News roundup, or not

I’m not always great at the social media thing. I’m getting a better hang of interacting with others, finding interesting things online to share, following writers who follow me, and those informal communication things. But writers are often told they need to MARKET THEMSELVES and BRAND THEMSELVES, blogging constantly and promoting tirelessly and never having time to do things like eat, sleep, take care of other responsibilities, and – ya know – write. Not that I’m one of those hermit writers who whines that their job is just to write and they shouldn’t have to do their own marketing (a species that is always scornfully described in writer’s workshops and blogs and how-to books, but which I’ve never actually encountered). I just don’t feel compelled to be constantly blogging. I’m not naturally inclined to go on at length about my own opinions. If I have something to say, I’ll often try to say it in fiction, which is usually much more interesting to me than soapboxing.

Anyway, I’m trying to keep some content coming, at least on a weekly basis, and this means that I’ve been collecting some ideas of stuff to blog about. I looked back over this collection today, and decided I wasn’t really enthused about any of it to devote a whole blog to it. So here it is – my (old) news roundup:

Why Aren’t There More Woman Sci-Fi Writers?
This article really caught my eye because I love seeing genre literature discussed in a mainstream publication like Slate. Not that there’s much in the way of answers here. Yes, the most prestigious works both in genre and mainstream literature tend to be written by men. Yes, books by men are more frequently reviewed in professional publications. Yes, there’s a lingering sense that men write about serious stuff and women write about fluff. Is this because of sexism in publishing? Because science is still a man’s world? Because Mars and Venus can never really get along? I especially like the fact that Margaret Atwood is cited as “straddling the line between genre and literary fiction,” even though Atwood has famously insisted that she does not write science fiction.

Amazon introduces fan fiction publishing platform
Lots has been written about the topic since I first found this link. What I would probably focus on if I were to go on at length is my opinion of fan fiction. Or my non-opinion, since I’m unwilling to say it’s good or bad. It has its uses. I’ve written plenty of fan fiction in my head, usually while washing dishes. I gave Snape a backstory before we learned it in Deathly Hallows, I figured out what the Wraiths’ big weakness was before Stargate Atlantis did, and I’ve scripted the Time War story with Paul McGann (who needs a second chance) as the Doctor and Timothy Dalton (who was just awesome) as Rassilon. Here’s what fan fiction can do for you – give you a chance to try things out, play with characters and emotions and interactions, practice dialogue and plot building, all without the time-consuming business of creating those characters and that world from scratch. It’s a time saver for writing exercises. Here’s what fan fiction is not – REAL WRITING. If you’re going to become a writer, you need to do the whole job, soup to nuts, even the tough, time-consuming stuff. Note that I said I’ve written plenty of fan fiction in my head. When I actually take the time to sit down and write, it’s my own work. But hey, Amazon smelled money, and the properties get to commission media tie-ins at bargain bin rates, so here we go!

Roundup of Some “Anonymous Protesters” (#SFWA Bulletin Links)
Another party I’m late to. In fact, I’ve only found reactions to the original incident, nothing reporting the incident itself. In case you’re as clueless as I was until recently, the Bulletin of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America apparently released an issue with a scantily clad “warrior woman” on the cover, and inside that issue two noted columnists said some complimentary but unnecessary things about the female editor’s appearance. Numerous people accused SFWA and the noted columnists of sexism, and the noted columnists responded by accusing their critics of censorship and fascism. Whew – where to start here? Really, the whole thing gives me a headache, and the bloggers linked in the article above do a better job than I could of covering the important points. I guess I’ll reference the Annoyed Librarian again and point out that censorship is not what so many people in this country think it is. Resnick and Malzberg are in no danger of being arrested for voicing their opinions, and SFWA’s press is not going to be shut down. Freedom of speech only guarantees that you will not be prosecuted by the government for what you say; it does not guarantee that everyone’s going to like what you say. Got it?

Okay, now back to my hermit’s cave…

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