The World in the Satin Bag has moved to my new website.  If you want to see what I'm up to, head on over there!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Non-Binary SF/F and Message Fiction (or, "I don't know what that is or why non-binary SF/F fits")

(Note:  comments will be monitored on this post due to the nature of the debate surrounding this topic.  I hope I won't have to remove anything, but I have a low tolerance for rude behavior right now.  If you can't make your point without being a jackass, even if that point agrees with my own, then take it elsewhere.)

You might have seen the response to Alex MacFarlane's Tor.com post, "Post-Binary Gender in SF:  Introduction."  If not, you can read the words of Jim C. Hines and Justin Landon, who both have things to say of their own.  I'm not going to address content of the primary response to MacFarlane (well, not the whole of it, anyway) or offer a line-by-line critique a la Hines.  Rather, I want to talk about a specific issue within this debate:  message fiction.  I would also be remiss to neglect to mention my post entitled "Gender Essentialism, Genre, and Me," which is amusingly relevant to the larger discussion being had in the community right now.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Announcement -- 2010: A SFF Film Odyssey begins in February!

What is it?
The SFF Film Odyssey (2010 edition) is the result of a twitter conversation I had last year, in which I remarked that it would be super cool if I could figure out a way to review every SF/F movie released since 2000 in one year.  Unfortunately, that's nearly 1,000 films, and I have three jobs...so clearly that's impossible.  Instead, throughout 2014, I will watch and review every science fiction and fantasy film released in 2010!  A more reasonable goal, and one that will give me a reason to go through the years of SF/F film one at a time!

What will it entail?
Reviews, discussions, and rants about SF/F movies from 2010.  I'm keeping away from a single format for these posts in order to add some variation, which will hopefully keep readers interested...and me.

A couple caveats:
  1. Films that do not have English subtitles or dubs (where relevant) will be removed (I don't think this will matter, but just in case).
  2. Films released straight to DVD do not apply, nor do films which appeared on television, but not in theaters.
  3. Films which are sequels will be replaced by the first film in the series (there are only a handful in the list right now).  If I have time, I'll review an entire series.
  4. I am sure to miss some films, as my list currently consists of what can be found here and here.  There are roughly 63 films there, but if you know of any others that should be considered, leave a comment here or send an email to arconna[at]yahoo[dot]com
  5. Films which are not American in origin will be discussed on The Skiffy and Fanty Show blog, which is currently on a World SF Tour.
When exactly will it start?
It's possible I'll get things started next week, but since my laptop will need to go in for repairs on Monday, it may be a little while before I'm able to really dig in deep.  On a more realistic note, this thing will likely start around the first or second week of February.

And that's that.  So...time to get to work!

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*Thanks to Justin Landon for helping me with the name for this feature.  He gets three gold stars for his efforts.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Gender Essentialism, Genre, and Me

I'm late to the party.  The first major SF/F controversy party.  And while this post won't be about Kemp's argument specifically, it does come out of the discussions about his post -- most particularly the criticisms.[1]

Part of the problem I have with traditional gender roles is the way they assume what manhood (or womanhood) is based on behaviors which are definitively not gendered.  There's nothing explicitly masculine about aggression or nobility.  There's nothing explicitly feminine about child rearing, except insofar as it is currently required for women to be the carriers of unborn children.  Gender essentalism, however, assumes there are definitely gendered behaviors, such that chivalry is read as "male/masculine" and cowardice is read as "female/feminine."  If this association sounds negative, that's because the construction of male/female or masculine/feminine is frequently a negative.  These associations are also oriented around agency, where masculine behaviors are active and feminine behaviors are passive.  There are all manner of gendered constructions, and each is based on arbitrary, culturally-determined factors.

The impact of gender essentialism in this particular context is often unintended, but, by the nature of a culture's ability to transmit its behavioral modes, it is also pervasive.  We are all coded by our

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Self-Published Books vs. Literary Awards: In Response to Linda Nagata

I'm a little late to the party, but Linda Nagata kindly rebutted my original post on the logistical issues of literary awards as a rationale for the rejection of self-published books from the consideration lists.  Here, I'd like to respond to some of her arguments.

First, I'll say that I don't disagree with most of what Nagata has to say.  As an author who has traveled in both publishing camps, she of course understands the issue on a different level, and thus has valid points to make about the value of literary awards to SPed authors, etc.  My main point of contention surrounds this quote:

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Movie Review Rant : Catching Fire (2013)

As I write this sentence, Catching Fire (2013), the sequel to The Hunger Games (2012), is encroaching upon the $700mil box office mark.  It's a huge film, and there are a lot of things to love about it.

Before I get to my rant/review, here are a couple quick notes:

Sunday, January 05, 2014

A (Possibly Evolving) List of Great Novels by African Writers -- for @jmmcdermott

I've been commanded by Lord McDermott to put together a list of great novels by African writers so he'd have some stuff to read.  And that's exactly what I've done.

I've intentionally chucked out the books everyone has likely read, such as Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (I know for a fact that Mr. McDermott has read this one, so that's an easy task).

In no particular order, here are the novels (a very VERY short list):