Invisible 3 Release Day

Jun. 27th, 2017 10:49 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Invisible 3 CoverINVISIBLE 3, a collection of 18 essays and poems about representation in SF/F, is out today! The ebook is edited by myself and Mary Anne Mohanraj, and is available at:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | Google Play

As with the first two volumes in this series, all profits go to benefit Con or Bust.

Here’s the full table of contents:

  • Introduction by K. Tempest Bradford
  • Heroes and Monsters, by T. S. Bazelli
  • Notes from the Meat Cage, by Fran Wilde
  • What Color Are My Heroes? by Mari Kurisato
  • The Zeroth Law Of Sex in Science Fiction, by Jennifer Cross
  • Our Hyperdimensional Mesh of Identities, by Alliah
  • Erasing Athena, Effacing Hestia, by Alex Conall
  • Not So Divergent After All, by Alyssa Hillary
  • Skins, by Chelsea Alejandro
  • The Doctor and I, by Benjamin Rosenbaum
  • My Family Isn’t Built By Blood, by Jaime O. Mayer
  • Lost in Space: A Messy Voyage Through Fictional Universes, by Carrie Sessarego
  • Decolonise The Future, by Brandon O’Brien
  • Natives in Space, by Rebecca Roanhorse
  • I Would Fly With Dragons, by Sean Robinson
  • Adventures in Online Dating, by Jeremy Sim
  • Of Asian-Americans and Bellydancing Wookiees, by Dawn Xiana Moon
  • Shard of a Mirage, by MT O’Shaughnessy
  • Unseen, Unheard, by Jo Gerrard

Huge thanks to the contributors for sharing their stories and experiences. I’ve learned so much from earlier volumes in this series, and this one was no different.

And hey, if you haven’t seen the previous volumes…

INVISIBLE: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | Google Play

INVISIBLE 2: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | Google Play

If you’re a reviewer and would like a copy, please contact me and let me know your preferred format and where your reviews are published.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

malkingrey: ((default))
[personal profile] malkingrey
If you were raised in (or have ever lived for an extended time in) the South, this is hilarious:

"Tennessee Williams with Air Conditioning"

(I read an article somewhere once that attributed the rise of the modern South to the invention of air conditioning, which made it possible for people in that region to actually work from 9 to 5 in the summertime without turning into puddles of economically unproductive sweat. The writer of the article, as I recall, seemed to vaguely resent this.)

At Least It's Sunny.

Jun. 25th, 2017 11:51 am
malkingrey: ((default))
[personal profile] malkingrey
Sort of, anyhow. For a while, maybe. There's a chance of thunderstorms tonight.

Himself is over at Stowe, busking at the Vermont RennFaire -- they pay gas money and provide lodging and a meal chit for their buskers, so whatever he gets in the hat (actually, it's a wicker basket, which experiment has shown works better) is profit. The real goal of the weekend, though, is consideration for paid stage gigs at other Faires and such put on by the same people; they like to try them out as buskers first.

It also looks like he's got a gig in July down in Greenfield MA, doing magic at a birthday party -- this one through the agent he had the successful meeting with right after Boskone. She was off for three months after that, doing something-or-other, but has returned and is back in touch. He gets his mileage paid for that one, as well as his fee (minus the agent's cut, of course), and with any luck this will lead to bigger and better gigs down the road. The real money, apparently, is in appearances at conferences and trade shows and the like.

(Himself's plans almost always work out well in the long run. It's the short run that sometimes can get rocky.)

Pollen in the Air

Jun. 23rd, 2017 12:38 pm
malkingrey: (Rain)
[personal profile] malkingrey
Or something, anyhow. It's making me itchy, and all the news reports about that brand-new (or newly-discovered, anyhow) tick-borne disease aren't helping any. Just reading them makes my skin crawl.

This is why I don't actually like summer very much. I like fall, and spring, and most of winter except for the godawful electric bills, but summer is heat and humidity and biting insects and allergens all over.

And today it's overcast and drippy, as well. (No surprise there.)

Cool Stuff Friday

Jun. 23rd, 2017 11:18 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Friday is almost finished with this first draft…

 

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Senate Healthcare Bill

Jun. 22nd, 2017 03:25 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

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 Bit of Sunshine

Jun. 21st, 2017 01:09 pm
malkingrey: (BlueSkyClouds)
[personal profile] malkingrey
Also, the air is cooler today, and despite sleeping very late this morning† I managed to get the most pressing chore on today's schedule taken care of before noon.

Meanwhile, Himself is putting together the last touches on his garb and gear for this weekend's gig, doing busking (walkaround magic on a pass-the-hat basis) at the Vermont RennFaire over in Stowe. If you're in the area, do feel free to stop by.

The changing weather kept me awake and restless most of the night, and when I finally dropped off about 4;30 or so when the temperature dropped, I didn't wake up until well past 10 AM. This is what happens when there's nobody in the house who has to get ready for school or anything -- your internal clock can get way out of sync with that of the wider world, and it doesn't matter. (Until, of course, it does, but that's what alarm clocks are for.)
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

“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.

And I Just Had to Turn Down a Gig

Jun. 16th, 2017 01:25 pm
malkingrey: ((default))
[personal profile] malkingrey
Well, not a gig, exactly . . . a guy with a true-crime book that he'd just recovered the rights for, offering to pay me a fee in return for using my contacts to put him in touch with possible publishers. So I had to tell him that

  • this isn't one of the services I provide, and
  • true crime isn't one of my areas of expertise, and
  • even if this were something I could do for him, it wouldn't be something I'd feel right charging money for.

