Cool Stuff Friday

Jun. 23rd, 2017 11:18 am
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Friday is almost finished with this first draft…

 

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Senate Healthcare Bill

Jun. 22nd, 2017 03:25 pm
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Senate Republicans have finally released what appears to be the draft text of H.R. 1628, the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.”

It’s 142 pages, and to be honest, I’m having a hard time deciphering it all. (Not a lawyer or a legislator.) But here are some things that stood out at me…

Elimination of the individual and employer mandate. (Pages 10-11)

Tax repeals on medications, health insurance, health savings accounts, etc. (Pages 25-29)

This includes the “Repeal of Tanning Tax” on page 29.

The continuing attack on abortion rights.

“Disallowance of small employer health insurance credit for plan which includes coverage for abortion.” (Pages 8-9)

“No Federal funds provided from a program referred to in this subsection that is considered direct spending for any year may be made available to a State for payments to a prohibited entity,” which is then defined as an entity providing abortion services except in cases of rape, incest, or when the woman’s life is in danger. (Page 35)

#

According to a USA Today analysis, this bill would:

  • Reduce or eliminate most subsidies for individuals and families
  • “Eliminate the ACA’s requirement that insurers can’t charge older customers more than three times what younger customers pay for the same coverage. Instead, those in their 60s could be charged five times as much, or more.”
  • Eliminate penalties to large employers who choose not to offer health insurance. (Elimination of the employer mandate.)
  • Make it easier to drop coverage for things like maternity care and mental health issues.

CNN points out that the bill would also:

  • Defund Planned Parenthood for a year.
  • Require coverage of preexisting conditions. However, it also lets states “waive the federal mandate on what insurers must cover… This would allow insurers to offer less comprehensive policies, so those with pre-existing conditions may not have all of their treatments covered.”

A PBS article says the bill would:

  • Cap and reduce Medicaid funding, and allow states to add a work requirement for “able-bodied” recipients of Medicaid.
  • Provide $2 billion to help states fight opioid addiction

Fox News, unsurprisingly, focused on what they saw as positive in the proposed bill:

  • It preserves health care for people with preexisting conditions (with the potential exceptions noted in the CNN bullets, above), and allows children to stay on their parents’ insurance plan through age 26.
  • It expands health care savings accounts.
  • It provides a short-term stabilization fund to help struggling insurance markets.

The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release their report on the senate bill next week. The CBO estimated that the House-passed bill would result in 26 million fewer insured Americans by 2026, and would cut the budget by $119 billion over the same time. (Source)

#

Nothing here is particularly shocking. I’m glad I and my family can’t be kicked off our insurance for our various preexisting conditions…though some of those conditions might no longer be covered, which sucks. It would hurt the poor, the elderly, women, and the mentally ill, among others. None of my readers will be shocked to hear that I think this is another step backward. The ACA was far from perfect — it’s like a patient with a broken leg, but instead of trying to fix the broken leg, we’ll just throw them through a woodchipper, because hey, it’s cheaper!

It looks like this may be a tight vote, which would make this an excellent time to call your Senator.

Please keep any comments civil. I’m angry about this too, but I don’t have the time or the spoons to moderate fights and nastiness today. (Which probably means I shouldn’t have posted this in the first place, but I never claimed to be that bright…)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

A Liverpool Lark!

Jun. 22nd, 2017 08:07 pm
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[personal profile] mizkit

A few weeks ago my friend Leah said her husband wasn’t much interested in seeing Wonder Woman, so she wasn’t likely to see it in the theatre, and Ted said “THIS WILL NOT DO” and checked to see how much plane tickets to Liverpool were and they were practically nothing so he sent me to Liverpool for a lark with Leah, and we went to Wonder Woman together!

Knowing I had to get up wery wery early for my flight, I took a shower the night before and ended up with…Quite The Hair in the morning.



