Forty Mornings at the Pen

As a challenge to myself, I have written a sonnet every day for forty-one days and posted them. The sonnets themselves are written in the morning, first thing, when I am still drinking coffee and convincing an excited dog that it is not time to go for a walk, yet. I sit down and open the web platform and construct a sonnet. I read over it, and try to make it the best I can in that moment. I post the sonnet. Every day, then, for over forty days.

The term forty days and forty nights really doesn’t refer to a specific number of days and nights. It just means a really long time. It’s always an original sonnet. I often, during the day, and especially at night, try to figure out what I might write about in the morning. It often reflects the day I had. I work from the house, and garden and clean and cook and keep animals alive. I observe things about the world, and the creatures that share it. I have my prides and prejudices about the world around me that are quick to emerge over the course of the days of sonnets. Initially intended as a sort of spiritual exercise, I discovered most of my personal spirituality happens in the garden, a little in the chores. The interior world of the soul is a reflection of the perceived reality of the world around us. I think, perhaps, that environmental factors are an under-appreciated aspect of the spiritual life in popular Western culture, and that the little daily chores accumulate a focus and energy that can be imbued with the spirit through the sacraments of the quotidian. I also find myself writing often about my attempts to understand my own relationship with nature, and nature’s relationship with me.

There are words that keep appearing, too, and I did not realize how much they were a part of my interior vocabulary. The words we use everyday do not often carry with them the notion that they are capable of cosmic ideas, for these words are, for us who use them, the tools we use to do everything and anything quotidian. Yet, it is these tools that feel so mundane by which we are most capable of approaching what we truly mean when we speak of things that are conceptual. The words that form the bedrock of my soul are not deep or grand. They roll off my tongue with a simplicity and familiarity of so much use that the words have become invisible, so much a bedrock that I can’t even see how much of me is built upon them. Over the course of days, expressing ideas as best I can with the tools that I have, the chaff and bluster is quickly stripped away. It is a grueling thing to attempt a sonnet every day. It is only a few days in that it feels like folly. I don’t believe that what I wrote is amazing, but I feel that it was as true as I could make it. I don’t believe that any of it will last or ring down the halls of time. I do believe that it is a course in personal language, a window into where my imagination stands, and where the guts of my brain are moving.

Write a sonnet every day. Forty days and forty nights, which is another way of saying a really long time, until the sonnets start to hurt. Write a sonnet every day until the task feels too big, and the whimsy and joy has been stripped back and it’s a chore, a hard, breaking task. Write a sonnet every day until the mind is stripped away of all the pride and prejudice of penmanship and self-perception is broken into bits. Write a sonnet every day and see who you are, right now, in this late summer heat.

Forty-one sonnets, and probably more. I will write until I’ve broken myself and broken myself again.

http://jmmcdermott.blogspot.com/2016/06/sonnet-1.html

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Only Ones by Carola Dibbel – a review

I struggle with where to begin with talking about The Only Ones by Carola Dibbel. It isn’t so much because I don’t know what to say, but because there is so much to talk about. The future is marred by terrible pandemic flus. The narrator is a distinctive voice and force of nature. The relationship between mother and child  – or mother and clone – is excellently drawn. What else is there to say?

A kind of innocence wraps around Inez — or I., as she is called. At the beginning of the novel, she has already been through everything that catastrophes can bring to a life. She was orphaned by plagues, raised in a basement apartment by a woman who eventually dies in a fire. Inez has been selling genetic material and eggs – teeth, blood, anything – to make a living. She has a third grade education, since plagues shut down the schools. She has survived. Her single greatest trait is that she seems to be immune from all the diseases of the world. And, along with this, her greatest trait to readers is that she remains an innocent, hopeful, interested in the future, and always trying her best. She never gives up, or loses hope, or surrenders to any darkness. It is as if the very genetic hardiness that made her immune to the plagues wrapped around her soul, too, to make her immune to all hardships.

