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Author, Author!

 We have a couple of really exciting author events scheduled for next week at the Jean Cocteau.

 On Monday, April 21, we will be welcoming the  Pulitzer-Prize-winning novelist JUNOT DIAZ, author of THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE HER and THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO, and other titles.


The evening will start at 7:00 pm with a 90-minute interview of Junot, conducted by Doctors Shante Paradigm Smalls and Santiago Vaquera-Vasquez of the University of New Mexico.  Dr. Smalls is a scholar and artist who works at the intersection of popular culture and critical theory.  She is a professor at UNM in American Studies.  Santiago Vaquera-Vasquez is "an unrepentant border crosser, ex-dj, writer, painter, and academic," and a professor at UNM in the department of Spanish and Portuguese.   After the interview, we will adjoin to the lobby and bar, where Junot will sign copies of his books.

A few days later, on Thursday April 24, the bestselling mystery writer and historical novelist ANNE PERRY will arrive in Santa Fe, and the Cocteau will have the privilige of hosting her as well.  Ms. Perry's awe-inspiring bibligraphy includes 19 volumes in her William Monk series, 28 in the Thomas Pitt series, as well as fantasies, YA novels, stand-alones, and Christmas books.   Anne is on tour, promoting her lastest, DEATH ON BLACKHEATH.


The event will start at 7:00 with an interview and dialogue, as usual.  This time I'll be doing the interview myself.  That will be followed by an audience Q&A and a booksigning, and we expect to have a WIDE selection of Anne's novels on hand.

Admission to both events is FREE with the purchase of a hardcover book, $5 with the purchase of a paperback, $10 without a book purchase.  Most of our past author events have been sold out, so if you'd like to hear Junot Diaz or Anne Perry, call the Cocteau at 444-5528 and reserve your place now.

Movies are the heart and soul of the Jean Cocteau Cinema... but we love books too, and our author evenings have been hugely popular and will continue to be an important part of our schedule.   In the months to come, we will be hosting MELINDA M. SNODGRASS, comic book stars CULLEN BUNN and BRIAN HURTT of SIXTH GUN fame, mystery/ horror/ SF star JOE R. LANSDALE and his daughter KASEY, author, editor, and country-signing sensation, DANIEL ABRAHAM (who is also half of JAMES S.A. COREY), Hugo-winning novelist JO WALTON, CHERIE PRIEST, JOE ABERCROMBIE, DENNIS LEHANE, and NEIL GAIMAN & AMANDA PALMER.   If you'd like to know the dates and details,  go to our website at and sign up for our email newsletter, to keep abreast of what's coming up on Montezuma Street.  All of these events are first come, first seated, and we do tend to fill up quickly.

See you at the booksignings.

The Goblin Emperor . . .

. . . and the female gaze. Why does this book work so well for me? Here is one possible idea.

If you've got a few minutes, please come and discuss--I really want to see how others perceive both this book and the female gaze!

Eastercon: Friday

Eastercon is in Glasgow this year, and so am I, so this weekend I'm at Eastercon! It's very strange -- I've never been to a convention happening in the place where I'm also living, and there's just a ... Chilled-out-ness to it totally at odds with the fact that I'm also wrangling deadlines. I d'know, the urgency I usually feel at cons to spend at least 5 minutes talking to every single person I know from the internet is weirdly lessened -- possibly because most of the people at this convention are not from quite so far afield as I'm used to.

The weather is unbelievable -- sunshine and warmth with a cool breeze, Glasgow preening in the bright -- and the convention hotel's only about a half hour's walk from where I live, so yesterday after turning in my review of Najwan Darwish's Nothing More to Lose I betook myself on a sunny stroll towards the Clyde. There were two program items I wanted to get to in the afternoon: a talk about the Voyager space program given by Robert Law, and a panel on Women in Science and Science Fiction with Stephanie Saulter, Juliet E McKenna, Christine Davidson, Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, and Clare Boothby. Both items were really interesting, and chatting about them with cool people afterwards felt like everything a con should be.

Highlights from yesterday:

- meeting Crystal Huff and Liz M Myles in person for the first time
- dinner with Farah Mendlesohn, Edward James, Crystal Huff, ms_chatelaine, Geoff Ryman, and my Glaswegian, as well as the walk back to the hotel afterwards
- staying up until about midnight talking with ms_chatelaine and Geoff Ryman about film, television, gender, cultures, writing, and astonishing airport incidents
- staying up until 2:00 AM talking with ms_chatelaine about quantum physics and things that will, quarks willing, finally help me finish this story that's punching me in the brain.

I was also very happy to see alankria, amagiclantern, Chris & Alex of not-LJ, and several other people I'm probably missing out. But hey I get to see more of them again today! Hooray!

