25 Notes

A Smugglerific Cover: Hunting Monsters by S. L. Huang
Today we unveiled the cover of Book Smugglers Publishing’s very first short story! 
Both of us were blown away upon our first read of Hunting Monsters. A story that combines elements of popular fables such as “Beauty and the Beast” and “Red Riding Hood”, S.L. Huang’s version cleverly subverts these classic fairy tales by integrating an unexpected love story, a powerful mother-daughter relationship, and a rich historical fantasy setting.
We eventually chose to publish Hunting Monsters because it’s a powerful coming of age story of a young girl grappling with the fact that her mothers have secret lives and a history of their own. Also, because it’s a story about monsters – the different faces they assume and the complications in dealing with them.
S.L. Huang wrote an incredibly beautiful, raw story that resonates powerfully with us every time we read it. We are honored to publish Hunting Monsters… and we hope you will enjoy it, too.
More about the story, pre-order links and publishing date HERE.

A Smugglerific Cover: Hunting Monsters by S. L. Huang

Today we unveiled the cover of Book Smugglers Publishing’s very first short story! 

Both of us were blown away upon our first read of Hunting Monsters. A story that combines elements of popular fables such as “Beauty and the Beast” and “Red Riding Hood”, S.L. Huang’s version cleverly subverts these classic fairy tales by integrating an unexpected love story, a powerful mother-daughter relationship, and a rich historical fantasy setting.

We eventually chose to publish Hunting Monsters because it’s a powerful coming of age story of a young girl grappling with the fact that her mothers have secret lives and a history of their own. Also, because it’s a story about monsters – the different faces they assume and the complications in dealing with them.

S.L. Huang wrote an incredibly beautiful, raw story that resonates powerfully with us every time we read it. We are honored to publish Hunting Monsters… and we hope you will enjoy it, too.

More about the story, pre-order links and publishing date HERE.

6 Notes

Book Smugglers Publishing: Upcoming Short Stories

BOOK SMUGGLERS PUBLISHING

PROUDLY PRESENTS

Six Short Stories for the Discerning Reader

Book Smugglers Publishing (BSP jpg)

Once upon a time, two book smugglers had a dream. They dreamed that they’d use all the knowledge and experience they’ve accumulated with 7 years of book-reviewing and blog-editing for the forces of good and decided to take on the mantle of publishers.

To achieve this dream, the duo opened short story submissions earlier in 2014, with the goal of finding 3 amazing stories written by wonderful authors. They hoped to find three stories that would be not only entertaining, but would also uphold the tenets they value as book smugglers: tales of subversion from unique, feminist, and diverse voices and perspectives.

The duo read hundreds of submissions over the course of a few months, and they agonized over the stories they had received because so many of them were incredibly good.

Ultimately, because they could not just pick three stories, the smugglers settled on a final six fairy tales to be published in 2014.

The Book Smugglers are now ready to reveal to the world these stories: six fairytale retellings from all over the world, written by a talented group of authors and illustrated by three specially commissioned artists.

Behold! The debut Fall 2014 lineup from Book Smugglers Publishing!

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Hunting Monsters
Written by S.L. Huang
Cover art by Kristina Tsenova
Available 10/7/14

“Happy birthday, child. Careful not to shoot any grundwirgen.”

Ever since she was a small girl, she has learned to be careful on the hunt, to recognize the signs that separate regular animals from human-cursed grundwirgen. To harm a grundwirgen is a crime punishable by death by the King’s decree – a fatal mistake that her Auntie Rosa and mother have carefully prepared her to avoid.

On her fifteenth birthday, when her mother is arrested and made to stand trial for grundwirgen murder, everything she thought she knew about her family and her past comes crashing down.

Auntie Rosa has always warned her about monsters. Now, she must find and confront them to save her mother, no matter the cost.

A subversive retelling of: Beauty and the Beast, Red Riding Hood.

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In Her Head, In Her Eyes
Written by Yukimi Ogawa
Cover art by Jacqueline Pytyck
Available 10/21/14

Trills of silver, quiver of gold.

Pot Head, they called her. Heavy-head, they teased her. In a noble house of dye masters, Island-born Hase is an outcast, ridiculed by her fellow servants and employers – all because of the smooth, reflective sphere that covers her head. Little does the household know that Hase has a mission and a purpose, carried behind her pot-covered head, in her impenetrable eyes.

A subversive retelling of: Hachikaduki

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Mrs. Yaga
Written by Michal Wojcik
Cover art by Jacqueline Pytyck
Available 11/04/14

A retelling that features Baba Yaga, a prominent figure in Slavic culture.

Full description to come.