She works with rogue geneticists in New Jersey to harvest and clone her genetic material. They sell it on the black market. The first time they do it, in an elaborate cloning operation that no one is completely sure will work, their customer is upset that the clones will have no piece of her genetic material or mitochondria or anything. It will just be a clone of Inez. For a while, she seems to get over this, though, knowing that these daughters will not die in the plagues – cannot die. Her genetics make her immune to viruses and bacteria. Then, the unthinkable happens: The customer backs out at the last minute, when one of the children is “born” from a tank, the only one to survive the first process. In her stipulated desire, the customer insists that Inez takes the child instead of the rogue geneticists. The lab men would only raise the child to sell her genetic material, in her mind. Inez took the child to the wastelands of New York, where the diseases had emptied out the apartments and avenues. She raised her, in this limited and limiting world, and tries to do a good job. Again, Inez had a third grade education, and came up through the specter of disease, physical and sexual abuse, and the death of everyone she knew. She never tells her daughter anything about herself, her past, or even the way her daughter was created, against the law in a rogue genetics lab in New Jersey.

It’s a brilliant book, driven by the character and voice of Inez, and the powerful world-building of a future that is not so hard to imagine, as we enter the post-antibiotic era.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Space Wars Make No Sense

We already see with a galactic eye an empty cosmos, pulsating stars, and a near-endless supply of rocks in space with every imaginable combination of elements, and a few unimaginable ones, no doubt. Imagine the ability to make the Kessel Run in 14 Parsecs, to step into an abandoned hunk of junk and boost it in a matter of minutes to get from the junkyard desert of Jakku to the iridescent green of Takodana. In this place and time, space combat makes no sense.

Why send a squadron of X-Wings to hit one part of one world when a squadron of automated bombs can pound into it at lightspeed? Why not just shoot large chunks of matter at lightspeed to crash into things? There is enough lightspeed capable junk lying about the place, after all. There are advanced AI units and various elaborate computers. What is so different between automated attack droids, which are archaic in that universe, and automated suicide hyperspeed bombs?

Imagine, again, the power to just fly away. Why stay and fight anyone, at all? Fly on to the next galaxy, the next green world. Just fly on and build colonies where there can be a new way of life. What purpose such efforts to contain and control into an empire? What does power gain in such an economy except more power? To what end? There was an episode derided for the dullness of a trade dispute, but it was the only motivation for war that made any sense, at all, on the scale of a galaxy. The planet is locked down, locked away. Of course, what matter that? There were plenty of farms, plenty of fields, and oceans deep and country wide. Let them blockade all the universe away, and remain on the ground a people of peace and plenty. How would anyone even know they were blockaded outside of the major metropolises? Much easier and safer to stay on the surface of the world, working and living and looking up at the stars as if a flat screen. Few would be bothered by the loss of the depths in sky, just as few in England will even know what has been lost, since it can’t be measured on an individual scale.

There will just be that sense of loss, like an empty obverse of nostalgia, a future-nostalgic-feeling for what could have been.

Let them control. Why not? What could they do with it? Build an army of clones? A single line of custom virus would wipe it out. Build an army of robots? Again, a single line of custom virus would wipe it out. Would they conquer the sky? Drones are cheap and easy to build in such a universe, and kamikazi machines would require no great army to weaponize at the scale to destroy all ships. What need for sabres of light when hyperspeed stones smash through the walls and shields? Why build a single death star to destroy a world, or a star-killer base, when a seres of large stones pushed down hard enough would do the job, as well. Anyone with a junkyard at their disposal has the technology to do the same. A single CrispR machine, a single microbiotic technician, can end the war. A single hacker can pop open every airlock in a gesture. Armies are only as good as their weakest entrypoint, inside their giant metal shells. Space, itself, and biology are more dangerous than any laser beam.

And, all the things that make for war – resource scarcity, ideological purification, etc. – do not exist on the scale of a galaxy. Just fly away from anyone who disagrees to a new green world. Any hunk of junk can get you there, apparently.

War in space just doesn’t make sense. Imagining combat on that scale has never been done well on screen.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Villains Make No Sense

One of the great lies of the illegal drug trade is that engaging in the activity can lead to financial rewards. In fact, minimum wage would be a step up from the wages of an average drug dealer. It is much easier to make a living legally than to make a living illegally.