The sun is really so wonderful. I almost want to ignore the convention in favour of just sitting outside by the river and taking it all in. Maybe I'll persuade some people to do that with me today. Or tomorrow! OR THE DAY AFTER! Because it's supposed TO STAY WARM! AHHH

OK anyway off to breakfast and then the con.

Words of Wisdom

In our genre, established writers like to give a hand to aspiring newcomers.


Reign Report: "No Exit"

Welcome back to Reign, the show that probably has no idea what's going on, but is determined to burn through whatever it is as quickly as possible! Last week, everybody hopped from Point B to about Point K. This week is no exception, as we either leap ahead with unseen plot points or tread water as hard as possible, with the added bonus that Greer, currently lacking a subplot and the only remaining unmarried handmaid, has given herself the subplot of being So Done:

The King's got brain fever and is hitting on Kenna and being creepy and Kenna's jealous of Lola's wedding and Greer is just so, so done.

The wedding itself is pretty nice.

People came from four centuries to celebrate!

This dance (and I promise you, the dance scenes on this show are worth seeing even if you can't stand the rest) is set to an eighth-grade orchestral arrangement of Lorde's "Royals," which made me laugh so hard I had to rewind the scene the first time just to make sure I caught it all.

And we'll never be royals! Well, actually, about 5% of this room will be royals, so.Collapse )

RAINN on Rape Culture

Will Shetterly wrote a blog post asking if I had addressed “RAINN’s refutation of ‘rape culture’” yet. I’m writing this less to respond to Shetterly and more because I think there’s some good conversation to be had around RAINN’s recommendations. But I should warn folks that by invoking his name and linking to his blog post, I’m basically guaranteeing that Mr. Shetterly will show up in the comments. To Will and anyone else, please remember that trolling, refusing to respect boundaries, and general dickishness will get you booted.

The Rape Abuse Incest  National Network (RAINN) released 16 pages of recommendations to the federal government. In his blog post, Will chooses to quote a TIME Magazine article by Caroline Kitchens about “Rape Culture Hysteria” that references a few select paragraphs from RAINN’s recommendations. Kitchens claims that by blaming rape culture, we “implicate all men in a social atrocity, trivialize the experiences of survivors, and deflect blame from the rapists truly responsible for sexual violence.” She talks about the “thought police of the feminist blogosphere,” and how the concept of rape culture poisons the minds of young women and creates a hostile world for young men.

I’m glad to know Mr. Shetterly is looking for good, objective reporting to validate his crusade against those he dubs “social justice warriors.”

Let’s look at the primary source and talk about what RAINN’s recommendations actually said, shall we?

The paper opens with a discussion of how rape is alarmingly underreported on college campuses. Rape culture is mentioned on page two:

“In the last few years, there has been an unfortunate trend towards blaming ‘rape culture’ for the extensive problem of sexual violence on campuses. While it is helpful to point out the systemic barriers to addressing the problem, it is important to not lose sight of a simple fact: Rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions, of a small percentage of the community, to commit a violent crime.”

I absolutely agree that it’s important to hold rapists accountable for their choice to rape. I’ve been saying and emphasizing and teaching that for decades. I think it’s absurd to claim an individual has no responsibility for their crime … but it’s equally absurd to claim that crime occurs in a cultural vacuum, or that these two ideas are mutually exclusive.

Most of the time, when I see rapists being excused with little more than a wrist-slapping for “cultural” reasons, it’s judges and police blaming victims, or the old “boys will be boys” attitude that minimizes the severity of the crime and the responsibility of the rapist. Which is exactly what so many conversations about rape culture try to point out.

RAINN says it’s important to remember that the rapist is responsible for the choice to commit rape. I agree. They do not say that the concept of rape culture is invalid, only that it shouldn’t overshadow the need to hold individuals responsible for their crimes.

RAINN recommends a three-tiered approach to reducing rape on college campuses:

  1. Bystander intervention education: empowering community members to act in response to acts of sexual violence.
  2. Risk-reduction messaging: empowering members of the community to take steps to increase their personal safety.
  3. General education to promote understanding of the law, particularly as it relates to the ability to consent.

Bystander intervention includes educating people about what rape is, helping them see beyond rape myths and victim-blaming narratives, sharing the research that explains how the majority of rapes are committed not by strangers, but by people the victim knows, and so on. (Strangely enough, a lot of the points I made in a blog post about rape culture a few years back.)

RAINN acknowledges the difficulty in separating risk-reduction from victim-blaming. Personally, I have very little problem with a risk-reduction approach. I do have a problem when that’s the only approach, which seems to happen all too often. When people focus solely on what women/victims can and must do to reduce rape, then we put the responsibility on them. If your only idea about reducing rape is to tell women what to do differently, you’re the one who doesn’t understand that rapists are responsible for their decision to rape.