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The Mussel Eater
Written by Octavia Cade
Cover art by Kristina Tsenova
Available 11/18/14

A story based on the Maori story of Pania of the Reef.

Full description to come.

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The Astronomer Who Met The North Wind
Written by Kate Hall
Cover art by Sally Jane Thompson
Available 12/02/14

A retelling of “The Princess Who Met the North Wind” written by Wendy Eyton.

Full description to come.

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The Ninety-Ninth Bride
Written by Catherine Faris King
Cover art by Jacqueline Pytyck
Available 12/16/14

A retelling of the framing story of the Arabian Nights.

Full description to come.

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All stories will be published for free in their entirety on The Book Smugglers and be made available as ebooks for sale via several online retailers and directly from The Book Smugglers. Each ebook will contain the full story and a Q&A, as well as an essay from the author on writing the retelling, elaborating on the themes explored in their tale.

Tomorrow, September 30, we will be revealing the beautiful cover for Hunting Monsters. See you then!

1687 Notes

On Poisoned Apples, the “Great YA Debate,” and the Death of the Patriarchy

anneursu:

My friend Christine Heppermann’s book POISONED APPLES: POEMS FOR YOU MY PRETTY released this week. This collection is an unabashedly feminist look at girls, body image, and eating disorders told through the lens of fairy tales, designed for young adults. 

The book is arriving at an interesting cultural moment; when the already ridiculous should-adults-read-YA conversation, has taken a bizarre turn. Did you know the patriarchy was dead? It must be true, as I learned that by reading it in an essay printed in the newsletter of the patriarchy.

For New York Times columnist A.O. Scott, the patriarchy’s demise is not even significant in and of itself; no, it symbolizes a greater issue: “The Death of Adulthood in American Culture.” Now, the equation of the death of the patriarchy and the death of adulthood is a problematic one at best, and if you’re expecting Scott to address the troubling implication here or at the very least explain himself, well, he won’t. Because apparently the fact that patriarchy=adulthood, too, is something we can all agree on.

Part of the essay takes on YA, of course, because apparently we have to do this again. Scott pats the head of everyone who gets offended when people put them down for reading YA, saying that of course they bristle; people don’t like it when someone else attacks, in his words, “the juvenile pleasures of empowered cultural consumers.” Scott also spends a lot of time talking about women in the arts, ascribing to them some kind of plucky-but-aimless adolescent rebellion:

 Why should boys be the only ones with the right to revolt? Not that the new girls are exactly Thelma and Louise. Just as the men passed through the stage of sincere rebellion to arrive at a stage of infantile refusal, so, too, have the women progressed by means of regression.

He later asserts that the predecessors of the “modern man-boy” had “something to fight for:”

…A moral or political impulse underlying their postures of revolt. The founding brothers in Philadelphia cut loose a king; Huck Finn exposed the dehumanizing lies of America slavery; Lenny Bruce battled censorship. When Marlon Brando’s Wild One was asked what he was rebelling against, his thrilling, nihilistic response was “Whaddaya got?” The modern equivalent would be “…”

Author Laura Ruby, in her response to this essay, says it well: "The implication that our art, our characters, our stories, represent nothing but a certain adolescent pleasure in bucking the system, that only white men can be truly serious in their subversion, is as laughable as it is enraging. "

Yes. Scott’s assertion is remarkable in so many ways, but I suppose if you’re going to argue that the patriarchy is dead then obviously women can’t be making conscious political actions, because whatever is there to fight about? Women, by nature, cannot be intentional in their art. It’s almost like he’s infantilizing them

Pulling up his own big leather armchair in Club Patriarchy is Christopher Beha, who wants us to know what he thinks of this whole conversation. In his New Yorker essay, “Henry James and the Great YA Debate,” Beha muses on what makes a book YA. “It does seem,” he writes, “that many books have the YA label slapped on them purely because of their subject matter. (After all, there is little cost to a publisher for labeling something YA if the label doesn’t put off adult readers.)”

This is a rather adorable conception of how publishing works, but, okay. He continues:

On the other hand, the label is sometimes wielded to make a real literary distinction. It is obviously possible to give a subject a treatment that is more appropriate for a young audience. For the most part, this involves simplifying things—first the diction and syntax, but finally the whole picture of life. There is nothing dishonorable about this simplification—it is a way to make material accessible to children.

Wow, thank you! Gosh, I’m so flattered! I don’t think your simplifications are dishonorable either.

Beha is speaking with a lot of confidence for someone doesn’t seem to have any exposure to YA, but part of having an endowed chair in Patriarchy HQ is no one asks you to question your assumptions much. Though apparently it’s perfectly fine to call yourself a completist and yet make blanket statements about a field for which you’re vaguely familiar with three books.

