I love Epic Fantasy. I have done since I discovered it when I was 16. I haven't always had a happy relationship with it. And for a while, I swore it off. That said, I've always wanted to have a lengthy discussion about how traditional Epic Fantasy handles the Good vs Evil thing and whether it's...well... ethical, frankly. Because I don't believe that it is.
I believe in little 'e' evil--that is, mundane evil. The evil of ordinary selfishness or a lack of empathy or perspective. Oh, and thoughtlessness...that deserves a little 'e' evil mention. Miserliness for sure gets my vote. It's why I have issues with people who are mean-spirited about government programs. All of those things are encountered in the every day world. It's why I loved Pratchett and Gaiman's Good Omens so much.
"There were people who called themselves Satanists who made Crowley squirm. It wasn't just the things they did, it was the way they blamed it all on Hell. They'd come up with some stomach-churning idea that no demon could have thought of in a thousand years, some dark and mindless unpleasantness that only a fully-functioning human brain could conceive, then shout "The Devil Made Me Do It" and get the sympathy of the court when the whole point was that the Devil hardly ever made anyone do anything. He didn't have to. That was what some humans found hard to understand. Hell wasn't a major reservoir of evil, any more than Heaven, in Crowley's opinion, was a fountain of goodness; they were just sides in the great cosmic chess game. Where you found the real McCoy, the real grace and the real heart-stopping evil, was right inside the human mind."
Humans are complex and subtle creatures--even the big 'E' Evil ones. Oh, sure. Big 'E' Evil exists, but we're more likely to run into little 'e' evil and Epic Fantasy as a genre doesn't handle little 'e' evil very well. And I suspect that the mindset predisposed to view the world in absolutes of Good vs Evil is far less likely to catch on when actual evil is being done--at least, that's how I view the current US political climate. So, does a simplistic view of Good versus Evil in SFF do readers a disservice? I'm starting to wonder. Maybe in order to spot evil with a little 'e' and stop it, we need to practice seeing it for what it is? Maybe? I don't know. I'm still thinking on it.
 There were the dark days of near constant white, straight male characters who find the sword/ring/gem and go forth into the forest to discover the thief/wizard/bard/sidekick du jour who then joins the party until a whole set is collected and then they fight the Dark Lord/Big Bad and win... and zero anything else. So, boring.
 That was one of the points I'd planned on getting around to with the Fey and the Fallen and never got the chance. [sigh] At the time, the main theme I was focused on revolved around vengeance.
Today's theme song:
Today was a good day. Not only did I get some writing done but I got something great in my email box. I can't say what...but it rocks. A lot. And stuff. And I've been doing a Snoopy Dance on and off all day. I love days like today. Also, the weather around here is great. It's Fall, bats and ghouls! And October (my favorite month) is only a few days away. And this is definitely my favorite time for writing with cups of tea near at hand.
The only downside is the lack of pie in my life. No wheat and no sugar makes pie difficult. [sigh] I know. First World Problems. :)
Anyway...I'm off again to write some more before I go on a bike ride. I hope your Wednesday was a good one.
I thought that was an appropriate graphic today. I've had so many arguments on FB with men who automatically assume that because I'm voting for Hillary Clinton I a) hate men and b) am voting for her entirely because she's a woman. It's gotten old--particularly since this is 2016 and not 1968. Misogynists really should find new arguments and insults. That shit isn't even remotely creative, let alone smart. That said, I'm not watching the debate tonight. I would normally. Tonight, I just can't. I'm suffering from far too much anxiety as it is to sign on for some more. I'm not the only one. Mind you, I'd love to watch the Donald's lies revealed. I'd love to see Hillary rip his throat out like a T-Rex on speed with a law degree and a lifetime of debate experience. But that's not going to happen. Corporate news will continue to pretend that Trump is a valid candidate. (He isn't.) They're going to sit there with their thumb on the scale in an attempt to be 'fair and honest.' [cough] Hell, I can't even type those words without irony any more. They'll throw the Orange Blob of Hate soft ball questions and talk over Hillary. And if you want to know why I hate Reality TV so much, I'll point directly to the T man's campaign. Reality TV prepared you to swallow that self-serving, self-involved bullshit as legitimate and normal. What kills me is, when Obama ran for president Americans seemed to wake up to the obvious racism in the opposition's response. I know I did. It even made me aware of my own internalized racism. I changed. Many of people I know were changed. And yet, I don't see the same going on when it comes to Hillary. It's like misogyny is the hold out--the line into progressiveness that America just can't cross. Mind you, American racism is far from over--far, far from it. Holy crap, so very, very far. Maybe it's early yet? Maybe I didn't see the change around me as fast as I thought I did? Probably. It wouldn't shock me.