I recently watched the first Michael Bey Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, and it was not a great film. It was terrible, in fact, in the way a big budget, glossy nostalgia CGI spectacle is inevitably terrible. Only occasionally did the film so much as rise, very briefly, to a near-mediocrity that quickly collapsed upon any momentary thought to the course of events on screen. The most glaring, in my mind, moment of total failure came from the motivation of one of the villains. He simply made no sense. Supposedly, he was a brilliant scientist and businessman, head of a powerful corporation and a leader in lucrative biotech. The company owned buildings in Manhattan – no small feat for anyone in that market. He owned a very flash mansion in upstate New York, in the Catskills, with beautiful views of the mountainside. What use, then, villainy? He already has everything. The wicked demon pulling his strings behind the flash, a.k.a. Shredder, offers some promise of wealth beyond wildest imaginings after constructing an apocalyptic bio-attack on New York City. Isn’t it easier just to engage in hostile takeovers of other companies, and gut them for parts? Isn’t it easier to kick all the wealth currently earned into an Index fund and let the stable world generate all the revenue an evil asshole needs to punch his manservants for a lifetime? What use all the extra wealth? His motivation made no sense. He sought power, but he had it. He sought wealth, but he had it. Shredder’s free-floating evil menace makes no sense, either. What use do immortal samurai of doom have for destroying whole cities? One would imagine a low-profile and careful reinvestment of dividends would be more useful to securing a lasting future than engaging in swordfights with rogue turtles.

Villains make no sense.

Austin Powers spoofed this, of course, when Dr. Evil asked for one million dollars. World leaders, laughing, asked if he took a check. Then a billion, still no biggie. Let me just call our secretary…

Money is not a useful tool for a powerful overlord, when they already have money. Power, I could believe, for a while, but to what purpose? What is the reason that Vladimir Putin maintains such tight control over his fascist state? He sees himself as a patriot, the true leader of the people, and the proper one. He sees himself as a man of honor. Vanity is his motivation. Fear that his people and way of life will stumble, perhaps. Money is just a bonus on the side. It isn’t even the point. In fact, one can easily imagine the man staring at a black ceiling at night, eyes wide open, wondering what the hell he is doing, what it was all for, and how much longer he can keep fooling everyone into believing he is their rightful leader.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Role of the Creator

There is nothing more stupid and useless than another blog post somewhere in the noise of the million machine march towards justice after the needless and devastating attack in Orlando that left so many fine young men and women wounded or dead. There is little doubt,  at this point, that the attack specifically targeted a popular gay nightclub. It is hard for  straight person to understand the importance of the gay bar or gay club to the community. In a world where unwanted advances can lead to countless unspeakable consequences, the gay bar is a place where people who live in masks can break free, speak openly about what their hearts want, and who their hearts want. It is a rite of passage. Some of the parents of the dead young men did not know their sons were gay or bi until the news came that their son was killed for their gender identity and orientation.

So, there’s very little to say about this horrific tragedy. Legiaslators ought to do something, but after Newtown, it is hard to imagine the gridlock breaking for a sinners and sodomites when the innocents were gunned down mercilessly and nothing was done. How much blood is enough? Whose blood must be spilled before the change comes?

I don’t know. I don’t want to know. I only want to know what I can do to end the hate. I can vote in a red state, but there’s very little to vote on here except more guns, so good guys with guns can put bullets in the air in a crowded club, where light and dark and shadow flood the room, and no one knows who the bad guy is, except there’s guns and more guns. So vote, but expect nothing to come from it. The children who died in Connecticut screaming and afraid were a price we were willing to have paid.

As creators of media, literary and movie scripts and songs and comic strips, we have the power to build up hope against the hate that comes with guns and lynching ropes. We can speak about the joy that comes for our nation’s sons when they step out without fear into a room full of people who are like them, queer. There is so much joy in this world when we’re together, so don’t forget to write the queer and the transgender. Write them as kings and heroes and strong, young men. Place them in every future and call them out as friends. We as creators can stamp out hate through representation of people who are great, and don’t hate. No cannon fodder, or pathos-rich slaughter, make sure the characters are people, everyday sort of sons and daughters. The power of the pen is the voice in the mind, the language of dreams and aspirations. As creators, we must do better to teach the world not to hate who is different. We must write so the world can learn.

Goddamn, Orlando, it’s hard to think about anything when that’s what happened.

Stay safe, out there. Be kind. Don’t die.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Suburban Cults of Wealth and Christianity

One thing that everyone ought to know by now about the suburbs is that they are generally quite lonely for grown-ups, and children. Insulation against all the dangers of the city pushes up against one of the harsh realities of rural life: one must drive a long distance to do anything fun, or to be part of any sort of scene or event. One does not casually drive forty minutes across town on a whim, generally. One most likely spends the evening at home with family, if there is family, watching the internet/television, cleaning and eating and far away from others. The neighbors rarely become so close that they are welcome inside the garage, much less the house. In the three years I have lived here, I can count on one hand the number of times my neighbors have walked into my living room. It isn’t a plot or a scheme or anything, just that the suburbs is not a communal experience for most people. We bowl alone.

