ir-tree

well, this is it, I guess

Because of the recent LJ stuff, I'm going to have to abandon and probably delete this LJ. I've been crossposting from cahn.dreamwidth.org for a while (and honestly haven't read my LJ friends list in a while -- sorry!), and I'll continue to hang out over there (though lately I've been too busy to post anyway).
ir-tree

Hugo nominations, final thoughts

Just realized we have only one more day, ugh. Some things that have come up:

-[personal profile] skygiants reminded me (which I had totally forgotten) that she wrote some stories in 2016. I'm going to nominate these:

“Further Arguments in Support of Yudah Cohen’s Proposal to Bluma Zilberman”, Rebecca Fraimow, Diabolical Plots. Short story. This one is my favorite. It may be my favorite short story I read in 2016. I just love Yudah's distinctive, cocky voice, the sense of a very rich world in terms of underpinnings of relationships, the multiple twists that happen in a short letter. Just really, really highly recommended whether or not you are nominating.

Shaina Rubin Keeps Her Head Under Circumstances Nobody Could Have Expected, Rebecca Fraimow, PodCastle. Novelette. Sequel to "Proposal." Okay, I might love this one as much, actually. The greater length makes it less dense than "Proposal" in terms of twists, but it's similar in terms of the sketching in of rich characterization and relationships in relatively few words (plus plot!), and Yudah and Bluma are like old friends when they show up. My favorite part is how Shaina's voice has similar qualities to Yudah's (given that they're both Jewish inhabitants of Vilna) but is also completely different.

It stands alone from "Proposal" but also spoils it, so read "Proposal" first, okay?

-I am nominating Octavia E. Butler (Gerry Canavan, University of Illinois Press) in Best Related Work. I haven't actually gotten very far, and usually I would not nominate something I haven't actually read all the way through, but I like it so far and I really want to encourage people writing works on people like Butler.

-I am nominating Chuck Tingle for Best Fanwriter (with his twitter as the example). I could not see my way to voting for him for Short Story last year, but in my opinion his Hugo-related meta last year totally deserves nomination in some form, and I figured this was better than Related Work (since the form explicitly says "cannot be eligible in other category" -- I was totally planning on nominating "Space Raptor Butt Redemption" as Best Related Work, but it is also eligible in Novelette so I can't.)
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Links to Hugo-eligible short fiction

Have some links to short Hugo-eligible fiction!

Nebula nominees available free (hat tip: [personal profile] umadoshi)

Abigail Nussbaum’s nominees - AN’s taste in fiction isn’t congruent to mine (and sometimes we just flat-out disagree), but I do find her words about it to always be thought-provoking. Also plan to nominate her as best fanwriter. (Also plan to nominate [personal profile] skygiants as best fanwriter, if that’s OK.)

Set of nominees from [personal profile] forestofglory.

Another link from ladybusiness, with recs for all categories.

The novelettes on these lists that I liked enough to put them on my ballot: “The Art of Space Travel,” “The Venus Effect” (though I must say I didn't like it nearly as much as Abigail Nussbaum did) and “The Dancer on the Stairs” (probably my favorite).

Also, honorable mention to "The Tomato Thief," which I am not sure is going to be on my ballot, but it made me go back and reread the extremely good Jackalope Wives (to which it is a sequel), which deserved its Nebula and deserved the Hugo too, ugh.

The short stories on these lists that I liked enough to put on my ballot: “The Destroyer” (probably my favorite), “Sabbath Wine” (would be interested to know what the Jews on my f-list think about this one - ETA, probably going to take off my nom list), “A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers," and "The Most Important Thing."

I haven’t read the vast majority of novellas on these lists. I’ll try to get around to Penric and Taste of Honey in the next week, I think. And yes, probably also The Jewel And Her Lapidary because of the title.
ir-tree

(no subject)

I’m still alive! Things that have taken up my time lately:

-Kiddos. For some reason two kids is much more mentally tiring than one. A. started daycare in January so we’ve all been adjusting to that. E. is probably doing Too Much Stuff, oh well, and I feel like logistics for her takes up a lot of my mental and spare time space. I can’t wait until I have to do logistics for both of them.