I’ve been pushing for education for ages, including education about the laws. And for improvement in those laws, based in part on a better understanding and definition of consent. Unfortunately, a lot of people have a very poor understanding of consent. We encourage things like getting prospective sexual partners drunk, pursuing reluctant or uninterested partners, and the myth that you should just magically know what your partner wants. (It’s almost like we have an entire culture that doesn’t really get how consent works.)

On the legal side of things, RAINN stresses that college advisory boards aren’t in a position to be deciding rape cases. I agree. I worked as part of a student justice program at Michigan State University. Rape cases went to the police. We tended to work with things more on the level of catcalling from the street, trying to intervene with behaviors and attitudes before they escalated to more serious crimes. The goal was early intervention and prevention.

But there’s also a culture (oh look, there’s that word again) of secrecy around sexual assault and abuse, and I certainly understand that many institutions do try to bury rape reports and pretend it’s not a problem for them. Steubenville is a good, well-known example.

The report then goes on to talk about:

  • The need for more education for everyone about rape
  • The need for the legal system to respond more seriously to rape cases
  • The need to provide support services to victims
  • The need for more research

In RAINN’s 16-page report, we find a single mention of “rape culture,” which is part of a paragraph stating that rape culture shouldn’t be used as a way to remove responsibility from the rapist. Sorry, Will. I see no “refutation of rape culture” here, just a call for a balanced approach, one which I generally support and agree with.

I get that Mr. Shetterly is mostly just interested in scoring points against those he deems “social justice warriors.” My advice to him would be that if your knowledge and understanding of rape is such that you believe “saying no usually works” to prevent it, maybe you should try talking listening to rape survivors and learning more about the topic before you try to have this kind of conversation.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.



I will be there! Will you?

(I won't be in the dealers' room this year -- my schedule's a bit too complicated for that this weekend -- so if you've bought recent shinies and want to pick them up at the convention, there's no table to meet at, but we can figure out other rendezvous points. Otherwise tomorrow is Big Mailing Things Day.)
Dear brain. Let me start by saying that it's not that I don't appreciate you dreaming—I haven't had a dream I remembered since the beginning of March that wasn't some kind of grotesque or obvious anxiety nightmare. But while I'm sure it raised the intellectual bar for the next few nights, I really didn't like dreaming about a community event that turned into a race riot (in the dream I thought pogrom). A white man ran out of the school below me carrying the chewed arm of a brown-skinned child in his teeth. Said he was a wolf, only the difference was, a wolf's skin was hairy on the outside. It is interesting to represent racism itself as lycanthropy. Werewolves in mainstream fiction lately seem to function more more as metaphor for marginalized groups. I'm sure something powerful could be done with the reversal if it hasn't already. But it will probably not be me this week and anyway it was a very upsetting dream, thank you.

Read three stories from CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 3

I’m pleased to be able share three stories from our anthology Clockwork Phoenix 3: New Tales of Beauty and Strangeness.
Marie Brennan re-imagines the story of the expulsion from Eden in “The Gospel of Nachash.”
C.S.E. Cooney shares a dark and bittersweet tale of love, transgressions and vengeful spirits in her novelette “Braiding the Ghosts.”
Cat Rambo offers a hallucinatory future vision in “Surrogates.”
I hope you enjoy these. Come back for more!

Originally published at Mythic Delirium Books. You can comment here or there.

Justine Larbalestier and I have started a book club to talk about bestselling women’s fiction of the 20th century. We’re both curious about the whole idea of the publishing category of “women’s fiction,” particularly how and when that label started. And, of course, we also wanted to see how well the bestselling and most long lasting of the books with that label stand up. Because usually books like Valley of the Dolls (1966) and Rona Jaffe’s The Best of Everything (1958) and Grace Metalious’s Peyton Place (1958) are considered to be, at best, middle brow. Yet now some of these books are being taught in university and they’re all back in print or have remained in print.

Last month we started with Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls. You can find the post and the discussion on Justine’s blog.

This month we’ll be reading The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe, which happens to have been published the year I was born! Bonus excitement!

The Best of Everything (1958) is Rona Jaffe‘s first novel. It is the story of five young employees of a New York publishing company.

PLEASE JOIN US on April 28/29 (that pesky international date line): in the evening on Monday April 28 in the USA and Tuesday April 29 in the Oz/NZ; morning April 29 in the UK/Europe.

The primary focus of the discussion will be here, on my blog, but there may be some spillover onto Twitter.


Mirrored from I Make Up Worlds.

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