The two activities that seem to unite the community are lawn maintenance to keep up appearances, and religious services of some sort. I do attend services when I feel the urge, and consider my practice a private matter. But, that’s not really the kind of religion that is popular around me. The kind of religion I experience, even in the stoic and elder faiths, tends towards the revival. The church is considered one’s “church home” and an important part of social and civic life. Children are normalized there, and taught right from wrong among their peers. The community prays together towards an afterlife that is hopefully as idyllic as the perfect hedges and long-blooming crepe myrtles.

The specific style of church that seems most prevalent in the community is the kind of church that does not shame the wealthy, and gets all up in people’s business, as the saying goes, and seems to resemble the sort of religion that takes over a life, demanding a total change of self and ideology that surrenders control of the inner life and parts of the outer life over to a communal identity that curtails the traditional bonds of family, creates hard edges around the community of the church, where those that are outside of it are eternally outside, and bless your heart and we’ll pray for you.

The connection between the hard religious right wing and the loneliness of our suburbs seems important, to me. The loneliness of the community drives us into churches, seeking fellowship and hope and a sense of purpose. We are told what to believe, and there is no opposing viewpoints in the room or in the neighborhood to stand contrary, most of the time.  The city has created a region ripe for exploitation and called it an ideal for everyone, with huge rooms, and expansive lawns, all spread out. Loneliness sets in. Religion fills the gap, and a particular kind of religion that draws lines around the houses, the community, the ones who fit in to that world of wealth and hard work and home and lawn maintenance.

Now the district maps are drawn, and these communities that are set apart and united in their apartness become a single congressman. A majority is built out of gerrymanders, all crawling over the communities that are ripe for the religious right wing to rise.

End the suburbs, save America? Probably nothing that drastic. But, the disease that leads to so much evangelical right wing hate is probably loneliness, and the burbs are the place where loneliness thrives. If we can just find a way so people won’t be so lonely, and so driven to be a powerful tribe against the loneliness and the fear of death…

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Fascism is Good for Business

Smart people are calling presumptive Republican nominee, Donald J. Drumpf, an aspiring fascist. His tendency to authoritarian government is a learned trait, if stories of his father are true. The things that make him a terrible candidate for political leadership are also traits that the business world often respect and admire. A plastic morality is ideal when the only measure of success is profit. A CEO is often only indistinguishable from a fascist dictator by the fortunate reality that getting fired from a company does not immediately mean being killed, and any torture that occurs will be psychological, not directly physical. A CEO is rewarded for treating workers like disposable cogs, called tough by the business community. A CEO is rewarded for driving down expenses even if it means workers don’t earn a living wage, or parts are imported from slave-labor facilities in miserable places of the planet.

We criticize Trump for his sexism, his rudeness, his inhumanity to man. We do not see it as a critique of the place he learned it. Inside the halls of business power, all of these traits are common and often celebrated in powerful men. People inside the company will celebrate Trump’s leadership, when the very style of leadership he utilizes is a fascist dictator state, where one man’s word rules everything, demands everything. And, more importantly, in the world of business, this kind of fascist dictator leadership is celebrated and common. Trump learned his authoritarianism from his community.

We have all been workers before at companies. We know what it is like to have to give lip-service to leadership, keep our face smiling, and be careful what we say about the things going on at the workplace. The best companies I worked for where places where the CEO was a benevolent one, quick to think about ethics and the weight of power. The very best company I worked for had a female CEO, at a very advanced age, who was as kind as a grandmother even as we knew there was no messing around with her resources or her commands. Even in the very best circumstances, and she was the very best of people to work for, a wonderful human in every way, it was clear that the employee was not the powerful one; there is no democracy in business. The owners of resources are the commanders of them, and the top of the heap in life.

In living memory, business leaders have not made good presidents. Bush II, the first president with an MBA, by any measure of a presidency, was not an effective leader of the country. Actor turned politician Ronald Reagan remains a contentious figure, but seems to be responsible for one of the greatest lies in modern economics, that cripples the powerless to this day, the idea of Trickle-Down Economics.

We talk about the problem of Trump, but we have a society that is trained to glorify authoritarians. Anyone who is a “true believer” at work, so to speak, is ripe to become the one who votes for fascism.