But the real problem in this essay is Beha’s assumptions about the creation of these books—and here he uses Henry James to show where YA books fail. According to him, James makes for great reading because, “…there is always a governing intelligence at work behind the page. I missed this intelligence when I read novels by other writers, which so often gave me the enervating sense that things were happening for no reason except that it had occurred to the author to make them happen.”

To which I might suggest he read more children’s books, because our readers don’t have any patience for that masturbatory crap. But I digress. Beha continues:

What is being lost here [in the “Great YA Debate”] is a distinction that James himself insisted upon, between the artist’s subject matter and his treatment of that matter. In “The Art of Fiction, he noted, “Of course it is of execution that we are talking, that being the only point of a novel that is open to contention… it is in the execution that the fatal weakness is recorded. ”

So, Beha posits, the problem with YA novels is in execution and in a lack of governing intelligence, and that’s why it’s “strange” that adults read kids books. YA books are necessarily simpler, and therefore cannot possibly contain the same aesthetic or intellectual pleasures as reading literary adult books.

Here, he is tacitly agreeing with Scott; YA writers write without vision or intent—and Beha adds artistry on for good measure. We must—we’re infantile.

So, what makes a work adult, then? Beha gives us a pretty good clue:  “If we really are,” he writes, “living through the decline of the cultural authority of the straight white male, that seems like a rich and appropriate subject for a sophisticated work of narrative art.”

Ah, here we are. Appropriate subjects for sophisticated narrative art. A serious novel is about things these gentlemen find serious—like the decline of the cultural authority of the straight white male. It astonishes me how endlessly fascinating some men find themselves.

Both writers cite Leslie Fielder’s Love and Death in the American Novel, a work of literary criticism from 1960 that is in Beha’s words, “a long engagement with the fundamental childishness of American fiction. Fiedler saw Twain’s Huck Finn, Melville’s Ishmael, and countless other canonical American literary characters as boys who refused to be civilized, who preferred a perpetual, homosocial boyhood to the responsibilities of adulthood—in particular the responsibilities of mature heterosexual relationships.”

It’s funny (haha/hmmm) that they are basing their ideas on a book published in 1960, before post-structuralist/ postmodern/ feminist/ postcolonial critique, before people started getting all weirdly rebellious about this patriarchy thing. But, really, it was a simpler time back then, at least for some people.

(For further analysis, please see Sarah McCarry at The Rejectionist.)

According to Fielder classic American fiction is, in essence, not about adults either. Or, as Scott says, “…notwithstanding a few outliers like Henry James and Edith Wharton, we have a literature of boys’ adventures and female sentimentality. Or, to put it another way, all American fiction is young-adult fiction.”

And there it is. ”Boys adventures and female sentimentality” defines YA fiction. Because even though this book was written in 1960, we still use the phrase “female sentimentality” like it’s perfectly appropriate.

But apparently when describing YA fiction, it is.

Because this is the insidious undercurrent of all this head-shaking. YA literature, after all, is thought by anyone with a three-book-deep knowledge of the field to be the province of female authors and the silly teenage girls they write for. The books are simple, with simple world views, and they definitely do not address “appropriate subjects for sophisticated pieces of narrative art.” Because how could literature written for and about teenage girls be sophisticated pieces of narrative art?

If there’s one thing our culture tells us, again and again, there is no one sillier or less significant than a teenage girl.

We know the drill. Boys don’t read. Girls read. Boys certainly don’t read YA, because it’s all women writers writing about girls, and we absolutely cannot ask of boys that they read about girls, and we’re going to keep telling boys that they don’t do that in case they accidentally do.

 A piece ran in the London Times this year with the headline: “Are Boys Not Reading Because of All Those Women in Publishing?” The article, only half-available in its original form, but recapped here, is an extensive interview with children’s author Jonathan Emmett who asserts: “But there is a literacy gap – boys are underachieving, boys do not like books as much as girls. I am arguing that this is because the industry is dominated by female gatekeepers.”

And women, apparently, ruin everything.

Julia Donaldson, another children’s author agrees: “Emmett probably has got a point,” she says. “He wrote a book where there was some bad character who bashed up people, but a gentle female editor thought we couldn’t even show someone bad doing bad things or doing destructive things.”

Gentle female editors? She sounds like she’s arguing that women shouldn’t have the vote. 

As for girls, according to an unnamed editor in a breathtakingly sexist 2011 New York Times essay by YA writer Robert Lipsyte, they want “to read about mean girls, gossip girls, frenemies, and vampires.” Lipsyte juxtaposes this assertion with a quote from a male librarian that says that boys want to read books that invite them “to reflect upon the kind of man they want to become.”

Unlike girls, see, boys want serious, important stuff.