But I tamed it, and got myself some hot chocolate at the airport. I was very tired. But less large of hair. :)



It was the shortest flight I’d ever been on that didn’t involve being in an actual puddle-jumper (ie, 6-12 seat twin propeller airplane). We went up, we went down, there I was. I hung out at the airport for a while, reading, until Leah could collect me, and we spent an EXTREMELY giddy couple of hours ranting about work, children, and the patriarchy. (And, to be fair, a bit about Tom Hardy. Not so much ranting there, mind you, but. :))



These drinks are not actually alcoholic, because it was 11am, but they were DELICIOUS!



We went to our movie. We sat through a truly inordinate number of ads, which, thankfully, had no sound. We started to become concerned, in fact, after many many soundless ads. Then the trailers started, also soundlessly. They were doing these weird little 10 seconds spots for Dunkirk, and the second-to-last one faded to black and immediately came up with the trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes, except because there was no sound and the fade to black had been so brief, they really looked like one trailer.


“Is this how we won WW2?” Leah asked, mystified. “Woody Harrelson and an army of monkeys?”

Then a theatre employee came in and said the entire sound system in the theatre had blown and they would not be showing us Wonder Woman in that theatre at that time.



However, there was another showing half an hour later, and they let us go to that one!



We had an utterly splendid time. Leah really enjoyed the movie. It ended and she said, “That was…that was *good*,” in astonishment, and then we went back to the airport, picking apart all our problems with it and rewriting things to our satisfaction, but we were really happy and had such a good time! And decided that we should really do that more often, because it turns out to be really cheap to pop over for a day, and ours is one of those friendships based on kindred spirithoodness rather than regular meetings in real life (we think that was our 6th time actually being on one another’s physical presence), but it was such fun that it seems like it should be a thing we do, and I need to look into doing that with OTHER friends in England and equally nearby locales…!

But yeah. That was really great. Yay for a lark!

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Recent Reads: The Expanse

Jun. 20th, 2017 05:18 pm
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We watched The Expanse late last year, & liked it a lot, so I got Ted LEVIATHAN WAKES, the first book in the series the tv show is adapted from, for Christmas. He read it & liked it & said I had to read it, so I did a couple days ago.

It was very good. It also happens to be one of the best adaptations from book to screen I’ve ever encountered, which is unusual and appealing. Anyway, having finished it I immediately started the second book, CALIBAN’S WAR, which Ted has not yet read.

LEVIATHAN is a good book. CALIBAN is a terrific one. It made me laugh out loud repeatedly, and there were lines I stopped to read to Ted. There was a thing from the last book that hadn’t been addressed, and I was muttering about it, and Ted said “Maybe it’ll come up later,” and I said, “I’m on page 342 and it hasn’t been addressed yet, I don’t think it’s going to be.”

In the middle of page 343 it was addressed. :)

“Oh no!” I aid, and started laughing. “A new element?” said Ted. “Holden!” I said. “There must be a law, like Murphy’s Law. Any bad choice you can make, Holden will make. Holden’s Law.”

And then reading the last several chapters went like this:

Me, involuntarily: Fuck!
A few pages later: Hah! HAH HAH!
And a few pages later still: Oh, shit! Shit shit shit!

Ted: DO YOU MIND?
Me: NOT AT ALL

I can’t wait to read the next one. GOOD BOOKS YO.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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“We’re so conditioned to believe that white is the default that we write ourselves out of the worlds that we create.”

Invisible 3 CoverDawn Xiana Moon is one of the contributors to Invisible 3, which comes out on June 27 and includes 18 essays and poems about representation in science fiction and fantasy. You can preorder the collection at:

Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | Google Play

(It will be available for Nook as well, but we don’t have that link yet.)

Any profits from the sale of the collection go to Con or Bust, helping fans of color to attend SF/F conventions.

As with Invisible and Invisible 2, the contributors to this third volume have shared work that’s heartfelt, eye-opening, honest, thoughtful, and important…not to mention relevant to so much of what we see happening in the genre today.

#

Of Asian-Americans and Bellydancing Wookiees, by Dawn Xiana Moon

We have always existed.

