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A Miscellany

18 Jun

Below are a few articles or topics that have crossed my computer today. They were interesting or horrifying or irritating or maybe they were good advice. Some relate to writing, some do not. Whatever they are, I thought they were worth sharing.

1) Revelations about Marion Zimmer Bradley.

These are ugly, sickening, and — for her fans — devastating. I won’t recount them here, but there are various posts at Deirdre Saoirse Moen’s blog: begin with “Marion Simmer Bradley Gave Us New Perspectives, All Right“, its title mirroring that of an article at Tor.com, “Marion Zimmer Bradley Gave us New Perspectives“.

I was never a fan, despite folks telling me years ago that a “real fan” of fantasy and science fiction has to read Marion Zimmer Bradley, Frank Herbert, and others whose work I attempted to read — often more than once — but never could. For a long while, I felt a bit like Pinocchio: all pretend but not a real boy. Or, in my case, not a true genre fan. I read stuff then that doesn’t interest me now, writers whose stories fired my imagination, but whose writing was pedestrian at best. I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to like them.

Even now, readers and movie viewers are being told which writers they’re supposed to like and which they should hate — Orson Scott Card, for instance, whom I have yet to hate, despite the outcry.

‘Cause, see, here’s the thing: I think for myself.

2) Breakthrough by Dutch scientists working on human teleportation.

How awesome is that?! But scary, too. Who wants to be the first test dummy — uh, victim — I mean, subject?

Read about it here.

3) The de-conversion of an atheist.

My Failed Atheism: The Desire For Something Beyond a Contemptuous Nihilism” by Mark Bauerlein is a well-written article describing his sudden conversion to atheism and later the gradual journey back from the emptiness of his belief in unbelief.

At the end, he writes,

“If I haven’t apprehended him directly and overwhelmingly…, that’s the fault of my limited powers of perception, not because there is nothing there to perceive.”

4) Another attempt to make the Washington Redskins change their name.

The Federalist Papers article is here.

5) An article about writing “strong female characters”, and how simply writing about people will do the job.

As Doug Barry paraphrases in his article at Jezebel, “if you want to write strong female characters, maybe it’d be good to hang out with some women.”

6) A darkly humorous open letter from George R. R. Martin.

Since that day I have died nine more times, and every time they have brought me back. I’ve had heart attacks, strokes, and embolisms. I’ve cut my throat with my shaving razor, hung myself with my trademark suspenders, even tried to choke on my jaunty captain’s cap. They just wheel me into a cleanroom, boot me right back up, and hand me a laptop. “Keep writing.” I’m not allowed to shave anymore, and the hat and suspenders have been grafted onto my body. My trademark image is my prison.

Read the entire letter here, including the truth at the end.

Confession: Mr. Martins’s books are among those I mentioned above, books I was told I was supposed to read. I tried, many times, and even ventured beyond a chapter or two, but — for whatever reason — they never captured me as they have many in my acquaintance. That is neither good nor bad, but merely a difference in preference.

And so with that, my friends, I take my leave.

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