terabient: P4 Hero majestically riding a penis demon (P4: Mara)
So, the World Fantasy Award will no longer issue H.P. Lovecraft busts as an award and naturally, people are salty about this! Apparently it's the worst kind of political correctness to reconsider giving out a statue of an actual, avowed racist. This is because certain people get very upset and nervous when a dead person's fame and influence is no longer considered a 'trump' to their racism, even when that racism is explicitly expressed through their literature, as it is in the case of Lovecraft's work.

If anything, anyone who considers themselves a mindful literary critic should question why fame/genre influence trumps all other flaws in an author's writing. The objection to no longer rewarding fantasy writers with Lovecraft heads seems to boil down to "He wrote a bunch of stories about this specific idea, some were pretty good, and lots of people over the course of a long period of time liked that idea or his stories and it influenced their writing. Yes, he was a racist, and some of his passages are extremely difficult if not impossible to read if you accept on a basic level that all humans are created equal, but that doesn't mean he's an unacceptable figurehead for a general fantasy award. Have you SEEN all the Cthulhu professional fanfiction out there?"

There's a persistent idea in professional literary criticism that social issues like racism and sexism* ought not be considered when deciding the worthiness of reading or not reading an author. People who say they do not want to read authors whose works express racism or sexism are told 'but the themes/plotting/prose are so great that you should just ignore the ugly parts and take away the good!' And yet it never occurs to these critics that their thesis may be flawed, that racism in a work goes much deeper than the use of racial slurs, mocking descriptions of people of color's appearances, and calling other cultures 'savage' or 'barbaric'; that relatable themes, complex or tight plots, and beautiful or economic turns of phrase do not supercede or 'cancel out' the existence of racism/sexism. It should be acceptable to reject an author, as an award figure or as a person worth reading, based on how they portray (or refuse to portray) people of difference races or sexes--just as it's acceptable to reject them because of their prose or their plots or their themes. But no. Critics gonna cry, because not everyone loves the authors they spent their careers fellating.

Such is the horror of Political Correctness: it cares not for your prolific body of work, your level of fame nor the countless adorers of your tales--it takes all your poorly designed caricature busts away, and lays waste to your reputation! Truly it is the cruelest of the Elder Gods.

book club

Jan. 2nd, 2012 07:06 pm
terabient: A smiling cartoon octopus, holding a book in each tentacle (octopus books - art by tad carpenter)
My reading goal for 2011 was to read 40 books. I only managed 30. SIGH. At least there were some pretty huge tomes in that 30.

I enjoyed most of what I read although I didn't find much of it outstanding, just pleasant and/or interesting. But that's still a pretty good achievement for a book! There was only one that ended up being completely forgettable. (It was Plus Blood in Their Veins, which I should have expected considering it was a pulp fiction novel that cost me about a quarter.)

For those interested nobody?, my 2011 Book List )

You can ask me questions about how ~awesome (or not ~awesome) these books are and I will probably answer them!

ALSO. This week I am going to go on my New Year's book buying binge on Amazon, but I don't have many books picked out yet, so! SUGGESTIONS FOR EXCELLENT READING would be appreciated.

My book collection has outgrown my shelf space, so I may do a book giveaway in the near future. Just in case anyone is interested.
terabient: by <user name=xfreischutz site=tumblr.com> (Default)
Have a teeny book meme, since I can't think of anything else to do. :D

What book are you currently reading?

The Last Panda, by George B. Shaller.

How far in are you?

About 150 pages in, with roughly 100 pages left. Hoping to finish by Thursday.

What's it about?

Short, obvious answer: Pandas! Better answer: It is the account of the World Wildlife Fund's initial efforts with the Chinese government to study pandas and set up formal, modern research centers for conservation efforts in Sichuan.

Are you enjoying it?

It's slow going at first; there's a great deal on the difficulties encountered in first setting up the international collaboration, and while that kind of tension can be interesting (and is in later chapters) it's presented in a way that's very tedious and dry.

Once that's over, though, there's lots of detailed description of how day-to-day research is done, and there's a special emphasis on how seemingly small facts or observations can be used to draw unexpected conclusions.

And of course, there are pictures of pandas. :3

So far, it's been an enjoyable read.
terabient: Super-deformed Noel trying to write (Blazblue: Noel - poem fail)
Apropos of nothing: I enjoyed this pithy dig at Twilight.

On the subject of books, I set this year's goal at 40 books. So far I've finished sixteen. /FAIL If I count graphic novels the number is probably in the mid twenties but that feels like cheating. My book pile is still pretty huge, but I can't seem to concentrate on fiction these days, and I don't have much nonfiction in my list. Time to go browsing at the library! Suggestions are always welcome, of course - I'm most interested in Asian and Middle Eastern history at the moment, but any subject that's presented well is fine.

To round things out, it's meme revival time!

30 Days Fanfiction Meme

Day 4: Do you have a "muse" character, that speaks to you more than others, or that tries to push their way in, even when the fic isn't about them? Who are they, and why did that character became your muse?


Not really? I have favorite characters who I write about, but that's not the same as being inspired in the way people who say they have 'muses' are. For me, there is a lot of conscious thought that goes into the development of fic ideas - I'm not really the sort of person who gets random plot bunnies - though I wish I could. :c

boring answer is boring

the rest of the meme )
terabient: by <user name=xfreischutz site=tumblr.com> (Default)
1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
Hour 22 was pretty rough. I think I actually fell asleep for a few minutes, there.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
Hmmm....I think Natsuo Kirino's Real World or Out would be good picks. I didn't read them this time around, but Real World is short but hits hard, and Out is a very different kind of murder mystery. Both are written in an unpretentious, clear style that would be helpful in the later hours, I think.

They do contain triggery material for people, especially women, who have suffered abuse. So while I recommend them, it is with some reservation; they are not suited for everyone.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
Hmmm...well, as a first-time participant I was a bit confused by some of the dates in the information sections of the site. Times and a few other things on the FAQ were from 2010/2009. So making sure those references are current would help.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
I really enjoyed the tweeting aspect, it was very encouraging to read about people's progress in an abbreviated form. With blog posts, I sometimes spent a lot more time than I intended reading through posts and subsequent comments. ^^;

5. How many books did you read?
Six, seven if the one I am not going to finish in time counts ;)

6. What were the names of the books you read?
2666, Roberto Bolano
The Cage, Kenzo Kitakata
Confessions, Kang Zhengguo
Parasite Rex, Carl Zimmer
The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter
The German Shepherd Dog, Howell Book House
(Unfinished) The River at the Center of the World, Simon Winchester

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
Confessions was a very striking memoir and demonstrated the difficulties of living in China during Mao's reign superbly. And I always enjoy Beatrix Potter ^^

8. Which did you enjoy least?
The author of The River at the Center of the World comes off as patronizing and bombastic, so...

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
I was not a cheerleader but I might try it next year? I thought this year's cheerleaders did well :)

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I would love to try it next year! I don't know if I'd stay up the whole 24 hours, though. I kind of wish I had tried more of the mini-challenges, in retrospect, as they were quite clever and I enjoyed seeing what others did for them. Also, being a cheerleader looks like a lot of fun; I might try that.
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