In the early days of the internet, back when we were on Prodigy or CompuServe and email addresses were long strings of numbers with a comma in between, I was answering distress calls on derelict starships. America Online (because it wasn’t yet AOL) launched an ad campaign that envisioned an internet with graphics; I dodged Borg at Warp Six. I outsmarted Q when he appeared on my bridge, launched photon torpedoes at Romulans, and flirted with fellow Starfleet officers in Ten Forward. I was thirteen. And like a good overachiever, I wondered if I could list being second-in-command of the CompuServe sim group Fleet 74 on lists of my activities and accomplishments, right next to years of piano lessons, parts in theatre productions, dancing and singing in the community show choir, and the environmental and video game clubs I’d started (and of course led as president).

My father is an aerospace engineer; by the time we moved from Singapore to the US, I was five years old and already lived in a world where discussing wrap drive was normal. My AP Biology teacher was shocked when I mentioned a singularity in class one day, surprised that a high school senior would know the term (which she made me define in front of the class before she was satisfied), but I’d been raised on a steady diet of Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon 5, and every science fiction and fantasy novel I could get my hands on—my father handed me Isaac Asimov books in elementary school and I read them, wondering why I didn’t have a robot nanny or automatic food-making gadgets. I am a native speaker of technobabble.

All that to say: I’ve always been a nerd. And proudly so. But growing up I rarely saw people that looked like me onscreen—sure, we had Sulu, but George Takei was closer to my grandparents’ age than mine. Asian characters were few and far between, and girls? Girls didn’t like Vulcans or computers. Girls especially didn’t like dancing and princesses and talking about the space-time continuum all at the same time. Or so I was told.

But I was Asian. And female. And I existed.

I was the girl who hung out at the arcade playing Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat, first surprising boys who saw a girl in front of a fighting game, then shocking them when I won. I was the foreigner who walked into first grade in the middle of the school year, a Chinese kid from another country but a native speaker of English. I was the founding member of the high school forensics team who learned quickly that judges gave higher ratings to performances of minority stories by minority students than they did mainstream stories by minority students—so while the handful of black students I competed against performed passages from Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, I lent dramatic flair to Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club. I often won.

And now? I’m the bellydancer, firespinner, singer-songwriter, and nerd who designs and codes websites. I obsess with sparkles and sequins and makeup and then wrestle with merge conflicts in GitHub. I flirt with audiences and shimmy to Balkan brass bands and then debate backstage whether Daleks or Cylons would win in a fight. I sing 19th century French poetry layered on piano parts in 7/8 time inspired by traditional Chinese folk music, Americana, and jazz. I break stereotypes into tiny pieces and eat them like candy. I exist.

#

Growing up, the few Asians I saw in media invariably fell into tropes: the martial arts master, the submissive woman, the uber-nerd/scientist, the Dragon Lady seductress. None of these matched my personality. While I was able to beg my way into flute and voice lessons—in addition to piano—my father refused to let me study tae kwon do on the grounds that it would be “like handing a kid a loaded gun and telling him not to use it.” People told me I was bossy—my heroes were characters like Princess Leia and Babylon 5’s Delenn, forces of personality who were fully themselves and didn’t need rescuing. I was more Captain Kirk than Yeoman Rand. I was a geek, but I had far more interest in music and dance than I did in math or chemistry; science interested me primarily as story. And I had no idea what it would mean to be seductive—my conservative evangelical church preached “modesty,” and Bible camp banned spaghetti strap tank tops, two-piece swimsuits, and short shorts on the grounds that they would evoke lust in the boys.

I didn’t exist.

I grew up around Americans who discussed race in black and white terms, expressing couched racism with the assumed understanding that I was one of them. Those were the same Americans who complimented my English, told me my face was flat, and pontificated about how eating Chinese food was great except that you were hungry again immediately afterward. After the last election, CNN disseminated a chart of votes with breakdowns by both race and gender: Black men voted this way, black women this way, Hispanic men and women these ways. Asian-Americans didn’t appear on the chart—we were literally “Other.”