 As for the authors (the ones who aren’t him), Lipsyte says:

The current surge in children’s literature has been fueled by talented young female novelists fresh from MFA programs who in earlier times would have been writing midlist adult fiction. Their novels are bought by female editors, stocked by female librarians and taught by female teachers.

Can we just stop and unpack this one for a second? Why are these women destined to be mid list? Is it their female sentimentality? Is it their inherent lack of artistry? Is it just that women can’t write important books? 

So, anyway, girls read YA and write YA, and no one is doing the serious work of taking care of boys. Everyone knows this. Never mind that eight out of ten current NYT YA bestsellers are male authors, or that the last four Printz winners have been men and the last five have had male protagonists. That’s irrelevant when truthiness in on the line.

It’s remarkable how both of these articles end with the authors talking about their own work, which is exactly what boys like, and their own struggles with publication as proof of their theses— that this oppressively matriarchal system is to blame for not just ruining boys in general, but keeping them from having the success they deserve. What does that sound like to you?

Now, all of these arguments are equally offensive to boys, but no one making them seems to realize it—it might interfere with their own self-promotion. And to the outside world none of it matters—YA is written by women, for girls. And with its sparkly vampires and “female sentimentality” it can’t matter because it’s not doing the important, serious work of telling male stories.

I heard a teacher joke that forcing boys to read Pride and Prejudice in high school was turning them off from books for life. And, haha, hilarious. It’s an important work and gives students plenty to analyze. But we just can’t expect boys to appreciate the merits of the book, to engage with it, to grow as readers, because, girl book. We cannot ask boys to think outside themselves. They won’t do it, say these particular men who refuse to think outside themselves.

The girls, though, everybody believes the girls should read Huck Finn and Heart of Darkness and Lord of the Flies and The Old Man and the Sea, because those books are Literature. They are Serious and Canonical, and a book becomes Canonical simply by objective worth, certainly not by a system of biases that keeps self-perpetuating like an undead Ouroboros. And the girls, they’re all right. They’re reading. We don’t have to worry about them.

Except the girls aren’t all right. Not at all.

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Assorted Disorders, 91% of women surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight by dieting, 22% dieted “often” or “always,” and 25% of college-aged women binge and purge as a way of controlling diet. 1% of female adolescents are anorexic, and 20% of anorexics die from complications of their eating disorder. Hospitals are now reporting cases of anorexia in girls younger than ten.

Girls are told in ways large and small, that they are silly, that they do not matter, that their job is to become invisible. And so they become invisible.

The way women get treated in the media, on the internet, casually, is, among many other things, a serious failure of empathy in our society. Women who speak out, who dare to exist and have opinions, get rape and death threats, get slut-shamed, get pictures of their bodies leaked on the internet. The failure of empathy gets repeated, again and again, by organizations and institutions that see rape threats (or actual rape) as a cost of doing business and nothing worth acting upon. 

You don’t matter, these institutions say.

And girls hear the message, again and again.

The girls are not all right. They wage wars on their own bodies, and should they dare to speak out about something, people will wage war against them. 

Books for girls matter. Books for kids, teenagers matter. And that’s why we write them.

That’s why we tend to bristle when people come in to eruditely piss in our sandbox. It never occurs to people like Scott and Beha that we might be choosing to write for young readers for reasons other than money or our own mediocre skills. (Or as some kind of female hobby, like pianoforte and needlepoint.) But, see, to those of us who write for children and young adults, men and women, this isn’t a market. These are people. We are writing for someone. And they deserve the best we can give them of ourselves.

We write for young readers because we care deeply about our readers. We work hard because we give a damn. We pick our words and sentences and forms to serve our stories in the best way we can—not to talk down to readers, but to talk up to them.

Me, I find the idea of writing for someone to be much more adult than wistfully sighing about how much more grown-up you are than everyone else. Though I suppose this idea of taking care of children is, to the glass clinkers in that particular corner of Patriarchy HQ, women’s work. Separate spheres and all. And, so not really that adult, if you know what I mean.

 Scott and Beha are advocating a certain literary solipsism as “adult,” while proudly demonstrating an incuriosity about an entire field of books. I don’t believe I could give them or their very grown-up friends a single children’s or YA book that would change their minds about the field, but I also don’t think that has anything to do with the books. And I can’t help but think that people who can’t find a single YA or children’s book worth their time also have serious issues with empathy.

Isn’t this really the marker of adulthood? Learning to look beyond yourself to others? Isn’t a marker of intelligence a hunger to see the world outside your own experience? Isn’t that maybe why so many people outside of traditional power structures are draw to this lit in the first place? Everyone who insults reading these books is not just denigrating the quality of the books themselves, but of the very act of using your time to give a crap about kids and the things they give a crap about.

