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June 21, 2014


I haven't read any of them yet, but I'm actually intrigued by your comment that you've been reading "oceans" of fanfic. Oddly, enough, so have I. And so have my kids, the younger of whom (she's 14) said, "Fanfic has spoiled me. Why do I want to even go into a bookstore? All YA novels are about straight, white people making out. Who wants to read that?"

how little pro short fiction I've read in the last 20 years

If you haven't been reading the yearly Gardner Dozois SF anthology, you've been missing out. Over a quarter of a century of distilled genre taste in short fiction.

And I try always to buy and read Hartwell's The Year's Best SF collections. I don't always agree, but I sometimes find wha I'm looking for.

Recently I've been enjoying the thick anthologies in which George R.R. Martin has been seeding his Westeros stories : Dunk and Egg in Legends, Legends II and Warriors, and a "chronicle" of the Targaryen internecine strife styled as "The Dance Of Dragons" in Strong Women. All these will appeal to the sort of person who read the Appendices to The Lord of the Rings more than once, and practiced writing in Tengwar.

Elf M. Sternberg

Holy Usenet flashback, Batman!

[ Something like encountering Kibo or Matt Wiener or Gene Spafford or Chuq or B1FF in present time. ]

IIRC (and I probably don't), I first learned of the existence of gender-neutral pronouns such as zie and zir from Elf Sternberg, a long long time ago in a Usenet far away.

Thanks for the link to Liu's short story, quite interesting for me because the protagonist is from near here on the island of Kyushu. However, I'm a bit confused, you said

But indeed it's true that the default SWM protagonist ain't what he used to be: last year's winner, for instance, was Mono no aware by Ken Liu.

Since the protagonist is Japanese (albeit wrestling with issues of identity), I'm wondering if SWM doesn't mean Single White Male. Maybe this was tongue in cheek, (and sorry for my tone-deafness if it is), but I just wanted to make sure that the category of Japanese or Asian hasn't become White, something we discussed a bit after the Isla Vista killings.


I was being too cute and obscure. I meant that "Mono no aware", though made of 100% science fiction, definitely does NOT have a SWM protagonist.

lj: straight white male.


All YA novels are about straight, white people making out. Who wants to read that?

No lie, this made my family's day. Sprog the Elder is currently editing her first novel, a YA with *no* making out and very few straight, white people. She is immensely cheered to hear that she has an audience out there!

Which fandoms are you reading in? I've been reading fanfic, mostly slash, for about 20 years or so. Currently my sins have brought me to Teen Wolf, but there have been lots of others along the way.

I've been reading the Hugo short-list for several years now. This year's list is definitely the weakest I've seen. We usually get one or two "literary" short stories, not the 4 we have now.

Frankly I think it's a symptom of the problems with short fiction in SF. The market has broadened, which means it's harder for a single story to get the number of votes needed to make the ballot. (We're supposed to have 5 stories to pick from, not 4.)

Yes, more high-quality short SF would be welcome these days.

Perhaps if we all wrote to him politely, Harlan would finally publish The Last Dangerous Visions.

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