As an Asian-American theatre major, so often I was cast as that literal Other: I spent two summers performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream in college. The first year, I was one of the fairies. So were most of the black students. The one who wasn’t a fairy was cast as Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons. The second year, we reprised the show; I was cast as Hippolyta. All of the black students were fairies. The Greeks and lovers were uniformly white.

How often do we cast an Asian-American as the protagonist, the superhero whose origin story we follow? How often do we allow an Asian-American to lead a movie as a swashbuckling rogue, the resistance fighter who marries a princess along the way, the rockstar with thousands of screaming fans? Hollywood casts Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One in Doctor Strange, Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell, Mackenzie Davis as Mindy Park in The Martian—with so few roles available to begin with, we’re often denied even characters who should look like us. We’re over 5% of the US population, but only 1.4% of the lead characters in studio films released in 2014. According to Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, the majority of media features zero named or speaking Asian characters. Zero.

Two years ago I attended a curated acoustic music showcase where every single one of the musicians was a white guy with a bushy beard. Most of them wore plaid. Producers often think of diversity in terms of instrumentation or musical style; I’ve released two albums of original music, toured 10 states, and performed hundreds of shows, but it’s rare to see another folk singer-songwriter of color. While the genre is dominated by white people, Asian-Americans are making this music. And making it well. We exist, but we’re not part of the narrative.

#

Living in a world where people who look like you are functionally non-existent yields odd fruit. As an ambitious elementary school kid, I wrote (what I considered then) a novel. Starring ninjas. Based heavily on the Ninja Gaiden video game. Of course I Mary Sued my way into the story. But I always envisioned my surrogate as white. And male. (Because, we’re told, the appropriate protagonist of an adventure story is white. And male.) Likewise, when I wrote other stories, every character—heroes, villains, NPCs—was white.

Bryan Lee O’Malley of Scott Pilgrim fame talks about how he never realized that he’d whitewashed himself out of his own story until seeing his comic in movie form and realizing that no one looked like him. As I’ve talked with other Asian-Americans, I’ve realized that I wasn’t the only one—many of us did the same thing. Even the excellent Ted Chiang—one of my favorite writers, and the first Asian-American I can recall encountering in science fiction—falls into this. We’re so conditioned to believe that white is the default that we write ourselves out of the worlds that we create.

#

I refuse to be invisible.

Faced with a culture that minimizes the existence of Asian-Americans in the arts, I’ve long created my own projects. In 2012, I founded Raks Geek, joining my love of geekdom and dance to form a nerd-themed bellydance and fire performance company that features a primarily Asian and LGBTQIA cast. While our society pigeonholes Asians as socially-awkward scientists, perpetual foreigners, and weak submissives, I’m determined to show Asians can be creative, tough, and unconventional.

“To dance is a radical act.”*

A body on a stage makes a statement. A female, POC body on a stage makes a statement. When I dance, I’m changing the narrative, the story of what an Asian-American woman is allowed to be. When I dance with Raks Geek, I’m making an audience laugh at the ridiculousness of a Wookiee shimmying, but I’m also bringing a new audience to an insular dance form, teaching them what bellydance looks like at a high level of technical and artistic proficiency, and defying a host of model minority and immigrant stereotypes.

Visibility matters. Few would conceive of an Asian-American bellydancer performing as a Wookiee. Or Mystique. Or the TARDIS. But I do, and I hope to challenge perceptions of who we are and can be every time. We exist, and we have always been here.

We exist.

_____

* “To dance is a radical act because doing so implies that there are forms of knowing that cannot be mediated to us in words, which give words their meaning.” -Kimerer LaMothe