And here, from inside the HQ, C.S. Lewis turns around in his swivel chair, clinks his glass, and tells everyone in that particular corner that they are full of crap:

Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. … But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.

                                 -“On Three Ways of Writing for Children”

We do not fear childishness, and so we write for children. We write with intention. We write with awareness. We write with artistry. And sometimes we write about girls. And in this culture, as the essays above prove, writing about girls is a political act.

I wish every single teen and adult in this country would read Brandy Colbert’s Pointe and Meg Medina’s Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass. Both books do an exquisite job of letting the reader live in the bodies of girls who are getting told again and again how worthless they are, and both meticulously demonstrate how girls might come to feel that way. They do the work of art. Pointe shows how girls are taught to internalize shame over abuse, Yaqui Delgado unflinchingly demonstrates how bullying can destroy a girl’s sense of self. I suppose some people might call this “female sentimentality;” I call it giving a damn.

Now that the patriarchy is dead, Poisoned Apples might seem out of date to someone, since, you know, there’s no beauty myth anymore, no sexual shaming, no more eating disorders. It might seem small to someone of Scott and Beha’s, as its concern is teenage girls, and infantile, because it uses fairy tales. Personally, I think it’s one of the most adult works of art I’ve ever seen.

 Like her peers, Christine Heppermann has decided that the best way to be a grown-up is to help those who are just about to become grown-ups—to give them emotional vocabulary for so many unnamable things. (And, with fairy tales, she allows them the ability to live in metaphor.) It’s challenging to write narratives of eating disorders in a way that isn’t seductive to a disordered mind, but by using the language of fairy tales Heppermann can engage with the compulsions while at the same time laying bare their brutality.

 From Poisoned Apples, reprinted with permission from the author:

Blow Your House In

She used to be a house of bricks,
point guard on the JV team, walling out
defenders who could only huff and puff
and watch the layups roll in.

She traded for a house of sticks,
kindling in Converse high-tops and a red Adidas tent.
At lunch she swirled a teeny spoon in yogurt
that never touched her lips and said
she’d decided to quit chasing a stupid ball.

Now she’s building herself out of straw
as light as the needle swimming in her bathroom scale.
The smaller the number, the closer to gold,
the tighter her face, afire with the zeal of a wolf
who has one house left to destroy.

 Girls matter. Books like Pointe, Yaqui Delgado, Poisoned Apples tell the young female reader: I see you, I see what’s happening to you, I see how you feel, but it does not have to be this way. Let me show you.

I would buy every middle and high school library and classroom a copy of this book if I could. It deserves to be read, studied, discussed. By girls, yes—given them a space to converse about the issues this brings up freely. But boys too.

Just as we can tell girls that they are worth poetry, we can tell boys that they are worth our faith in their empathy. We can give them credit for the ability to step outside themselves and their own concerns. We can show them not just that we expect them to care about issues other than their own, but that we believe they’ll want to. They are worth that.

It matters, that boys read about girls, that they engage closely with books that speak to what it is to be a girl today. It matters that they understand how it feels to be catcalled, to be touched in a way you don’t want to be touched. And that they understand how it feels to wake up every morning desperate to be skinnier, having that desire consume you like fire. How it feels to get by on 1000 calories a day, 500, 100. How it feels to schedule your whole day around exercise, or around eating meals and then throwing them up. It matters that they engage deeply with the forces in society that might cause a girl to feel this way. This is a human issue.

It matters, greatly, that we all engage with literature that treats girls like people, so perhaps we can we actually can celebrate some small crumbling of the patriarchy some day, so more boys are equipped to take on the rampant misogyny in the world, so that everyone understand a feminist critique of, say, video games, isn’t designed to threaten anybody, but to better us all.

It matters greatly that YA literature exists, that books like Poisoned Apples exist, that girls and boys and even some enlightened grown-ups read them.  

 Then, maybe, we can all be better adults.

Standing ovation

10 Notes

A Diverse Mythical Creatures Round Table

Part 2 of our diverse mythical creatures round table is up!

Featuring Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Shveta Thakrar, Octavia Cade, Marie Brennan, Whiti Hereaka, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, E.C. Myers, Aliette de Bodard, Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Bogi Takács and Joyce Chng,  the prompt - as proposed by Shveta Thakrar was:

I’ve always loved faeries, always, always, but ever since I looked around one day in my early twenties and realized that was pretty much all I knew about, I’ve been hunting stories using folklore and mythical creatures from around the world. Until then, it never occurred to me to wonder why I didn’t see the nagas and apsaras from my own South Asian heritage in any media outside Amar Chitra Katha, the comics I’d read as a kid. At best, they might show up in the cloth painting or statuary a Hindu household tended to have, but beyond that, they might as well not exist. And once I realized that, I got angry–and started writing my own tales and thinking about what else I could do?