The unions are gone, mostly. Even the ones that remain are undermined and destroyed, and are notorious for corruption. The world of business authoritarianism is seeping into the cracks and crevices of society. It will come again, if we do not change the culture of business, even if Trump loses.

Everyone in America, nearly, must work in a company, and be a company person. How do we change the culture of leadership in companies to stop rewarding fascist dictators?

It’s a hard question, with no good answers. In the mean time, I’m looking for another benevolent dictatorship, looking around the companies I visit for signs the employee smiles aren’t genuine, and the presence of the boss isn’t simultaneous with fear.

Though I believe we will end up in a dictatorship eventually, if the system of Capitalism is not reformed towards social justice, the number of decent people who are good authoritarian figures to their employees – even the ones they don’t personally like – gives me some hope that there will be good ones as often as there are bad ones. People have lived under dictatorships for thousands of years, and most of the people were happy with it, just like most of us like our jobs.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Ignorant, the Innocent, the Saintly Men; or a review of Haldor Laxness’ Paradise Reclaimed

Iceland is as far away from my subtropical sweltering humidity and heat as the other side of the moon. I have been to Germany, though, and stayed there quite a while on more than one occasion. I remember in winter, around January, everything was so dark and wet and cold. The whole community huddled together over coffee, over warm food, stamping their feet in the walkways. Businesses hung drapes around the front door to keep the blast of cold from getting in whenever the customers entered. It was a makeshift entryway that worked fairly well to preserve the hot, close air in all the shops and restaurants. People wore good shoes, trekked over ice patches in them. When the sun finally broke in early spring, people would go to parks and sit for long stretches in the grass, looking up into the blue with all their friends around them.

In Laxness’ Iceland, it is the nineteenth century, and the weather is even more extreme across the country that is even farther north from where I was in temperate southern Germany. The nights in winter are long and dark and the countryside offers no amusements, no pleasures or luxuries. When the dark time comes, people rush to get everything done that is possible during the brief hours of light, then they hunker down to bed with little oil to light their lamps, and no singing or dancing or laughter. There is just darkness, and waiting for the end of darkness. There is a winter, and there is spring, and the waiting for spring in winter. The beautiful translation, I hope, of the novel of the innocents of that life, out in the country, I hope, is true to the original language of the book.

The farmer at the heart of the little novel, with his daughter, form a core of innocence that verges on foolishness. They are painted with broad strokes, and can occasionally be hard to read as they border on the inhuman. But, innocence is inhuman. It is beaten out of us all. Certainly, the poor daughter of the farmer, craftsman, and bricklayer convert to the Mormon religion, is beaten down by life for her innocence.

The novel begins with a horse too fine for Iceland, a horse worthy of kings. It is a fairy horse, believed to be descended of Selkies by the farmer’s children. This beautiful horse cannot be bought or sold. It can only be given to a visiting foreign king. Steiner, the farmer, seems to do everything with a purpose and direction of a pre-ordained to heaven out of protestant theology. He is a force of nature, whose great mistakes are tied only to his failure to recognize that other great men do not uphold his high standards of behavior. Local officials are a plague of corrupt locusts. One of them takes advantage of friendship and the absent husband to decimate the farm’s pastures in autumn with far too many horses. His daughter is probably raped, impregnated with an illegitimate child that throws her life into a mess.

He doesn’t even know. The only other man that was worthy of Steiner’s admiration for a good, long time is a Mormon Missionary and polygamist from Utah. Steiner goes to Utah, then, becomes Mormon, and a bricklayer, and presents a fascinating portrayal of early Salt Lake City, after the community established but before the federal government came for the polygamists. It is a Utopian vision, and appeals to the perfection reflected in Steiner’s gaze to the mountainous hills. It is very hard to write compelling saintly men, walking the line between ignorance and innocence, but Laxness is a master and the tale he tells is compelling and strange to me, sitting on a bench below a lemon tree, and looking up into the same blue sky that hangs over Iceland, and Utah, and all the paradises of this world.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Apocalypse Story is the Story of a Single Life

The genre of stories known widely as Apocalyptic, including such standouts as PARABLE OF THE SOWER and FURY ROAD, is not so much a cynical look at what will occur in the future as much as it is a story about the way we feel about the future. It is a place that will be strange and uncertain and dangerous. As we age, we will see the collapse of our known systems and ideas. THe society around us will change and become strange. Our purpose in life will shift from building the world, to merely declining slowly without pain. Sudden emergencies will come, the eventual horror of death and disease strikes us all in our circles of friends and families and in our own bodies. There is no escape from the end of times.

