Today's topic is a tough one. It centers on two subjects that I'm conflicted about: pornography and sex work. Ultimately, I feel sex is a human need, and there's not a damned thing wrong with it. I feel legalizing prostitution is the way to go. (As long as healthcare is also provided to the worker in order to prevent the spread of STDs.) However, there is a great deal of toxicity steeped in sex work. The industry too often exploits women, and I don't think that legalizing sex work will make that negativity and abuse vanish. Frankly, nothing about the subject is simple. Still, women should be able to own their sexuality without shame. Period.
What started me thinking about all this? Hugh Hefner died. They buried him according to his wishes in what can only be rightly described as the ultimate act of creep. Throughout his life, Hefner made money off the bodies of women. At the start of his career, he paid Marilyn Monroe $50 in modeling fees for nude photos. She'd been desperate at the time. He held onto the images until Marilyn made it big. Those pictures threatened her acting career. They also made Hefner famous. (The fact that he latched onto her even after death is chilling.) Let's be honest. Hefner wasn't a Feminist. He wasn't even an ally. He was selfish and amoral and used certain aspects of Feminism--specifically women's right to their sexuality--for personal gain. Marilyn wasn't the only one. There's also Dorothy Stratten. Hefner didn't protect her. He was too busy taking advantage of her himself.
Women who dare to claim their sexuality have always had to contend with sleazy assholes. I can't help but think about The Runaways.
So yesterday, a thing happened.
Not too long ago, my dojo closed, and I found out that I've osteoporosis on top of the arthritis, the migraines, and the autoimmune disease. [sigh] I knew I had to find some sort of exercise commitment and fast. If I waited too long, I'd have to start all over from scratch, and I knew that'd be worse than from where I'd started with Hakkoryu. (I couldn't sit in the lotus position on the floor--let alone do a summersault. I can now.) I can no longer take for granted that I'll be able to snap back into shape like I used to. I asked the endocrinologist what type of exercise was best for my condition. She said weight-lifting. I groaned. Nothing could be more dull. All the other activities I've enjoyed had a strategic quality to them. They engaged my mind and my body. (Various kinds of fencing and martial arts.) I want to keep doing those things, but I can't right now. So, I bit the bullet. I got a trainer while I could afford it.
Did I mention I failed University dance class until my prof spotted me dancing in a night club? Anyway, yesterday. I lifted and swung a kettle bell properly. We've been working up to it for almost two months. I executed two other movements I didn't think I'd ever be able to do too. I can do a push up and a pull up. My entire life I've never been able to do those. Some of it is, Kirby had me believing that I could. That's what a good trainer does.
And that got me thinking about the new Wonder Woman movie.
I don't know if you're aware of Jeff VanderMeer and his work, but you should be. In any case, you will be soon because they've made it into a film.
I'm excited. This is a great time for thinky--literary SF, y'all. I very much enjoyed what they did with Ted Chiang's Story of Your Life (aka Arrival.) It's exciting to see so much quality SF hit the big screen. Good for Jeff and Nnedi too! Seriously, this is wonderful. I hope it means that there will be more room for intellectual SF in addition to the "stuff goes boom" war/action/SF. And we'll get back to SF's roots which isn't merely escapism--not that I have a problem with escapism. I just feel there should be a broad range of readily available SF in media. (And I'll be happy when they stop trying to make Star Trek into Star Wars image.)
Next up, more on the Blade Runner anime project. (I can't freaking wait.)
In other SF-related news, High School Students Reading ‘1984’ See A Mirror, Not Science Fiction and if you've ever read it, you would too. It's downright scary. The next link is about The OA which I watched and liked. Great Science Fiction Isn’t Just About Facts. It’s About Imagination. The thing that I liked most about it was the concept of whether or not what the characters believed was true wasn't important--the effect was still the same. That's how real life works. There are, often, no definitive answers. I loved that it left that hanging. It was perfect. It annoys me that Americans seem to have this need to have every little detail and answer spelled out for them--as if there's always an easy answer to every problem. That simply isn't true. (That's also what's wrong with a lot of Americans' thinking on social media, if you ask me.)
Anyway, I hope you have a lovely Wednesday, Dear Reader.