***

Dawn Xiana Moon is a lifelong geek that has worked professionally in almost every area of the arts. She the Founder and Producer/Director of Raks Geek, a nerd-themed bellydance and fire company that’s garnered acclaim from WGN-TV, MSN, Chicago Tribune, The Daily Mail, and UK Channel 4 TV. As a singer-songwriter, Dawn has performed in 10 states and released two solo albums; her latest CD, Spaces Between, fuses elements from traditional Chinese music with jazz and alt folk pop. She performs with Read My Hips tribal bellydance, spins fire with Acrobatica Infiniti circus, works as a UX designer and web developer, and has written for Uncanny Magazine, The Learned Fangirl, and RELEVANT Magazine. Though she loves Chicago, she periodically needs to flee the US; her wanderlust has brought her to 20 countries (and counting!) thus far.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

a very merry unbirthday

Jun. 18th, 2017 09:42 pm
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[personal profile] mizkit

My older nephew, wishing to space his birthday out from Christmas somewhat, requested a half-birthday, so the family got together today for a kind of combined Father’s Day/unbirthday party.

Between the hours of 8am & 2pm, I baked a rather complicated cake, made its complicated frosting, made vanilla ice cream, cleaned the kitchen 2 times, did 4 loads of laundry, emptied all the rubbishes, cleaned the kitty litter, made lemonade, and just barely managed not to die of the outrageous 80 degree heat.

Ted went out to do errands, and the first thing he said upon returning was, “In my defense, *you* sent me to the bookstore….”

(The take was 2 cookbooks for said elder nephew, who wants to learn to cook, as well as Naomi Novik’s TEMERAIRE, a book for Indy, and the next three books of the Expanse series.)

Post-erranding, Ted made a ridiculously delicious dinner of grilled veg, salmon, shrimp, & kielbasa, which we all sat down to eat with hearty appetites. We also spent a lot of time lounging in the back garden, where, among other things, I spent a few minutes leg pressing my sister, which is no doubt perfectly normal behaviour.

The unbirthday boy cleaned up nicely, with a whole bunch of *extremely* nice tea (he’s apparently really in to tea, who knew?) and cookbooks along with an offer of cooking LESSONS from my husband the professional chef, and a super cool katana-style letter opener and some other good stuff, and seemed very pleased with his unbirthday.

The cake and ice cream turned out very nicely–the ice cream was so rich and smooth it was practically obscene, which isn’t always the case with my ice cream; I don’t make it enough to be really good at it consistently–and the lemonade was appropriately appreciated.

I managed to walk 4000 steps without actually leaving the house, which seems a little ridiculous. I am absolutely shattered, and to top it all off, I’m coming down with a cold. But it was a splendid day and we’re all happy. Tired. But happy. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

a-journaling we go

Jun. 13th, 2017 09:49 pm
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[personal profile] mizkit

I’m participating in displacement activities, pretending that organizing a bunch of stuff will get my work done. Obviously I know that’s not how it works, but hey, I’m doing it anyway.

I asked for this perfectly gorgeous blank book for my birthday (and obviously recieved it):

but had no actual specific use for it in mind. I’ve been prodding at habit trackers but basically don’t like any of the digital ones, so I thought what the hell, maybe I’d go old-school analog and try a paper one. I’m hoping it’ll get me a little bit back into the habit of journaling again, too. (I used to be a great journaler, back in the day.)

I think you’ll all agree my first attempt at a habit tracker turned out horribly. The rollerball pen I was using smeared everywhere, and I had no sense of the size I needed to lay the grid out at, and…all kinds of stuff. Live and learn, though, and OH GOSH I GUESS I’LL JUST HAVE TO BUY SOME MICRON PENS JUST FOR JOURNALING WITH O NOES. Probably if I keep it up I’ll eventually figure out a decent grid and everything, but my handwriting will never be magnificently calligraphic or probably even moderately tidy, and I’m just going to have to live with that. Also, I have ink all over my hands. *scowly face*

In other displacement news, I did tackle the Work Thinks To Do list and rendered it somewhat more reasonable. I also had a little talk with myself about the reasons I was procrastinating on some projects, and when we were done having that conversation I told me to get over it and get them done. I hope I listen and obey.