When we read or watch or otherwise consume post-apocalyptic stories, we are imagining a sublimated version of our own future, where regardless of politics and environment, we are guaranteed the experience of physical collapse, and death in what we hope is a clean, well-lit room, where smiling men and women come to sit with us a while and hold our hands and tell us that we are loved. Too many die alone in squalor, on the streets, in horrible, painful accidents, lingering on after the collapse, dependent on pills and hope and daytime television just to survive another moment.

The Apocalypse stories are sublimations of our own desperate attempts to push for meaning and purpose and hope. They are the heroes that keep pushing into the wasteland of decline, keep fighting, keep their structure and society going beyond the evidence of the end of the world. These heroes are our role models against our own aging selves.

Roland Deschain is an old man, after many hard years. His knees struggle. His body aches. Across the desert sands, the man in black moves, and he pursues, pursues, pursues.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Nebulas versus the Presidency

This will be a blog about the Nebulas female sweep. First, let me, at length, discuss the current election for American President.

The current presidential election is a compelling argument for the continued presence of sexism in the general public’s collective unconscious. Hillary Clinton is widely reported as someone requiring a clean, gaffe-free campaign to secure the Presidency. She is widely considered suspect because her husband cheated on her, and she stayed with him. She is widely considered suspect because she is ambitious. She is widely considered suspect because she had a complex e-mail thing, probably more complex than most sixty-eight-year-old women have in their lives, and it might have been a problem, possibly. She is required by the media’s constant think-pieces to have a gaffe-free, scandal-free campaign to succeed against Trump. Her scandal could lead to his victory.

Donald Trump is a rolling trash fire of scandals and gaffes. He uses gaffes strategically, it seems, to push the more serious concerns out of the media coverage. Cries about his tax returns disappeared in the wake of his time as an outspoken sockpuppet, pretending PR under various pseudonyms. The gaffe pushes the serious concern out of the news. It’s brilliant and horrifying.

Now, reserve the genders. If Clinton had faked her own PR firm back in the nineties…? If Clinton spoke of men (or women) with the sort of casual sexism that pours out of the GOP’s prime contender, would anyone even take her seriously as a person, much less a candidate? Clinton is not allowed to have any gaffes.

It’s not just Clinton. Look at other women aspiring to the highest political positions in the land on the side of the aisle. Carly Fiorina and Sara Palin are many things, but let us just say that they do not resemble an orange failed potato in their physical appearance. Could anyone imagine taking them seriously on the national stage if they did? Women can’t just be good at their job, you see. They also have to look good doing it. Men can be a failed mr. potato head with tiny sausage hands and a hairdo so ridiculous not even Hasbro’s eponymous toy could pull it off. Women have to be so much better just to get the same respect and consideration that men (like me) take for granted.

Now let’s talk about the Nebulas. Women swept the ticket. When a woman writes a book, she is less likely to be reviewed. She is more likely to receive noxious death threats. She is often described in sexist terms. Her covers will cue readers that her work is not to be taken seriously. It is harder to be an author and a woman. It is even harder to be an author and a woman and a person of color.

So, when one considers the reality that for a woman to get just as far as a man in the world, she must do a better job, gaffe-free, and look good doing it, I think it is safe to assume that the work that won the Nebulas was very good, indeed. Setting aside the sexism, for a moment, and the problems of the sexist systems that exist and punish women and should be stopped soon, the very fact that these women won should be a clear indication that their work is likely better than what a man would write with the same expectation of success.

(Remember when space whale Jesus won a major award? Or how about robot jesus?)

So, we can’t stop sexism. But, we can remember that it exists when we consider the next thing we’re going to read, and see how women and women of color – a topic I did not discuss presently, but is a topic unto itself – managed to come out on top.

Whenever I look for a doctor, I always look for a woman doctor. I do this because I want the best doctor, and I know that sexism meant at every stage of her academic and professional career, the woman doctor had to be dancing backwards in heels, as the expression goes, just to stand equal with the men in her class. It sucks. I want to change that. I have no power over the world. But, I can control who my doctor is. I can control what books and stories I read next.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized