ysabetwordsmith: Cats playing with goldfish (Default)
 I saw this photo and had to write a poem about it.  "Proton Aurora" is 16 lines, $10 if anyone wants it.
ysabetwordsmith: Cats playing with goldfish (Default)
... or in my case, not only thick but also wide-nap and semi-prehensile. This shit happens.  My hair has destroyed more hardware than I can count.
ysabetwordsmith: Cats playing with goldfish (Default)
 "Reading While Cooking" invites readers to submit a request for a type of fiction and a type of recipe.  The first installment suggests non-European fantasy and foods that combine peppercorns with pomegranates.  This project is crowdfunded via Patreon.
ysabetwordsmith: Cats playing with goldfish (Default)
Marvel is picking up Red Wolf again.  It's representation, but far from ideal.  I've listed my Native American superheroes here.
ysabetwordsmith: Cats playing with goldfish (Default)
See an animated map of the slave trade.  If you pause the animation, you can click on any ship for details.

Around 2 million Africans died on the slave ships alone, and more before and after that.  Never forget.
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I have long said that the pyramid of needs is only one way of organizing those values.  Check out the Blackfoot version.

For me, the need to know and understand is fundamental.  Social connections are luxuries from a philosophic point of view, although in this context I need people for practical concerns; but I just don't have as much intrinsic NEED for other people as most folks seem to.  And my transcendence can't turn off no matter what I or anyone else may do; like my sense of self, it is indelible.  The base of my pyramid is, more explicitly than for most people although it is true for everyone, the biosphere of the Earth.  No biosphere, no nothing.  Because I know that, my behavior is very different from people who place their own body's needs at the base.

They're all just concepts.  You can prioritize them in any order you want.  Some orders are more effective than others.  I'm not terribly impressed with the planetwide results of personal-body-needs as a foundation.
ysabetwordsmith: Cats playing with goldfish (Default)
 ... as unearthed by Nalo Hopkinson.  She's one of those writers who likes to do serious research for her F&SF novels.

I would like to add: the perception of stupidity, laziness, and clumsiness is not an accident or a random stereotype.  It is a misinterpretation  of the tactics for survival and resistance by slaves against their owners.  If the master thinks you're rebelling, you'll be punished or killed.  But if you can make them think you're unable  to do better, they're surprisingly easy to fool and will let you alone.  So slaves quite frequently wasted resources, broke or lost tools, dragged their feet, let the livestock out, stole food, and generally did everything they could, as discreetly as possible, to make the masters' lives less pleasant.  

Those strategies linger in poor communities today.  Why bust your ass when all the benefit of your labor gets creamed off for the benefit of people who hate you?  You'll never be permitted to earn more than subsistence wages, so you might as well do that with as little effort as you can possibly get away with.  Where there is no reward for harder work, you get passive resistance.

So when you read my writing about the slave descended cultures of the Americas and Caribbean, you can see many of the same roots.  It's often there in the language, the personal and community dynamics, the food, and especially the ways people deal with problems.  Each place is unique, with its own local culture -- Jamaica is different from Cuba and from New Orleans.  They're related through the common experiences of colonialism and slavery, yet distinct in local resources and historic events.  The diversity is beautiful.  As that plays out in my storytelling, you can see how people from different cultures might handle things like superpowers (Haiti is one of the bottom-ten countries for soups) or getting kidnapped by alien slavers (in which various black folks used their family lore to devise survival strategies).
ysabetwordsmith: Cats playing with goldfish (Default)
This scale is missing a few points on both ends, but a good starting point for discussions about how a disability affects your life.  

Immediately obvious to anyone who has experienced serious impairment is that the low end of the scale needs to account for levels where your functionality continues to drop (i.e. having difficulty staying conscious or coherent, as in chronic fatigue) and where your willingness to continue suffering  drops or ends (not wanting to do maintenance tasks, considering suicide, actively pursuing it).  Of course it goes farther in the other direction too, in terms of what variety and how much you can manage: in particular, whether you feel confident making advance plans or regular commitments. That's usually the first thing to go with any disability.  It is useful to consider this end because people may have specific goals that require juggling resources to obtain.

Quality of life has two aspects, internal and external.  Internal ranges from miserable through neutral to happy.  External ranges from a drain on resources to breaking even to contributing.  Life is justified and enjoyable when you are neutral to happy, neutral to contributing a majority of the time.  When life becomes a burden to self and others, it is not right to demand that people continue, although they have a right to do stick it out if they choose.  It's the in-between parts that people argue over the most, where someone is happy but a burden, or miserable but useful.
ysabetwordsmith: Cats playing with goldfish (Default)
When you write them like this

I am pleased to see mention of the points that make these characters good, which are things I often aim for:
* giving them a full heroic backstory, not just implying that they have abilities because of their race
* grounding them in a specific tribe or tribes, including multiracial characters
* showing how they adapt to and/or struggle with modern life and their tribal heritage
* providing tough plot challenges that require maximum effort to surmount, and are about something other than just being Indian.


Jul. 21st, 2015 11:20 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cats playing with goldfish (Default)
So there's a genre called silkpunk, inspired by historic Asian technology.  Fascinating.

I've written a handful of explicitly Asian series: The Origami Mage relies primarily on paper magic.  Kung Fu Robots is more like wuxia SF.  Lacquerware is Edopunk.
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In this interview, Alan Moore says:

"To my mind, this embracing of what were unambiguously children's characters at their mid-20th century inception seems to indicate a retreat from the admittedly overwhelming complexities of modern existence," he wrote to Ó Méalóid.

It's not untrue ... but it is incomplete to the point of misleading.  Sure, mainstream comics today have a lot of isms that should be wasms, and sometimes they churn morality to gray goo.  Comics haven't always been for children alone, though, and many of them are written for adults today.  Furthermore, diversity is exploding if you look at indie comics instead of just the overlord corporations.  We have women, queerfolk, people of color, all different religions, etc. all making superheroes and supervillains and all kinds of other characters to reflect their many facets of experience.

There is nothing simplistic about that.  I mean sheesh, someone just prompted me for a story about one or more transfolk that didn't mention the trans aspect as part of the story.  I didn't even need to make new characters, I already had some in the can.  I had two transpeople who already knew each other  and were engaged in activities that easily produced a plot having nothing to do with their transness.

It's not about the medium.  It's about what you make of it.  I'll just be over here looking for "mad, wonderful ideas" that I can shove through the cosmic crack into this world.
ysabetwordsmith: Cats playing with goldfish (Default)
"La Belle et la Bête" is a French film that goes back to the roots of the classic fairy tale.  I stumbled across a trailer online, and it looks quite good.  I am particularly charmed by having the original French dialog with English subtitles.
ysabetwordsmith: Cats playing with goldfish (Default)
Here's another article about police brutality, raising the question of how to dismantle this system of oppression. Because it's not about keeping the peace, it's about maintaining the unidirectional flow of violence.

Read more... )


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