I’m still going to have to…effectively *make* time to do some of the stuff, but I (by which I mean, my husband) solved my laptop hard drive memory problem by suggesting I put my works in project into a directory of their own and sync JUST THAT to Dropbox, instead of my entire Writing Directory. Since I already have a Finished Projects and an Ideas & Inactive Projects folder, I don’t know why I hadn’t thought to have a Current Projects folder, and I feel like a moron, but now I’ve got one and the laptop is synced without filling its entire pathetic hard drive. WHICH MEANS (yes, see, there was a point to this paragraph, even though you forgot where it started, didn’t you) that the difficulty of writing in the evenings, post-Indy’s-bedtime, is alleviated; I couldn’t go up to the office because he tends to stay awake even later if somebody’s nearby, but I couldn’t write on my laptop because the Dropbox sync choked the teensy hard drive. So that’s sorted.

Not, of course, that I’m going to do anything as rash as write *tonight*, oh no, that would be madness. But I’m getting myself sorted, bit by bit.

Oh, speaking of getting sorted, I took the newly-fixed secondhand bike out on its first spin today. It’s fine, a little short for me, but certainly rideable. However, after a 15 or 20 minute ride around (maybe not even that long) my nether regions are quite shocked at my behaviour and would like to lodge a protest with the management. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

“It turns out that what I wanted wasn’t the story of a young woman coming to terms with her brace or her body … what I wanted was something to love.”

Invisible 3 CoverFran Wilde is one of the contributors to Invisible 3, which comes out on June 27 and includes 18 essays and poems about representation in science fiction and fantasy. You can preorder the collection at:

Amazon | Kobo | Smashwords | Google Play

(It will be available for Nook and iBooks as well, but we don’t have those links yet.)

Any profits from the sale of the collection go to Con or Bust, helping fans of color to attend SF/F conventions.

As with Invisible and Invisible 2, the contributors to this third volume have shared work that’s heartfelt, eye-opening, honest, thoughtful, and important…not to mention relevant to so much of what we see happening in the genre today.

I hope you find Wilde’s essay as powerful as I did.

#

At twelve, I perfected the baggy clothes drape. I stood and leaned against walls rather than sitting. Leaning kept the bottom edge of the hard, white fiberglass brace from digging into my thighs and the top edge from pinching under my arms. Either or both would drag my clothes funny and ruin the effect. I was pretty careful, but one pat on the back or a joking poke at my ribs and thunk. Hip to collarbone, my identity was wrapped in a hard shell.

Other braces, before and since, were easier to hide if I wanted to hide them. Foot braces, worn at night, turned my feet in the right direction, and no one was the wiser. Their ugly cousins, the orthopedic shoes, went away by third grade. The current knee and wrist braces and all the bracing tape? Those disappear under sleeves and skirts. And they’re mostly soft, not hard.

But I’ve always identified with that thunk. Part of me has always been a brain rolling around in a cage—both the skin and bones cage that doesn’t behave, and the shells that try to help fix that.

Growing up, this sucked.

Worse, the available books I could identify with sucked too. Deenie? Once was fine, but everyone gave me Deenie as if there was nothing else. And there really wasn’t. I started leaving annotated pages of Deenie secreted around my doctors’ offices in protest.

The year before I was cast for that second brace, I found science fiction.

I realized early that I identified more with the ships I was reading about than their captains. Especially the brain ships. (I’m still incredibly partial to liveships like Farscape’s Moya, Bear & Monette’s The Lavinia Whateley (“Boojum”), and Aliette de Bodard’s mindships.)

It turns out that what I wanted wasn’t the story of a young woman coming to terms with her brace or her body (seriously it’s a fine story, but it didn’t fit me at all—or, rather, it fit me like a brace, constraining and awkward). What I wanted was something to love. I was listening for that familiar thunk on the hull; I just didn’t know it. That recognition that there was a mind inside a cage of muscle, bone, pain, fiberglass, and metal. The acknowledgement that a mind could do things—heroic things! Cool things!—even if the body rebelled.

The first time I read Anne McCaffrey’s short story “The Ship Who Sang,” I read that painful first line—”She was born a thing,” and the ensuing replacement of Helva’s body with something better, a brainship shell—and felt guilty that I had it easy in comparison, while being thrilled that the main character was female. At twelve, I didn’t quite grasp some problematic aspects of the story.* What I knew immediately was that “The Ship Who Sang” delighted me.