So I closed out with a couple of paragraphs of generic advice, and clicked "send."

Then, of course, I got a phone call from the car repair people, with the estimate on how much it would cost to get the car to pass inspection, and that was pretty much exactly the cost of an editing gig, the which I do not yet have in hand. One of those real hair-curler bills, which I suppose makes up for last year when the car passed inspection with no problems.

Damn, but being honest is a pain in the butt sometimes.

Baths of days past

Jun. 15th, 2017 05:59 pm
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
I'm reading about the Summerland fire disaster (a resort on the Isle of Man burned down, killing 50) and I got to the list of special baths offered.

At street level, there was the remedial entrance for persons using the aerotone, sauna, steam, hot, cold plunge, slipper, Vichy douche, massage, Russian vapour and Turkish baths. Some facilities on this level, such as an aerotone bath, did not appear in the original plans and were added during construction because they had proved to be profitable additions to swimming baths in mainland Britain.

Aerotone baths (do watch the video!) were a sort of early Jacuzzi with bubbles and a cold rinse at the end.  As far as I can tell, a slipper bath is a plain ol' bathtub with one sloped side for reclining.   A Vichy douche was, at Vichy, a four-hand massage under a hot shower of Vichy water.  At Summerland, it was presumably just a massage under a hot shower, which still sounds swell to me.  I do not know the difference between a sauna, a Russian vapour bath, and a Turkish bath. 

Sandwiches Have Gone Modern

Jun. 15th, 2017 05:15 pm
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
From Woman's World, August, 1936 p. 24, but this time not nasty. 


To begin at the beginning, here are two quick sandwich breads -Chocolate Bread which you will find perfectly grand for cream cheese or marmalade sandwiches, and Date-Nut-Orange Bread.

Chocolate Bread
3 cups sifted cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 egg
1/4 cup melted butter or shortening
1 1/4 cups milk
2 squares (ounces) unsweetened chocolate, melted

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add sugar and when thoroughly blended moisten with the beaten egg. shortening and milk,. adding these gradually and mixing well. Finally add the chocolate and when well blended turn into a greased loaf-pan and bake in a moderate oven-350 degrees F.--about one and a quarter hours.

Date-Nut-Orange Bread

2 cups white flour
1 teaspoon soda [baking soda, I assume, not washing]
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups graham flour
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup chopped nut-meats
2/3 cup pitted dates, cut small
Grated rind 1 orange
2 cups sour milk
1/2 cup molasses

Sift together the white hour. soda, salt and baking powder. Add the graham flour, sugar, nut-meats,
dates and orange rind and moisten with the blended sour milk and molasses. Turn into one large well greased bread pan and bake in a moderate oven-350 degrees F.-about one and a quarter hours.

...
Another variety of the rolled sandwich is the one where buttered fresh bread is rolled around a spray of watercress. a short stalk of celery (plain or stuffed) or a tip of cooked asparagus, any of these being first dipped into French dressing for greater flavor.
[I've seen recipes where the asparagus was dipped in hollandaise. Mm.]

...
Afternoon Tea Sandwiches

Cucumber: White bread with filling of finely minced well drained cucumber seasoned with onion juice, lemon juice and minced parsley.

Rolled Mint: Cream butter for sandwiches then work into it very finely minced mint-1 teaspoon to 2/3 cup butter.

Peach Cream: Spread white, graham or whole wheat bread first with softened butter then with cream cheese., next with peach (or apricot) marmalade. Nuts if you like but they are good enough without. Serve either as open or closed sandwiches.

Tropical: Use white bread, spread with creamed butter then with currant jelly into which shredded coconut, plain or toasted, has been beaten with a fork. Top with thinly sliced bananas sprinkled with lemon juice. Serve either open or closed.

Date Nut: Thin slices of pound cake or sponge cake with filling of chopped dates and nuts (in equal proportions) moistened with orange juice.

Campfire Sandwiches

Split, toast and butter round sandwich rolls. Fill with piping hot slices of sautéed canned corned beef hash, top with a little prepared horseradish, mustard or mustard pickle. Serve dill pickles on the side.

Roquefort-Ham for the Slag Party*

Combine finely minced ham with one-fourth its bulk each of mashed roquefort cheese and chopped sweet pickles. Moisten with French dressing or mayonnaise. Use buttered whole wheat or rye bread or pumpernickel, topping the filling, if desired, with thinly sliced, well chilled, seasoned fresh tomatoes.

Century Club

Use three slices buttered toast for each sandwich. Arrange on the first, lettuce, crisp bacon and sliced tomato moistened with French dressing or mayonnaise. Cover with second slice of toast, placing on this lettuce, cold tongue and minced mustard pickle. Top with remaining toast slice, cut through to form two triangles and garnish with pickle fans.

* okay, it's really Stag Party, but I prefer the OCR version. 

Magic Mayonnaise

Jun. 14th, 2017 04:11 pm
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
 From Woman's World, June, 1934, p. 13.
Magic Mayonnaise
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup oil
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
Few grains cayenne

Place ingredients in a pint jar in order given. Fasten top of jar tightly and shake vigorously for one or two minutes. If a heavier consistency is desired place jar in refrigerator to chill before using.

There is worse to come.
Mineral Oil Dressing

2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/4 cups mineral oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper or paprika

Beat egg yolks until thick gradually adding lemon juice, then blend in oil carefully -- as dressing thickens, oil may be added more quickly. Season and chill before using.

This dressing is particularly desirable for laxative diets, also for reducing diets as the mineral oil has no nutritional value.
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