the Comic-Con site. I'm starting to recognize more and more names on the list, which is exciting.

The rest is only interesting if you care about comics. )

The Eisners are making a concerted effort to include more manga to reflect the market. Unfortunately, since that's what I'm really most familiar with, I'm still not seeing the titles I recognize--I didn't see any of the hip new OEL (Original English Language) manga that's trying to expand what it means to be manga.

Which means, I guess, that I need to continue to expand my reading list, so I get more familiar with what they *are* selecting. I am impressed at the addition of web comics to the ballot (though that's probably a few years old at this point), and we glad to see Phil and Kaja Foglio's "Girl Genius" on the list.

And now that I'm done rambling about comics, I should get back to work.

--

A big thanks to all the writers who posted their pixilated-technophile-wretch(?) fiction yesterday! Now that I'm aware of it, I'll find a piece to not submit to magazines and instead publish online.
alanajoli: (Default)
The Locus finalists have been posted. Why is it the list of books I need to read keeps growing--far faster than I'm writing my own novel?

Speaking of, Sherwood Smith has a new book coming out sooner than I expected. I'm reading Inda right now, which is a challenging read due to the narration style, but I'm really enjoying it. The new one, Senrid, is due out next month, if I read amazon correctly. This is also when Shanna Swendson's new novel, Damsel under Stress, is going to be out.

It's a good thing I just got a Barnes and Noble gift card.

--

I had my first nightmare about the Greece and Turkey trip last night. I dreamed that I woke up on the Monday we were supposed to be leaving and hadn't packed yet! I also had several press releases I was supposed to post before leaving. As it turned out, we were going to be flying out of Miami, and all the students were to take a train from New York to DC, then on to Florida. I don't know if a train even runs that whole stretch, but it can't be a fast journey. Then the only luggage I could find was reminiscent of those huge liquid containers that McDonald's used to use to bring out the "orange drink" to kids birthday parties.

This was not a pleasant way to sleep.

--

My updated word count looks like I haven't made much progress because I think the story is going to require an additional 10,000 words. I'm hoping I can accomplish it in less, because I'm really ready for the first draft to be finished and out the door.

I've come to the point where I say to the novel, "It's not that I don't love you anymore, it's just that you're driving me crazy."

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
86,245 / 100,000
(86.2%)
alanajoli: (Default)
I swear I'm not procrastinating. It just took me a bit to catch up reading everyone's live journal from over the weekend.

From Neil Gaiman's blog:
Thrilled to see that Pan's Labyrinth is now on the Hugo nominations list (http://www.nippon2007.us/hugo_correction_faq.php).

I desperately want to see that movie, but am afraid I've pretty much missed it. So it should come out on DVD soon. Because I declare it so.

If you're looking for a host of recommendations that didn't make the list this year (but, in some opinions, should have), check out this conversation over at [livejournal.com profile] coffeeem's blog.

Now I must actually accomplish some work before going to second-job this evening (as the library has just put the sequel to Twilight on hold for me, which means I'll get nothing constructive done when I get home from second-job).
alanajoli: (Default)
I'd like to say I've been writing my novel, which is why I haven't been blogging. That works for Friday's excuse. Saturday was spent setting up the new computer, and Sunday transferring all the files I need from my laptop, which is threatening to die. Then I got distracted by Stephanie Meyer's excellent young adult novel Twilight, and it's gone down hill from there.

That said, I think my groove has arrived. I'm going to go heat up lunch in the mircowave, turn off all of the pesky e-mail notifications that distract me, and buckle down this afternoon.

--

Here are the odds and ends:

* Serenity just won the SFX magazine poll for best sci-fi movie. It beat the original Star Wars. Kudos, Mr. Whedon, kudos!

* I just reread the Campbell award contestants for the Hugos and realized that Brandon Sanderson ([livejournal.com profile] mistborn) and Sarah Monette (who wrote the exceptional novel Melusine and its sequel, which I have yet to read) are both on the list! I have no idea how I would choose between them, as their first novels both blew me away. Elantris and Melusine are very different novels, to be sure, but they struck similar chords with me, possibly because I connected with the themes of aloneness and seeking out fellowship in both of them--whether that was intentional on the part of the authors or not.

In short, both are excellent books, and both authors are long ahead of my reading now, as Sanderson's new book Mistborn is waiting patiently for me on my shelf, and I'll have to reread Melusine before I can pick up the sequel, Virtue. I wish both authors the best of luck on that Campbell list!