We need this change. We need a woman president. I hope like hell that one day soon we'll have a woman of color run and win. A gay man or woman? BRING IT. Trans? Hells yes! We need to rip out this seemingly absolute need for a white, straight dude in office. Enough is enough already. Straight, white men have had their shot. Time to share the power. Time for some representation of other groups. I do seem to recall 'No taxation without representation.' was a thing in this country. Women are 51% of the population in the States, and yet, we've only 21% representation in our government. It's time to change that. Mind you, the misogyny, racism, and hate won't end with this election. It's only going to get worse because the racist assholes now feel legitimized. Dangerous days are ahead.
But I won't be watching the debates tonight. I have enough anxiety about this election. At this point, I take it personally when anyone says awful things about Hillary. It's just as bad when people tell me they'd rather vote for a libertarian because Hillary is "a run of the mill politician and as bad as a Republican." It's like they are utterly unaware that Johnson was a Republican until 2011. And yet, voting for Johnson is a stab at the Republicans because Hillary is supposedly more Republican than Johnson? [shakes head]
And now links...
Dane was sick today and stayed home. I skedaddled off to the coffee shop to write--on my bike, no less. Wrote 850 words on a SF story that I'm super happy with and rode home. It was a damned good day, if I say so myself. Now, I'm going to grab some tacos for myself and Sick Boy™ and then the plan is to watch Heart of the Sea which I have recorded off cable. (I've been wanting to watch it since what seems like forever.) Yep. Those are my big plans for the weekend.
I know. My life is soo exciting.
I also finished the re-read of Stephen King's IT. Mostly, it's a very good book. I have some real problems with one bit--mainly involving Beverly whose super power is sex. [sigh] Give me a fucking break. [squint][glare][possibly throw things] I'd blocked that out of my memory with good reason. Anyway, other than that and well, the casual racism...it's well written per usual and holds up. Something about that novel gets me deep down. I don't know what it is, but I love it. I'm moving on to Misery now.
Sorry for the lateness of the post. I'm deep into writing up a proposal for the next book in the Malorum Gates series. [pats long haired white cat like a Bond villain] (Err. Sebastian is a tortoise shell tabby and I'm not bald...but let's pretend anyway.) All is going well with Blackthorne, and I'm super excited about it going out into the world next year. So much so...that I think I'll give you an excerpt from the first chapter. You know, since I didn't get to read from it at World Con. Oh, heads up: the following may not be 100% work safe. So...here you go!
Good morning and Happy Monday! (Well, a woman can hope, can't she? ;)) Ready for those links? Cool! So am I!
Today's video (because diversity is today's theme) is brought to you by Texan in Tokyo:
Stephen King's The Stand has long been one of my favorite novels. It scared the shit out of me. Largely, the reason why is because I read it when news of the U.S. AIDs epidemic was only beginning to surface. There were many (unintended) similarities between King's Captain Trips and AIDs which at that time wasn't openly acknowledged and didn't even have a name. If you want a good idea of what was going on at the time, I'd recommend watching And The Band Played On. In any case, ever since then I've had a fascination with epidemics.