So when I saw Strange Horizons posted a column on types of fey beings, I mentioned on Twitter that I would love to see a global version that would introduce people to creatures they might not have heard of. Ana of the Book Smugglers saw my tweet and approached me about hosting a round table on her website. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity!

I still love faeries, but now I want more. I want to see the mythical beings that exist outside Celtic and British lore, too, and want to see them star in stories that everyone knows, no matter where they grew up. I want it to be common knowledge that J. K. Rowling did not invent naginis, and I want our fantasy novels and movies to encompass the true richness of global lore and myth. (When I say myth, it’s referring to the original meaning of “sacred story” as opposed to “lie.”) Highlighting one branch of folklore at the expense of most of the rest is othering and dismissive, but even more than that, it’s cheating ourselves of the rest of the beauty and wisdom out there. Folklore, whether or not you believe in its creatures, exists to show us other ways to be and to remind us to stay open to wonder and magic. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I am starving for all the flavors of magic I can find, so as far as I’m concerned, bring on the world treasure trove of stories!

437 Notes

sarahreesbrennan:

diversityinya:

This week’s diverse new releases are:

Dreaming in Indian edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale (Annick Press)

Book Description: A powerful and visually stunning anthology from some of the most groundbreaking Native artists working in North America today.

Truly universal in its themes, Dreaming In Indian will shatter commonly held stereotypes and challenge readers to rethink their own place in the world. Divided into four sections, ‘Roots,’ ‘Battles,’ ‘Medicines,’ and ‘Dreamcatchers,’ this book offers readers a unique insight into a community often misunderstood and misrepresented by the mainstream media.

Adrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle Crompton (Farrar Straus & Giroux)

Book Description: Seventeen-year-old Dyna comes from a long line of risk-takers and is an avid thrill-seeker in her own right, until she takes a terrible fall and shatters her leg. Her life used to be about bike racing and rock climbing; now it’s about staying home, except for attending physical and group therapy sessions at the bizarre alternative healing center her mom has chosen. Dyna’s boyfriend saw her accident and supports her newfound desire for safety, but a young Iraq war veteran she meets at rehab challenges her to think about what she’s really avoiding in her old life and to take chances again—even with her heart.

Silvern by Christina Farley (Skyscape)

Book Description: Jae Hwa Lee is ready to forget about immortals and move on with her life. Until the god of darkness, Kud, sends an assassin to kill her. She escapes with the knowledge that Kud is seeking the lost White Tiger Orb, and joins the Guardians of Shinshi to seek out the orb before Kud can find it. But Kud is a stronger and more devious god than Jae ever imagined. Jae is soon painfully reminded that by making an enemy of Kud, she has placed her closest friends in danger, and must decide how much she can bear to sacrifice to defeat one of the most powerful immortals in all of Korea.

Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper (Little, Brown)

Book Description: Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants only to take her rightful place as the witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keep the island’s whalers safe at sea, but her mother has forced her into a magic-free world of proper manners and respectability. When Avery dreams she’s to be murdered, she knows time is running out to unlock her magic and save herself.

Avery finds an unexpected ally in a tattooed harpoon boy named Tane—a sailor with magic of his own, who moves Avery in ways she never expected. Becoming a witch might stop her murder and save her island from ruin, but Avery discovers her magic requires a sacrifice she never prepared for.

Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin (Egmont USA)

“Lippert-Martin’s debut finds life in the oft-seen trope of lost memory—and even a somewhat plausible mechanism for bringing about the amnesia. Plausibility isn’t always the name of the game (the government rarely uses world-class architects for medical torture labs), but this is a very entertaining game for thriller fans. Sarah Ramos, 16, is undergoing focused memory-elimination treatments when her surgery is interrupted by a power outage, followed by an invasion of explosives-wielding commandos who are looking for her.” — Publishers Weekly

On a Clear Day by Walter Dean Myers (Crown Books for Young Readers)

“Myers issues a rebellious call to action that chronicles how seven diverse teenagers respond to injustice in a globalized not-so-distant future. In 2035, giant multinationals control the world’s major resources, engineering positive economic growth by exploiting worldwide social inequity. Change-embracing Dominican computer whiz and Bronx native Dahlia Grillo, the narrator, is one of seven teens who resist. … Readers are left to question what actions are possible, what actions are needed and what actions are right in a world where inaction is an impossibility.A clarion call from a beloved, much-missed master.” — Kirkus, starred review

Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy Book 3) by Sarah Rees Brennan (Random House Books for Young Readers)

Book Description: Kami has lost the boy she loves, is tied to a boy she does not, and faces an enemy more powerful than ever before. With Jared missing for months and presumed dead, Kami must rely on her new magical link with Ash for the strength to face the evil spreading through her town.

