Feminist Killjoy. Badly Behaving Bookliker. Writer and reader of all things speculative.
Yesterday, I made a post about my rather unfortunate experiences as the client of one Olga Filina of the Rights Factory. Today, I received a rather unsettling email. Behold:
That's right, "legal options." I'm not entirely sure what she could justifiably sue me for, but that's not the point.
The point is that my immediate reaction was fear, and that's what this email is about. Look how she brings up my career and how I could "sabotage" it. (Note: Shotgun submissions can sabotage a person's career. Having your damn manuscript in the hands of fifty people at once can sabotage a person's career. You'll excuse me if I don't really think her concern is for me here.)
What she wants is for me to be silent. To retract my post. To hide the truth. I'm not going to lie; this scares the bejeezus out of me. We don't have the money to deal with a lawsuit. I suppose I could just fold, just let her censor me. But no one ever speaks out against TRF's behavior. We're all afraid of exactly this, and not only do I not want people to have that kind of power over me, but I don't think I could live with myself if I went silent and allowed other people to put themselves in the line of fire. Because my silence means other people will be treated this way by TRF.
I won't let other writers be hurt, no matter what the consequences for me. Hell, I'm not sure I want much to do with the industry after this, anyway.
I have to wonder, what is she so afraid of? What did I say that could possibly bring TRF's law department down on me? After all, I'm just some nobody on the internet.
This is a warning for all writers. Avoid The Rights Factory. One thing is for damn sure: They don't give a flying fuck about your rights.
(If you have the time and inclination, please signal boost. Writers deserve to know what sort of shenanigans are going on here.)
I've been wondering for a while now whether I should go public with this. I know that a lot of people, when they have major problems with an agent, an agency, or other people in the publishing, don't feel comfortable speaking out. I understand that fear; I feel it myself. But in the end, I decided that something needs to be said.
Seriously, I have a post I wanted to finish and I can't faint it. Am I just being completely obtuse here? Where is it?
So, this October, I'd really like to read some scary books. The problem? Despite the fact that I am easily terrified by pretty much every other medium (movies, video games, etc.) books almost never scare me. And even then, the few that do manage little more than a few creep out moments.
Thus I'm looking for some suggestions, and it won't be easy. Many things don't scare me as it is, but even things that can be effective in movies (like zombies) don't move me much in books. Psychological horror of the type where the protagonist can't tell if what's happening to them is really or not just makes me yawn (turns out, when you've actually lived that experience, you either become terrified of it, or rather blase about it; I'm the latter). I don't tend to find much Lovecraftian horror spooky (though his stuff about things crawling out of the ocean does freak me out a fair bit).
That's not to say these things can't scare me, just that in books, they usually don't. I'm trying to see if I can find some books that actually can.
(Just a warning, I tend to be partial to female protagonists these days.)
Had a trip into Copenhagen today and came back with a bunch of books. Also got some comics.
If anyone is wondering how the heck I got the entire Tairen Soul series, well, it was packaged together and on sale for 150kr, so I figured, hey, why not?
I had to share this, because it's just absurdly cute. Atla and Skadi (who've grown a lot) eating dinner, scooping up their corn gruel with their tiny little paws.
So, by now, some of you have heard about the whole fiasco with Christy "Huh, Huh, Goats Sound Just Like Muslims" Parks.
Well, here are a few books to illuminate just how freaking ignorant Parks is--and to give you an even better understanding of Islam, especially if you want to speak out against her racist shit.
The Great Theft by Khaled Abou El Fadl goes into great detail on how extremist Islam gained the power it did (hint: white western people were involved) and why it's so difficult to penetrate the erroneous narrative that all Muslims are violent.
Progressive Muslims by Omid Safi et. al. is a wonderful collection of essays from various Muslims, male and female both, often from different sects and even from different countries. It covers a very wide range of topics and deals in things like LGBTQ+ and women's rights, and explains a bit about what the Qur'an really says on these matters (hint: just like the Bible, it doesn't say what some people think it says).
Approaching the Qur'an by Michael Sells is valuable for the non-Arabic speaking Westerner, as it gives some insights into the Qur'an and what it actually states. It's important to note that finding a trustworthy English translation of the Qur'an can be a tricky proposition, so always beware of Islamophobes who insist they've read it.
Bonus! Understanding Iran by William R. Polk is a very useful book for expanding your understanding of the ways in which white Westerners have seriously fucked with Islam and countries that practice it.
Caution: Do not read if you're simply unable to ever accept the idea that white people could ever do anything wrong. You're probably a lost cause anyway.
Seriously, I got a new book idea the other day, and now my brain is like "Research! We need to find the right books!"
Seriously, brain, slow down, we have two editing jobs, a novella, and at least two novels that need to take priority here.
Home sweet home! We didn't get in until like eleven last night, thanks to a total train SNAFU, and if it hadn't been for the nice couple who gave us a ride both to the rattery and all the way home, we might still be on the damn train. (They got a pair of boys, themselves.)
So, I may occasionally post pictures of the girls here, because look at all that cuteness! But otherwise, if you're curious about them, I'll be posting pictures and updates on http://rat-and-about.tumblr.com/.
My girls, Atla and Skadi! They’re coming home tomorrow!
Skadi is the little mink in the back, the one who looks like she’s smiling for the camera. Atla is the black in the front with the Daria expression. Clearly, she cannot be arsed with this camera business.
Atla apparently has grown to be a little go-getter, though she is still a bit shy about loud, sudden noises, and Skadi apparently dreams mainly of being a shoulder rat.
I know I haven't talked about this here, but I'm getting a pair of rats in August, and I finally got to visit the litter of babies they'll be coming from. Here's what I said about it on Tumblr:
My husband and I went on Friday to finally meet the rats, and his hair was a huge hit. He had up to three of them in there at one point, and every single rat he interacted with (except for the first boy) made her way up there. You can see them playing around at the top, and two of the girls having a nice nap in the second two shots.
My girls will look like that, one light, one dark, though not necessarily those specific two. All of them were sweet and at ease with us, but two in particular really clicked with me. One of the girls who was a bit timid seemed to really like me, and even spent a good long while trying to snuggle in my hair, which is way too short for snuggling.
Another girl really won my heart by first crawling under her sister, since she wanted to occupy the same spot, then responding adorably when I petted her. I was stroking her head and noticing she’d sort of drifted off, so I stopped petting her. She immediately awoke enough to open her eyes a little and poke her nose around, wondering where I was, until I started stroking again. She kept doing it, too. Little charmer.
If my husband’s hair was a hit, than so was my skin. Just about every baby I held felt the need to lick me at some point, and a couple of them trekked under my shirt, because rats apparently love going under my shirt.
I can’t wait until August 13th, when we can bring them home.
Ugh. I simply can't bring myself to slog through any more of this. It's interminable. It's also the first of a number of comics I've tried that I've really hated.
The constant flow of "snarky" humor gives me a headache. I might have found some of it funny when I was twelve, but it's simply trying too hard. And some of it is actually pretty rapey. Like, Al visits this techie-wizard guy who can apparently do some odd things with time, and has a tendency to lust at her, and there are way too many cracks about when he might be doing to her when she's unable to fight back.
Her design is so stereotypically superhero comics it hurts. She has enormous breasts, and somehow manages to have a thigh gap despite her thunder-thighs. Her wardrobe design is hideous, and the creators apparently had such a strong desire to have her in her underwear for a while that there's a part where she's called out of her apartment in the middle of the night, and goes wearing her panties and nightie like she wasn't given time for anything else--but she's also wearing her jacket and her boots, so I don't see why she couldn't have thrown on some pants.
There's also a part where she complains about how hard it is to run in heels, even though earlier she had a nightmare--literally a nightmare--about wearing sensible shoes. You'd think someone that against simple shoes would learn to run in heels (and since there are Swedish women where I live who run across cobblestones while wearing stilettos, it can be done). None of this is funny at all.
Probably the worst part was the way the comic was written. I don't mind some internal monologue from the main character, but most of what's there (and there's a lot of it) is actually heavily descriptive prose. Al describes everything, including things the reader can clearly see. She also launches into detailed descriptions set against a back drop of extremely static action. So it feels like both the writer loves his own words too much, and the artist is too crap to draw most of what needs to be drawn.
The idea might sound like a fun one, but there are far better, less headache-inducing comics out there.
Kaia sez: Mine likes to base jump from the nearest skyscraper. This is not altogether comfortable but it is um, interesting.
So, tomorrow, my husband and I are heading out to spend our anniversary in Berlin. So I won't really be around much again until next Tuesday.
This is the first time we're getting to go on vacation together like this, and I'm so excited. We're going to at least one aquarium (possibly two!), the zoo, three museums (the Museum of Natural History, the Pergamon, and the Egyptian Museum), and capping off all that erudition with a trip to the Berlin Dungeon, because who doesn't love cheesy horror stuff? Plus, on the 11th (our actual anniversary) we're going to see the Blue Man Group.
We'll be getting as much video footage and as many pictures as we possibly can, so there should be lots to share when I get back. Once I scrape myself out of bed, which admittedly might take some time.
Try not to get into too much drama while I'm gone! XD
This is the second science fiction book I've had to DNF in less than a week due to stomach-turning ableism.
I mean, not that that's the only problem. There's some misogyny vaguely disguised as pseudo-feminism, fucktons of gender essentialism, some mind-boggling Libertarian-esque politics that make no sense at all (a society that has survived 250 years with no laws, just contracts? How are those contracts even reinforced?), an anti-polyamory attitude (loving more than one person? how weird!), and a heroine with a supposed--and inexplicable--knack for making trouble and having people hate her wherever she goes (no in text evidence of this is ever really presented) and an even more inexplicable name of Athena Hera Sinistra.
Early on in the book, however, I found myself flinching as the main character thought, basically, why be born with a disability if you don't have to. This is an atrociously ableist attitude, especially since most things that are disabilities are disabling due more than anything else to societies inflexibility. It's basically saying entire groups of people should cease to exist so that "normal" people can continue to always be catered to. I winced and tried to move on.
Then this happens:
The parking attendant made me flinch, because she was obviously mentally deficient. I'd seen mentally deficient people on Earth before, of course, but none with six arms [...]
(The arms, for clarification, are part of a freaking suit that assists her with her work, not part of her body. Athena is just ignorant of this.) Okay, first of all, fuck you. Second of all, FUCK YOU. Mentally deficient? Mentally deficient!? Just how fucking gross can you be? Athena literally flinches because OMG a person with a different brain than hers! Noes! You wouldn't think it could get more disgusting, but it does:
As we walked out of the garage I was silent, filled with horror at what had been done to this poor woman. Given the ability to bioengineer your children in the bio-womb, why have a deficient one at all? And if you chose to have one, why have her so grotesquely...dehumanized?
I reiterate: FUCK YOU. Excuse me? Her having extra arms (which again, she in fact does not) is "grotesquely dehumanized" but calling her mentally deficient and questioning her right to exist isn't? Just...just...
Nothing is more dehumanizing than this attitude. It's horrible. And then it turns out that the reason this woman is "mentally deficient" is because she wasn't bioengineered, which is spoken of much in the same way sensible people would criticize parents who won't vaccinate their children or refuse to get them medical care due to religious reasons. Like it's irresponsible to allow neuroatypical people to exist in the world. Like it's worse to let people be themselves than to completely eradicate entire swathes of neurotypes.
Of course, the suit with all the arms is there to assist the disabled woman in her job, which "allows the poor thing to earn a living." Because let's devalue her further by insisting her life is utterly worthless if she can't make money.
Joy, a society that eradicates disabled people and treats them like shit when they do exist. Fun fun. Did I mention there are no people of color in this society, because all the bioed people who escaped Earth 250 years ago were apparently white?
Excuse me, I have to figure out whether I want to puke or cry.