Fast forward to yesterday. I was listening to NPR and this story came on the air, and it's terrifying. We've known about antibiotic resistance for fifteen years. And yet, very little has been done about it. One of the main reasons why is because the main market for antibiotics (80% of the market, in fact) is the commercial farming industry. It isn't the average consumer in the form of antibacterial soap and antibiotic prescriptions. (Although, no doubt that doesn't help.) Commercial agriculture is the larger market by far. Of course, the industry claims that they're cutting down. However, "According to the Food and Drug Administration, which compiles these numbers, sales of antibiotics for use on the farm increased in 2014, just as they had for most years before that." (From NPR article titled Antibiotic Use On Farms is Up, Despite Promises to Kick the Drugs.) Something needs to be done and soon because now E. Coli Bacteria can transfer antibiotic resistance to other bacteria.
 All but the end, anyway. Endings are hard. Endings for novels about good and evil evolving around Christianity are even more difficult, if you ask me. It's almost impossible to keep the stakes high while not letting the story devolve into something out of a bible.
I'd always hoped for better
Thought maybe together you and me would find it
I got no plans I ain't going nowhere
So take your fast car and keep on driving
--Tracy Chapman, Fast Car
Dane and I have been discussing a lot of politics lately. In truth, we're both scared to death. We've both been confused too. How is it that we both know people who seem to be perfectly fine with the prospects of a Fascist president? Me, I can't help taking it a bit personally that some people I know would rather vote for an ignorant bigot and repeated business failure with no leadership skills outside of bullying (not that I count 'bullying' as a leadership skill) than they would a woman who is so overqualified for the job (compared to her predecessors who actually served for president, let alone merely ran for it) that it's embarrassing. Whenever asked, a majority can't come up with logical reasons for their vague dislike--and it is vague dislike, not proof she isn't qualified for the job. Too often, I've seen arguments about the actions of her husband as president or based upon opinions on issues which Clinton clearly has changed her mind. Nonetheless, as scary as that is...well...thinking that a certain segment of the population would be happy to return to open segregation, disenfranchisement, and well...drive the county into White Supremist Fascism is downright terrifying. Really? A 600% increase in White nationalist presence on Twitter doesn't indicate enough of a problem that you still can't vote for a woman?
I get it to an extent. I studied Northern Ireland for 5+ years. When people endure wretched economic times over an extensive period of time they tend to look for scapegoats. In turn, the leaders who've been taking advantage of the situation will point to the powerless among the population. Why? Because the more in-fighting there is among the common people, the more they can continue to do whatever they want unchecked. Divide and conquer, baby. That story is as old as humanity. It's so obvious, I have trouble understanding why others aren't seeing it. That said, we've been looking for explanations because I have trouble believing that people are just that stupid. That sort of thinking is short hand for "I don't care." And really, we have enough of that shit. It's important to understand. You can't fix a problem you don't understand.
Good morning! Ready for that fresh cup of righteous anger? Cool. Here we go...
The first story is climate change related. Apparently, rising sea levels are already a problem for the US coastline. Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming has Already Begun. Hopefully, the climate change deniers are coming around. (I know I haven't got as much push back as I used to get on the subject.) Personally, I feel Exxon should be held accountable for knowing about the problem in 1981 and not only refusing to do anything about it but actually choosing to cover it up. Because short term profits are better than a future for humanity. Right. [eye roll]
The next one is about El Chapo, the legalization of marijuana and their connection to the Heroin crisis in the US. I often think that if a problem like "the war on drugs" looks easy to resolve then you're not looking deep enough into it. For example, the Middle East situation. (That's an amazing article and a long one. Be prepared to devote a lot of time to it. Great reporting.) From the article: "History never flows in a predictable way. It is always a result of seemingly random currents and incidents, the significance of which can be determined — or, more often, disputed — only in hindsight." There is far too much going on there for an instant resolution--an obvious thought for anyone who has looked into it beyond the Fox News headlines.
Some fascinating research is going on within quantum physics. Turns out, time does not exist in the way we think it does. Reading that article, I couldn't help thinking about how human memory isn't a simple recording of events. It's mutable. It changes over time based upon the person you've become--which means the present most certainly can effect the past. Interesting stuff.
And have an article about a battery that lasts forever. You know, so we can end on an upbeat note. :)