Rob Lynburn is now the master of Sorry-in-the-Vale, and he demands a death. Kami will use every tool at her disposal to stop him. Together with Rusty, Angela, and Holly, she uncovers a secret that might be the key to saving the town. But with knowledge comes responsibility—and a painful choice. A choice that will risk not only Kami’s life, but also the lives of those she loves most.

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (Simon Pulse)

“Eighteen-year-old Darcy drops her college plans and moves to New York to revise her soon-to-bepublished novel and start the second one. Meanwhile, in chapters that alternate with Darcy’s NYC adventures, her fictional protagonist, Lizzie, survives a near-death experience to find she has become a psychopomp, responsible for guiding souls to the afterlife. Westerfeld masterfully creates two divergent reading experiences (YA romance and fantasy horror) with two distinct yet believable voices. … this is a busy book, with content drawn from Gujarati culture and Indian religion—this book includes romantic entanglements, a charming lesbian love story, terrorism and justice, and insider references to the YA publishing and literature scene.” — Booklist, starred review

Walter Dean Myers is a genius!

I am on a list with him!

Diversity in YA is so great.

(Also, sci-fi amnesia book, I love a genre convention in another genre, sign me up Tabula Rasa!)

I will preface this by saying that Diversity in YA IS so great and the drive for diversity is so fucking important and close to my heart. It NEEDS to be celebrated and cultivated.

But please, please can we be more respectful, vigilant and thoughtful when we write about it? 

One of the books listed above is Salt and Storm. In it, the “diversity” comes from a character named Tane who is a “Polynesian” character in what is effectively an awful, othering mishmash of different cultures and backgrounds. In the notes, the author elaborates on how Tane speaks the Māori language, has Samoan and Yantra-like tattoos that are magical and oh-so foreign and a tragic past that is inspired by the Moriori people. As though these different peoples and cultures are interchangeable and there to be cherry picked in the name of diversity. Worst even is how Tane, the only PoC in the story, dies in the end sacrificing himself so that the white-girl witch can live on. There is not enough head-desking to convey my frustration at all of this. 

31 Notes

heyheyrenay:

Strange Horizons is looking for a Media Reviews Editor!
Hello, friends! Strange Horizons, the online magazine where I write my fan perspective column, is looking for a volunteer Media Reviews Editor to help build a reviews section for film, television, games, and other media with speculative flavor. My time at Strange Horizons has been excellent and I’m really excited they’re branching out into reviews of stories that live primarily outside books. The job description:

Strange Horizons is looking for a Media Reviews Editor! The Media Reviews Editor will be responsible for commissioning and editing approximately four reviews per month, in consultation with the rest of the reviews team; we anticipate that this will involve a time commitment of approximately three hours per week.We want to hear from applicants who are enthusiastic about showcasing diverse perspectives on a varied range of film, TV, games, and other media. Previous editorial or publishing experience is a plus, but not required. However, applicants should:
Have a good eye for detail when reading
Be familiar with the style and goals of the types of review Strange Horizons publishes
Have regular internet and email access
Be familiar with basic HTML

This is a great opportunity to hone your editorial skills in a super supportive environment of science fiction and fantasy fans. Strange Horizons is an awesome magazine, dedicated to featuring writing by a wide array of fans and professionals.
See the Positions available at Strange Horizons page for more information, and if this looks like something you might enjoy doing, please apply (the deadline is Friday 26 September)! Even if you don’t think you have the editorial experience necessary, remember that in fandom, our main pastime is curating great media content that we love. Go for it! \o/

heyheyrenay:

Strange Horizons is looking for a Media Reviews Editor!

Hello, friends! Strange Horizons, the online magazine where I write my fan perspective column, is looking for a volunteer Media Reviews Editor to help build a reviews section for film, television, games, and other media with speculative flavor. My time at Strange Horizons has been excellent and I’m really excited they’re branching out into reviews of stories that live primarily outside books. The job description:

Strange Horizons is looking for a Media Reviews Editor! The Media Reviews Editor will be responsible for commissioning and editing approximately four reviews per month, in consultation with the rest of the reviews team; we anticipate that this will involve a time commitment of approximately three hours per week.

