In the world of US Sci-Fi blogsphere, we got this really ridiculously ethnocentric "World SF" post by Spinrad (Third World Worlds, APPROACH WITH CAUTION, THE FAIL IS HEADDESK-INDUCING) this week. Fortunately, there are awesome rebuttals by others about how wrong this is, and one of my favourites is the rebuttal by Haikasoru: World SF, Worth Reading BEFORE developing an opinion. Damn, I love this imprint. ♥ (Loups-Garous should come out, like, NOW.)
The problem is that Spinrad is just making an appeal to ignorance. He’s not familiar with the many writers of world SF, so he assumes they do not exist. For whatever reason, though he could be familiar with Japanese SF as some of it has been translated into English, he decided to ignore actually existing Japanese SF. He also utterly ignores Chinese SF, which has been a going concern since 1904 at least. China is also the home of Science Fiction World, the most widely read SF magazine on the planet.
Also more ridiculous fail over this orientalizing term for Asian steampunk, which, imo, should just be called Asian steampunk, and not that new term Gatehouse is trying to promote. Jha explains why this term is so wrong in the most eloquent fashion: Countering Victorientalism. Seriously, read it slowly, take it in before jumping into conclusions. And I swear to the heavens there won't be any use of this Victor******ism here on this blog. Everyone can just damn well call it Asian steampunk and get over themselves.
Due to the power invested in Westerners today, borne from the history of colonization, there is no way to safely recreate the Orient, without yet creating more assumptions of stereotypes, without imposition of these stereotypes on actual people. This practice has precedent in the term “The Orient” alone: once a simple term to describe “the East”, it has over time become loaded with immediate association to the exotic, the opposite, the Other.
Today, Westerners continue to consume cultural artifacts from other cultures, many of whom unaware, or unwilling to acknowledge, that cultures are not meant for decoration, nor do they exist for the entertainment of the current hegemony, much like Europeans from the 19th century buying porcelain and silk.
Justine Larbalestier has a continuation of amazing guest posts on her blog, and Alaya Johnson's "What My Dad Said" broke my heart. Please, do read the whole thing.
“Alaya,” my Dad said, later that day, over dinner, “you have to understand that you live in the world. You can’t mess around with the way you wish things would be. You have to deal with the way that they are. A black woman writing a book with a cover like that is going to get shoved in a category you might not want to be in.”
ninefly has been posting every friday about covers in her cover cravings meme, and this week's theme is one of my favourites: Title Fonts *grins*
I love it when cover artists take the time to really fancify the titles rather than just slap them on half-assed in the default Times New Roman font (though that works for some designs).
choco wrote a hilarious post called YA fiction of the future on YA titles that landed a 7-figure deal this week. (Yes you read that correctly: S-E-V-E-N.) All debut too. Colour me jealous. The best part about this post though? Is how amazingly funny choco is. (You don't follow her yet? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? Go and follow her now.)
But what will the next big advance go to?
I'm betting on mermen. Their
skinscales sparkle in the water! What danger their hunger for bloodfish poses! They could carry Bellathe main character on their backs and raceswim off into the deep greenblue meadowswaters of the forestsea! And play baseballwater polo in truly EPIC proportions!
Justin Allen wrote a mega, megaaaaaaaa long humourous post with a title to match it called For the Love of Pete, Don't Mix Your Genres; Or... The New York Times Book Review Hates YOU, but I Don't; Or... Why Where Your Book Gets Shelved Determines Your Intelligence, Work-Ethic and Value to Society. It's pretty classic genre vs. "literary" and my favourite aspect was the mixing of genres part. Quoting his intro to the 3-way essay:
That's a longish title I'll admit, and while I generally don't go in for such larded vessels, in this case I'm willing to make an exception. Monstrous though it may seem (and most assuredly is), the above title sums up pretty much everything I have to say on the subjects of writing and publishing. The first line ought to be read as a word of warning to struggling writers. The second explains - in as much as an explanation of the unintelligible is even possible - why the publishing industry behaves as it does. And the third highlights our common enemy, which turns out to be ourselves.
Really - if I must say so myself - that title is a wonder of economy, precision and restraint. But maybe you'd like me to elaborate? Normally I'd refuse - principally on the grounds that my arguments tend to be weakened by exploration - but as I have been contracted to provide a minimum of fifteen minutes of reading diversion, I will betray myself and attempt to explain...
Sonya Chung has a very interesting post on covers called A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Designing a Book Jacket, specifically her cover of her new book Long for This World by Sonya Chung. It's pretty amusing, but I'm also, I'll admit, somewhat miffed. Why yes Asians CAN have wavy/curly/thick hair too! AND go from dark brown to reddish brown too without the use of perm/dye/having white ancestry. It's not always all straight jet black! Dun, dun, dun. Next thing you know I'll be claiming we don't all have "single" eyelids. WHEN WILL THE WONDERS CEASE. [/sarcasm] *coughs* But it's an interesting post when we contrast it with the stereotyped Asian covers.
I mentioned these responses to my editor. She was shocked; it never occurred to her that the figure would be perceived as non-Asian, nor did it to me. As I looked more closely, brightening my screen settings, I saw that the woman’s hair had brownish highlights, accentuated by the light emanating from the horizon; it also had a slight wave to it. I thought, this must be what my friends are reacting to.
Well, that's all for now. Again, sorry for not being around. I probably won't be active here until like, April (school's kicking my ass to the curb, bleh) but do know that I do check my google reader and try to keep somewhat in the loop, even though I'm rarely dropping by with comments now. I'll be backkkkkkk *slinks back into study/essay-ing land*
P.S. incidentally, you may potentially find me more active on my twitter. Or even my other general blog. You know, in case you guys miss my voice or something. =D