That delight stemmed from recognizing a part of myself in the story—a singer, an artist, a perfectionist, a twisted form, triumphant inside a hard, albeit fiberglass, shell.

I fell in love with Helva from the start, and never really let her go. She’s mine. My ship.

She was so much better than freaking Deenie.

Later, another story caught me up in similar ways, though, again, I didn’t realize why until a lot later. William Gibson’s “Winter Market” (Burning Chrome), features Max, a recording engineer, and Lise, a wunderkind artist about to go viral. Lise’s genetic disorder requires her to wear a full-body brace in order to survive, but this is faulty equipment too, so much so that the brace once trapped her starving and unable to move in a pile of garbage. Told from Max’s point of view, “Winter Market” opens with Lise’s escape to immortality: “It was like that the day her agents phoned to tell me she’d merged with the net, crossed over for good.”

In “Winter Market,” Lise creates something astoundingly beautiful and Max sees her for who she is when no one else does. I love the story. I thought I loved it because of what it said about art and dedication and rage; because of the connection between two people; because of how angry Lise was whenever anyone looked at her with anything approaching pity.

Lise is better than Deenie too.

But, as I said above, Lise is already gone by the time “Winter Market” begins, and my love for Gibson’s story has grown more complex and layered.

Lately, I’ve been arguing with Gibson in my head about Lise. (And, to a lesser extent, with McCaffrey about Helva.) Because Lise is a prop for “Winter Market.” She’s gone, and what she’s left behind and what she’s become are not Lise any more, in the narrator’s eyes especially. Because her tech cage failed her, maybe. Because her meat cage failed her too, probably. Because her mind needed to escape all that she was in order to fulfill what she was capable of.

I’m arguing about that now for a lot of reasons. First, because I can’t get out of my cage—none of us can—and second because I do not want to be gone. I want a world that lets me live, and love, and create, and be me, with whatever braces or tech I need. One that doesn’t stand in my way or expect me to disappear in one flaming act of creation. Gibson’s and McCaffrey’s stories helped me understand this, in their own ways.

So when I write characters like Djonn in Cloudbound and Horizon, or Lane in “Happenstance,” a short story coming out this summer in the FutureScapes anthology, I write them uncaged, even as I give them braces and tech to help support them. The cage I’m talking about is the story’s definition of who they are—where Lise is at one point garbage and the hole she leaves in the story, where Helva cannot be at all, unless her parents make her a ship. Djonn and Lane and others aren’t defined by their bodies and limitations; they have the tools to do their jobs and live their lives.

Sometimes people don’t notice my characters have disabilities because these characters are too busy living their lives.

I’m really very fine with that. I’m busy living my life too.

Even when the meatcage goes thunk.

_____
*And has been beautifully explored by readers and academics including Dr. Ria Cheyne, in “She was born a Thing, Disability, The Cyborg, and the Posthuman (Journal of Mondern Literature 36.3)”

***

Fran Wilde is the author of the Andre Norton- and Compton Crook Award-winning, Nebula-nominated novel UPDRAFT (Tor 2015), its sequels, CLOUDBOUND (2016) and HORIZON (2017), and the Nebula- and Hugo-nominated novelette “The Jewel and Her Lapidary” (Tor.com Publishing 2016). Her short stories appear in Asimov’s, Tor.com, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer, Nature, and the 2017 Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror. She writes for publications including The Washington Post, Tor.com, Clarkesworld, iO9.com, and GeekMom.com. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, and at franwilde.net.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Wonder Woman (Here There Be Spoilers)

Jun. 11th, 2017 06:42 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

My family and I finally saw Wonder Woman today. (I made sure to do up the beard with the appropriate colors, of course!)