We want to hear from applicants who are enthusiastic about showcasing diverse perspectives on a varied range of film, TV, games, and other media. Previous editorial or publishing experience is a plus, but not required. However, applicants should:

  • Have a good eye for detail when reading
  • Be familiar with the style and goals of the types of review Strange Horizons publishes
  • Have regular internet and email access
  • Be familiar with basic HTML

This is a great opportunity to hone your editorial skills in a super supportive environment of science fiction and fantasy fans. Strange Horizons is an awesome magazine, dedicated to featuring writing by a wide array of fans and professionals.

See the Positions available at Strange Horizons page for more information, and if this looks like something you might enjoy doing, please apply (the deadline is Friday 26 September)! Even if you don’t think you have the editorial experience necessary, remember that in fandom, our main pastime is curating great media content that we love. Go for it! \o/

14 Notes

SFF IN CONVERSATION: A Diverse Mythical Creatures Round Table – Part 1

We are hosting a round table with Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Shveta Thakrar, Octavia Cade, Marie Brennan, Whiti Hereaka, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, E.C. Myers, Aliette de Bodard, Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Bogi Takács and Joyce Chng, building up from this prompt from Shveta Thakrar:

I’ve always loved faeries, always, always, but ever since I looked around one day in my early twenties and realized that was pretty much all I knew about, I’ve been hunting stories using folklore and mythical creatures from around the world. Until then, it never occurred to me to wonder why I didn’t see the nagas and apsaras from my own South Asian heritage in any media outside Amar Chitra Katha, the comics I’d read as a kid. At best, they might show up in the cloth painting or statuary a Hindu household tended to have, but beyond that, they might as well not exist. And once I realized that, I got angry–and started writing my own tales and thinking about what else I could do?

So when I saw Strange Horizons posted a column on types of fey beings, I mentioned on Twitter that I would love to see a global version that would introduce people to creatures they might not have heard of. Ana of the Book Smugglers saw my tweet and approached me about hosting a round table on her website. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity!

I still love faeries, but now I want more. I want to see the mythical beings that exist outside Celtic and British lore, too, and want to see them star in stories that everyone knows, no matter where they grew up. I want it to be common knowledge that J. K. Rowling did not invent naginis, and I want our fantasy novels and movies to encompass the true richness of global lore and myth. (When I say myth, it’s referring to the original meaning of “sacred story” as opposed to “lie.”) Highlighting one branch of folklore at the expense of most of the rest is othering and dismissive, but even more than that, it’s cheating ourselves of the rest of the beauty and wisdom out there. Folklore, whether or not you believe in its creatures, exists to show us other ways to be and to remind us to stay open to wonder and magic. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I am starving for all the flavors of magic I can find, so as far as I’m concerned, bring on the world treasure trove of stories!

Part 1 with Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Shveta Thakrar, Octavia Cade, Marie Brennan, Whiti Hereaka, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz is here

244179 Notes

scampbelljar:

we-arethewildthings:

Thank you so much, John Oliver.

fucking YES.

42574 Notes

Best

14 Notes

A few months ago we announced our exciting new venture: Book Smugglers Publishing. BSP (for the initiated) will be publishing original short stories from all around the world. Our original goal was to publish at least three short stories every year, unified by a central theme, but given the incredible response we received and the high quality of the stories that were submitted, we could not limit ourselves to just three stories. We are thrilled to announce that in 2014 we will be publishing six amazing stories, every two weeks beginning on October 7.
Our goal with BSP was to find, curate, and publish stories that are not only entertaining, but that uphold all the tenets we value as Book Smugglers: we want stories that are subversive, feminist, and from diverse voices that reflect the world we live in.
We believe that the first six stories we picked meet this criteria, and we cannot wait to share them all with you. We will be announcing the line-up of authors and stories as well as revealing the first amazing (OMG so amazing) cover very soon.
For now, though, how about we reveal our official logo, designed by the fabulous Jacqueline Pytyck?
S is for Smugglers: Awesome Stories for the Discerning Reader

A few months ago we announced our exciting new venture: Book Smugglers Publishing. BSP (for the initiated) will be publishing original short stories from all around the world. Our original goal was to publish at least three short stories every year, unified by a central theme, but given the incredible response we received and the high quality of the stories that were submitted, we could not limit ourselves to just three stories. We are thrilled to announce that in 2014 we will be publishing six amazing stories, every two weeks beginning on October 7.

Our goal with BSP was to find, curate, and publish stories that are not only entertaining, but that uphold all the tenets we value as Book Smugglers: we want stories that are subversive, feminist, and from diverse voices that reflect the world we live in.

We believe that the first six stories we picked meet this criteria, and we cannot wait to share them all with you. We will be announcing the line-up of authors and stories as well as revealing the first amazing (OMG so amazing) cover very soon.

For now, though, how about we reveal our official logo, designed by the fabulous Jacqueline Pytyck?

S is for Smugglers: Awesome Stories for the Discerning Reader