Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"It Traverses With Terrible Slowness the Distance Between Wisconsin and Massachusetts"

Girl Hours by Sofia Samatar
Surreal Fortune by Bruce Boston 
Terrunform by Tori Truslow
The Melancholy of Mechagirl by Catherynne Valente
Ophelia by Qyn
Neuschwabenland by John Zaharick
Lost by Amal El-Mohtar
What Ray Taught Me by Jenny Rossi
With Teeth by Alexander Lumans
April by Nita Sembrowich

Sheshnaag by Shweta Narayan

(honestly, you probably may as well read the whole spring issue of Goblin Fruit I haven't read one so far that I wouldn't link)
At the Duck Convention by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Nail Houses

This article starts out with China, but talks about all sorts of edifices that fight the march of progress and property development. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Nine Eyes

Jon Rafman has created a tumblr of google map street view images. Some are heartbreaking, some are funny. There's a lot of people mooning the van. It's pretty awesome. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

100 Great Science Fiction Stories By Women

The list is alphabetical, with one story per author. I'm actually kind of charmed by the non-hierarchical presentation. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I clicked through to Nation Master from a gun argument thing, which cited some statistics from it in a kind of selective way. But holy cow, man, there's so much here. Crime, economy, environment, demographics. Rate of McDonalds per capita. It's a numbers paradise (also worth mentioning the numbers are pretty raw- like for country variable rape statistics, for example, Sweden is one of the highest ranked rape places, not because more rape goes on, per se, but because more things are classified as rape by law and enforcement actually files rape charges instead of telling victims to go home and think about whether or not they really want to ruin a nice boy's life and try not to be such an easy lay in the future. Also, when comparing countries of vastly different sizes, you often get either per capita data OR raw numbers, but don't always get both.) Mousing over categories will get you expanded definitions and citations.

This is going to be a black hole of my time for a bit.  

Sunday, July 14, 2013

My Old Timey Radio has hundreds of old radio shows. Including the one where Superman fights the KKK. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Teddy Girls

Youth fashion is pretty much always silly and wild. Especially in London. Here's an article about the girl variant of the Ted gangs

Monday, July 8, 2013

Period Accurate Princesses

So, okay, it's a Disney Princess thing, and I apologize for that, but it's really, really cool, by an artist who does right by the costumes, and had a great sense of humor.

Actually, I've been kind of fascinated by Dinsey princesses lately, since that whole mess with Merida (I still haven't actually seen Brave, but I did love Tangled). I even went to their site and played with their digital paper dolls. Mulan, Rapunzel, and Pocahontas have also gotten some kind of objectionable make-overs, and there's sparkle animation all over the place, but honestly? I kind of like it there. The splash page is iffy, but once you get past that, it's all coloring and java games, and, okay, the Pocahontas paper doll kind of hurts (it's kind of a grab bag of any Native American-ish look they could think of (oddy, Snow White's is, for my money, by far the best)), but generally it all seems pretty harmless, even positive.

But the Princesses. Man. It's this weird thing where they transcend themselves and their sometimes mediocre movies, and they're not just brands, they're kind of icons. Dense cores of cultural signifiers. Avatars. Semiotic cluster bombs. That can be endlessly recombined into things that are both lovingly and criticizingly askew. Maybe it's because they're sold to us so hard, or because we first run across them in our childhood, or because they're such powerfully distilled archetypes. Or some combination. I dunno. It's late at night.

Anyway. Princesses. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Ex-Manic Pixie Dream Girl

Laurie Penny talks about expectations and performance. For the ladies.

Also, happy Fourth of July!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

This Whole Convention Harassment Debate

Actually, I want to start with a small but relevant aside.

I'd been exhausted by stories where people threatened to rape somebody for saying something they didn't like. It's been a really long year for that, and lately I just hadn't been clicking on the stories forwarded to me because once you learn the pattern, it's depressingly predictable. I don't open about 75% of "gaming culture" interest articles for this reason.

And then somebody forwarded me this.

While the Zelda stuff is cool, incredibly well drawn, and focused around an already relatively strong (in later games) female character from a property that my mom and I played together when I was a child, what really struck me was "inspired by Anita Sarkeesian's video game tropes".

If you were lucky enough to miss the row, Anita Sarkeesian is a feminist gamer who set up a kickstarter to fund a series of videos talking about tropes in video games that were misogynist, like how frequently they are kidnapped or incapacitated non-playable characters. Sarkeesian's kickstarter was successful, but plagued by criticism like how she was asking a suspiciously high amount to cover production values of a series she was already producing and also how she was a horrible bitch who needed to be raped to death (the latter coupled with denial of service attacks and porn on her wiki page and so on). The bulk of the information available about the project has focused on the harassment campaign, with many people being very excusing of it as "just the way the internet is".

And then this Zelda thing. This thing where somebody opened with "I listened to Anita Sarkeesian and I thought she had a point, so I did something about it." There've been a couple of these- hacks that let you play the Princesses instead of Mario or Link and the like- people doing stuff that's creative, productive, positive, and elegantly brilliant.

And it uplifts my whole soul.

Despite the convention harassment debate following a depressingly similar early trajectory, I have been keeping up with it. If I want to play games, I can play them without interacting with too many of the people online who give the hobby a bad reputation, but writing and meeting other writers is something I want to do at a semi-professional level, and that probably means conventions.

And honestly, I feel good about where it is.

There was a while there where the first women out of the gate to complain about behavior they had experienced got shouted down. The dismissal of  Rebecca Watson (not a sci-fi writer, but the same sort of thing) was particularly ugly. But what started as a trickle turned into this gut-wrenching flood of testimony from women who hadn't previously spoken up because they were afraid they'd cut themselves off from careers, because people around them told them it was somehow their fault- or they did speak up and nothing was done. It got too big to ignore, and for the most part- and this is what's important here- everyone I've seen has said "this is a thing we should not allow to happen." Almost nobody anymore is saying "maybe it's just all in their heads".

And instead of spending time arguing whether people (both male and female, which is a point I've seen made multiple times in the last few days) attending conventions have a right to expect not to be stalked, grabbed, and harassed, people are posting information about how to report. People are posting about how to organize conventions to avoid this while keeping the environment fun for people. Big name authors like Scalzi are pledging not to attend any conventions that don't have a clear harassment policy and information about how to report.

People are past the stage of complaining, and they're in the stage of doing. Of fixing.

It's very easy to feel like standing up and saying something is wrong isn't worthwhile. It opens you up to attack, it can cut off avenues to reach your dreams. But stuff like the above gives me a lot of hope, because people aren't just speaking into an angry, hostile void. People really are listening, and at least some of them are going to pick up the tools they have at hand and build a better world.

And that's fucking beautiful. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Repurposed Churches

Absolutely beautiful old houses of worship turned into beautiful living spaces, eateries, offices, and museums.