Good morning, y'all. I hope you had a happy weekend. Mine certainly was. I got to watch the first new Star Trek tv episode in over two decades. It was fun. Yes, it has some problems. I do not like that Sarek says the Vulcans went Klingon on the Klingons until they were ready to negotiate. That's not Vulcan. More importantly, that's not Sarek. (Sarek was a pacifist.) I'm not sure about the Klingon make-up/presentation either, but I've always been wobbly on that point. Also, I'm going to assume that Burnham eventually chills out--that the only reason she's acting the way she is is because they're trying to demonstrate that she is like Kirk and struggles to color inside the lines established by Star Fleet. As it is, she demonstrates zero evidence of being raised by Vulcans, let alone pacifist Vulcans. I'm going to watch the second episode today. (I can't wait. Sorry. The fact that I waited until today shows restraint. ;)) Those rather large problems aside, I'm so happy to see Michelle Yeoh in the captain's chair. I still do not understand why she is not staying there. (Grrrr.) You cannot tell me Jason Isaacs is cheaper to pay. That's some bullshit. Anyway, I'm okay with what I've seen so far. I'll keep watching. I'm too excited for a black female lead to abandon it now. And yes, I'm paying for it. Because I know for a fact if people don't, they'll blame the black female lead and not the fact that they're asking people to pay for network tv. I'll be stunned if it goes any other way.
And now, links.
Today's t-shirt. Because I'm a total dork.
Today's post will be quick. I've a lot of catching up to do on the word count meter. AKA--my life is boring, I've not much to say today, and I'm in a hurry to get back to making fictional people's lives more interesting. You know, deadlines.
Far more interesting things: 5 BISEXUAL CHARACTERS WHO DESERVE RECOGNITION ON BISEXUAL VISIBILITY DAY. Also in the spirit of the day, did you know there are two bisexual characters in Blackthorne? They are James Slate and Mallory McDermott. This weekend Star Trek: Discovery will premiere. I CANNOT WAIT. So, have: Everything You Need to Know About Star Trek: Discovery Before It Premieres. And have a couple of SF shorts:
I hope you have a wonderful weekend.
Sorry I'm a day behind, but am spending much needed time with family before I go back to super-focusing on the new novel project. My Dad is in his 80s and has Alzheimer's. So, Mom needs the help. It happens.
In other news, I was glad to hear that The Handmaid's Tale got so much attention at the Emmy's. (Also, genre fiction in general.) I've been watching Top of the Lake which stars Elizabeth Moss. It's not SFF, but I like to keep an eye on what's going on in other genres because it's important not to become hide-bound as a storyteller. Besides, I'm a fan of intermingling different types of stories. It's fun. Right now, I've been focusing on stories with interesting female characters. I've watched the first and second season of The Fall which was interesting--if not comfortable, and Top of the Lake is quite similar in that it too addresses anxiety-producing levels of engrained misogyny within police departments and communities. Trigger Warning: in season one of Top of the Lake the crime involves a missing twelve year old girl who is pregnant due to multiple statutory rapes and abuse. (I'm not finished yet, but it's obvious that her father and uncles are the guilty parties.) It's a rough watch at times, but it's worth it so far. I've also been watching The Good Wife and Elementary and I'm enjoying them quite a bit. More importantly, I don't understand all the hate that Elementary received. I adore the attention to detail. It's gender-flipped characters (Watson and Moriarty) are artfully portrayed and well-written. Sherlock as ex-drug addict is just the right balance of unlikeable asshole and likeable dork. I adore it, and I'm extremely happy there's so much of it to watch. Dane and I have also been continuing with Preacher--although the first half of the second season has been extremely sllllow. I loved Castlevania. And we also started watching Midnight, Texas which is delightfully hoaky. The writing is pretty bad, but every episode manages to pull something off that keeps me watching. I can't explain why. I suspect it has to do with the witch character, Fiji. (That name. Arggh. But hey, it's not as bad as Bo-Bo.)
I've been reading Ian Banks' Culture series as well as Dan Simmons' Hyperion. I'm not enjoying them as much as finding them interesting in a craft sense. (Which describes my relationship with Kurt Vonnegut. I only read him out of obligation and education. I learn clever craft tricks from him--necessary since I don't have an advanced degree in Literature.) I gave Dhalgren a try and bounced, alas. (I feel it's a failing in myself as a reader, rather than Delany.) Most of my journey through the classics of SF hasn't been pleasant, I'll say. It's steeped in levels of misogyny and racism that are often hard to get past--even more so now. I've been making progress through Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series with the Skiffy and Fanty crew and have been enjoying those. Also, I've been trying to keep up with certain coversations regarding AI. That's been interesting. (I also find it amusing when white dudes go on about how something won't be disruptive to the economy because...well...they say so.) Anyway, that's what I've been reading these days.
I hope your week has been going well in spite of all the awful going on out there. And if you're being affected by the awful, I hope you get through it safely and whole. Take care out there.
 I've done a 70s Irish Crime and Urban Fantasy mashup and an Epic Fantasy, Sharp's Rifles, Patrick O'Brian, Horror mix (Cold Iron) and an Epic Fantasy, Patrick O'Brian, Serial Killer/Murder Mystery, Horror, Samurai story mashup (Blackthorne). Like I said, it's fun.
This week promises to be hectic. Dane had a minor problem with his car. On top of it, I need to help out my Mom with some things, and somehow manage to keep up with the word count while I'm at it. Here's hoping it all works out without my getting too far behind. I'm sure it'll be fine but...arggh. :) Anyway, on to more important things.
And today's comic is about the unfortunate LEGO Friends. Personally, it isn't as much about fem lego hair as it's availability in sets as well as its being featured on box fronts, advertising and so on. (I've seen the argument that 'girl hair' has always been available and thus, isn't a problem. [eye roll]) Look as long as women are treated as a separate species in toys there will be a persistent sexism problem. And now, those links.
Friday is already off to a rough start. The first story I saw on my phone this morning was about the London bombing. And well...American news feeds aren't often filled with gleeful stories these days. That makes it more difficult to be optimistic, but I'll give it a shot. Oh, hey. I have a new entry in my column over at Skiffy and Fanty. It's a review of the film IT. Overall, I liked it. Both the film and the novel some problems, and I'm still mulling those over. (I'm not sure I'll ever settle on an answer.) But the film is definitely worth seeing.
In other news, they're releasing a series of shorts related to the new Blade Runner. I have to say, the one I watched is really good. (Although, the sight of a white man breaking a black man's neck feels more than a bit icky in the current political climate.) Anyway, first, see the original, if you haven't already.
For the record, I never felt comfortable with the rapey scene between Sean Young's character and Harrison Ford's. Still, Blade Runner remains one of my favorite films. When I heard that Scott was making a sequel I groaned. I had a horrible feeling that he'd only do what was done to the Alien franchise over and over. (The is, make film after film based on scripts that miss what made the movie unique--the Feminist theme. Thus, puking out dull crap that just retells the conflict between human and alien.) I'm still worried about that. Anyway, here's the trailer for the new one.
"Every civilization was built off the back of a disposable workforce." Yeah. That makes me feel that they 'get' what they're working with. I even like what they've done with Harrison Ford. Check out the related shorts.
I love that one. It brings something new to the world and stays within its bounds at exactly the same time. Again, I'm trying not to hope too much.
That's the actor who plays Draxx in Guardians of the Galaxy. He's amazing. Anyway, I'll continue to tell myself not to hope too much. The odds aren't good. (Although, the remake of Fright Night was freaking AMAZING.) We'll see.
I don't like to post much about writing how-to's. Largely, the reason why is because writing is a creative endeavor, and creativity is a personal thing. What works for one person, doesn't for another. This is the most confusing and mysterious thing about working as a creative: the journey to being productive is a self-discovery process. There is no One-Size-Fits-All answer. Even the most basic Rules for Good Writing are pirate rules--that is, guidelines. Too many times, beginners clutch onto the rules presented to them and fail to understand when they don't work for them personally. But hey, that's the first step in becoming a writer: working out what works.
Which is a long way of saying be flexible. YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY.
Also, I'm not a fan of writing gurus and I certainly don't wish to become one. Teaching is one thing. It's a form of mentoring. That's perfecting fine.
Caveats posted, Dear Reader. Here we go.
One thing that's been bothering me a bit lately is the use of the word "people" when we specifically mean "men." However, when discussing "women" we tend to stick to that distinction and almost never use the more generic "people." Have you noticed this? I have. It's a problem, particularly when you believe women are people.
Ready for some fem-rage to rev up your morning? Okay. Let's do this thing. :) First, today's video. More Wonder Woman. Because Wonder Woman.