(Note to self: Maybe I'll read the Campbell authors this year instead of the Hugo competitors. Hmmmm... I need a book group to motivate me. If anyone else wants to make going through the Hugo awards--in whatever capacity--a goal, leave me a note and we can be a livejournal book group!)

--

Regaining Home progress:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
43,111 / 90,000
(47.9%)
alanajoli: (Default)
It's that time again. As BoingBoing announced, the Hugos are up and nominated. Naomi Novik and Neil Gaiman are among the nominees (in two different categories).

The last time I truly paid attention to the Hugos was in 2003. I was running the Science Fiction and Fantasy book group for the Barnes and Noble in West Bloomfield, Michigan. That year, we read something like two thirds of the novels, which included winning title Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer, with whom I was working on an autobiographical essay at the time, and Kiln People by David Brin. That was the book that made me fall in love with cross-genre private eye noir.

I may try to follow them again this year (as much as I can) and see how many I can read before the voting happens. Not that I'll make it to WorldCon in Japan... but it will be fun to follow.

--

Funny that I should mention Sawyer this morning, as I was just thinking about him last night. I started reading King's Peace, by Jo Walton, which begins, in the first chapter, with the main character's rape. One of the problems I had with Hominids, which Sawyer actually dealt with very well and with great sympathy, is that the main female character is raped very early on in the novel. Rape generally bothers me as a fictional device, and I'm astonished how much both rape and attempted rape come up in manga and anime designed for the young female audience.

My friend Lydia Laurenson (whose newest title, The Books of Sorcery: The White and Black Treatises came out in January) has written several very good short essays about the dangers of using rape as a storytelling device in roleplaying games. Sometimes in storytelling, rape is used as a short-hand for how evil the villain is In Hominids or King's Peace, from what I've read of the second so far, as the rapists are mostly nameless and faceless, I suspect that the rape is designed to give the heroine an internal struggle to overcome.

I tend to find almost all uses of rape as a fictional device off-putting at best. In the case of King's Peace, where I had yet to invest in the character, I seriously questioned whether I wanted to continue a book that started with this kind of event. So here's my question: why rape? Is the intention to make the audience uncomfortable (I suspect this is the case in Hominids)? Or have readers in general become desensitized to this type of violence?
alanajoli: (Default)
One of my publishers has just been nominated for several Ennie awards, sort of the gaming industry's equivalent of the Emmys. Alas, none of their nominations were for my title, Gallia, but I am glad to see them noticed, as hopefully it will drive more sales in my general direction.

The nominated title is Baba Yaga, a Russianfolk lore setting for playing d20 fantasy. (Mine is the equivalent book set in France.) It's a neat e-book with some great ideas on magic items that really fit in with Russian folklore.

If you haven't voted at the Ennies before but are interested in doing so, you can vote for your favorite RPGs here. Some great games are up for awards this year, including Mark Smylie's Artesia and Margaret Weis Productions' Serenity. White Wolf and Green Ronin also have nominees. Kenzer and Company's Aces and Eights: Showdown, which has some pretty fantastic concepts on making combat more realistic (from what I remember when I played a preview at Origins 2004) is a nominee in the best rules category. All in all, there are a lot of good folks on the list this year, and if you play RPGs at all, I'd encourage you to vote for your favorites.

**

On a completely different note, it looks like the final writing for Steampunk Musha RPG is finished! Creator Rick Hershey and I just touched up a sample adventure for the book yesterday. It's still listed as "Coming Soon" from Politically Incorrect Games, but hopefully I'll have a pub date to pass along soon. This one will be in both print and electronically, so hopefully it will find its way onto the shelves of gaming stores near you.

**

With all of this going on, and a distinct lack of air conditioning in my apartment, I'm finding it extremely hard to get any work done on novel number two (Departure). My friend Arielle, who is always one of my first readers, is off to Comic Con San Diego this week, so I hope to have quite a bit done by the time she gets back next Monday.

If you're at Comic Con, keep an eye out for the new flyers for Into the Reach, Chronicles of Ramlar, and Verto Syzol's Legendaria Geographica. If the White Silver artists find Arielle at the San Francisco Browncoats booth, there should be some there. Otherwise, Larry Elmore will almost certainly have them, and I understand he's making an appearance.

But now, back to work.

**

Currently Reading: Tales of the Last War, and Eberron short story collection edited by Mark Sehestedt, and Trevis Powell's No Hero, which he kindly sent me in an early draft format. (It debuts at DragonCon.)

Currently Playing: Knights of the Old Republic II: Sith Lords.

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Alana Joli Abbott

July 2017

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