Selfie with yellow and red beard bandsI liked it a lot. It wasn’t perfect, but it’s easily the best of the DC superhero films for me. Not necessarily a high bar to clear, but still…

Was it perfect? Nope. I saw the twists with Ares and the “godkiller” pretty much as soon as they were introduced. Elena Anaya’s Doctor Poison was sadly underutilized. The final battles were a little too CGI.

I still enjoyed it. I loved Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and Chris Pine as Steve Trevor. Lucy Davis was a lot of fun as Etta Candy. Perhaps most importantly, the film gave us a Wonder Woman who had heart. Who loves and protects and smiles and cares and tries to help, and not just in battle. The moment when she tries to comfort Charlie after what appears to be a PTSD-type nightmare, or her unabashed joy in ice cream or seeing a baby for the first time…those moments made Wonder Woman as much as her big fight scenes.

I’ve seen people talking about how they cried during this movie at the sight of a woman taking center stage as a powerful, compassionate, world-saving superhero. I’ve seen criticism of the way the film quickly abandons Paradise Island and surrounds Wonder Woman with an almost entirely-male cast. I’ve seen love for the casting of an Israeli woman, and for a Native character who introduces himself in Blackfoot. I’ve seen pain and frustration at the way black women are portrayed or pushed into the background. (I loved watching Robin Wright kick ass, but why couldn’t the movie have kept Philippus as Diana’s trainer?)

I’ve also seen that amazingly clueless Guardian review, which complains:

Confusingly, Diana later explains that “men are essential for procreation but when it comes to pleasure, unnecessary.”

Anyone else completely unshocked to find that this review was written by a man?

I included the link, but I recommend reading more thoughtful commentary and responses like the following:

It’s hard to hear something you love is problematic. We saw The Princess Bride again last weekend. I love that movie. I think it’s brilliant…but it’s also almost exclusively male, and includes a scene of Westley threatening to strike his so-called love because he doesn’t like something she said. That’s messed-up. I still love it, but not because I delude myself into thinking it’s perfect.

Wonder Woman is extraordinary and powerful for a lot of people. It’s also flawed and frustrating or disappointing for others. This isn’t a contradiction. It’s the nature of art. Sure, certain criticism might be ridiculous — waves at that Guardian reviewer — but I don’t think we do ourselves any favors by pretending our faves are perfect, or by refusing to listen to people who point out genuine problems.

I liked the movie. I liked Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. I think this was a big step forward for DC films…but one step does not a journey make. I hope Hollywood learns and does even better in the future.

I’ll end with Stylist UK’s 25 life-giving photos of little girls dressed as Wonder Woman.

Gal Gadot with Young Fan

Photo from Ryan McGee’s Twitter Feed

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

imagining myself as less ambitious

Jun. 11th, 2017 12:38 pm
mizkit: (Default)
[personal profile] mizkit

Friday morning I had the thought, as I occasionally do, that it’s just not possible to get all the things I want to get written, written, especially in the time frame I wanted to, and that I really just needed to be less ambitious.

48 hours later and I’m still like, “yes, this is a good plan, a reasonable plan.” It won’t last, it never does, but for the window here where I’m going “really it’d be okay to not put so much stress on myself” and believing it, it’s nice. I should go tackle my Work Thinks To Do list while I’m in this mindset, and spread it out over a more realistic time frame than its current status.

In unrelated news, I got my second-hand bike fixed so it’s rideable now. I have ambitions (see, sigh, I’m not good at not having ambitions) to get up earlier and go swim in the mornings, but that would mean going to bed earlier, which I haven’t been doing so well at.

Also, the ten days of June have slipped away, and I need to get hold of the rest of them because I need to get REDEEMER copy edits to the copy editor so he’ll have time to edit them before the deadline he proposed to me. @.@ Seriously, a lot of this year just feels like it’s sliding through my fingers (although I recognize a fair part of that is because I’m still too glued to international political shit-shows, but hey: yay Great Britain, especially the 72% youth turnout, omg, you see that American youth?!? and yet, y’know, that fat lady ain’t done singing yet), but…yeah. Anyway.

I better stop writing this before I start feeling like I’m not getting enough done and start getting Ambitious again. :p :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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