-After winter break which was great because we didn’t see many people (we saw D’s sister’s family and parents, which was really fun) and therefore were actually healthy for the ENTIRE WEEK following the break, we are continuing our side hobby of getting sick on a regular basis. I shouldn’t complain, because by this time we all have really great immune systems and so it’s actually not very bad much of the time (kids get cranky, I feel mildly crappy, D ranges from feeling mildly to fairly crappy, but it’s a far cry from when E started daycare and we all felt horrible with horrible cold symptoms for weeks at a stretch), but it is still annoying and takes up more time in reduced efficiency and dragging around than any actual enjoyable hobby we have.

-I have been called to be Gospel Doctrine teacher in my ward. It’s a lot more work than my previous calling (teaching in Relief Society, the women’s class) — I’ve been sinking kind of a lot of my free time into it -- and some weeks have gone much better than others, and I just really love it and feel like I’m meant to be doing this, like I can really add something to people's lives. Relatedly, I’ve also been spending a lot of time in the last week or so writing a lot of email to G., a woman in my ward who is having a lot of the issues with belief that I had about 10-15 years ago. I might post some of the stuff about faith and belief (and the rather quirky LDS theology thereof) and how I deal with flat-out contradictions.

So… one thing I haven’t been doing is reading SF published in 2016. I have So Like the Lightning, The Obelisk Gate, and Necessity on my list to read. Anything else?
ir-tree

(no subject)

Merry Christmas and Happy Yuletide! I am still alive! Okay, so, I realize I am waaaay behind on well, life in general, and the documentation thereof, but I had to say something about my (four!! You crazy awesome people, you!) Yuletide fics because they are marvelous and also because I am worried no one will see them, partially because they're all in small fandoms to begin with and partially because of a sequence of events that wasn't really anyone's fault but which meant the ones in Tiptree fandom didn't get wrangled (*) :(((((((( So please go read and shower love on these, pleeeease!

My gift:
Firebound (2345 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Der Ring des Nibelungen | The Ring of the Nibelung - Wagner
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Ambiguous or Implied Relationship(s), Brynhildr/Sieglinde
Characters: Brynhildr | Brunnhilde, Loge (Ring des Nibelungen)
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence, Fate & Destiny, References antisemitic stereotypes
Summary:

There isn't much to do at the top of a desolate mountain, bound by inviolate will, except to chat.

I asked for Brunnhilde and Loge, talking, because the way Ring is set up they have a lot of the same concerns, and would that not be awesome? Answer: yes! Yes, it is awesome! It is especially awesome when Norse myth and gnomic wisdom is interspersed throughout, when Sieglinde plays a prominent role even though she's not actually in the fic except very briefly, and when it is AU that is fix-it, which is totally what I want from Ringfic. I was really pleased by this and you should definitely read it if you have any interest in the Ring Cycle or Norse myth at all!

My treats were all in my requested fandom Her Smoke Rose Up Forever (anthology) - James Tiptree, Jr.. The link should get you to where you can see all the fics, as well as a tiny ficlet that some anonymous person wrote to get the fandom wrangled only that didn't happen, but anyway.

The Greek Origins of Certain Words (2788 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Her Smoke Rose Up Forever (anthology) - James Tiptree Jr.
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Original Female Character/Original Male Character
Characters: Original Characters
Additional Tags: Science Fiction, Post-Canon, Body Modification, Dysfunctional Relationships, Yuletide Treat
Summary:

“It’s a dying field,” Elsie said, “pornography.” She and Desmond were in bed together and she had taken to idly fidgeting with his body, as though he were terrain she was mapping: that was the term her industry used for relatively unmarked flesh. The terrain.

This is an amazing piece of work, possibly written by undead Tiptree (heh, wouldn't that be a story) -- it is so point on and spectacularly Tiptree in both voice and theme. It's sort-of-kind-of a sequel to, or at least takes place in the same universe as, "And I Awoke And Found Me Here on the Cold Hill's Side" -- but you don't need to have read the story to read this. Not only does this story replicate the breathless cadences and seventeen-new-worldbuilding-ideas-a-minute SF that characterize Tiptree's best work, but it's brilliantly about Tiptree's major themes: sex, love, biology, and what it means to be human. Especially the sex part -- from one point of view this fic is one extended (philosophical!) sex scene with kink, but the sex is crucial: it's part and parcel of examining the philosophical and SF-ian underpinnings of the universe, story, and humanity. This is just amazing. If you like Tiptree, this is basically required reading! But in general, if you are interested in stories about sex, love, biology, philosophy, what it means to be human, and/or in darn good SF, read it!

As Though to Breathe Were Life (2922 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Her Smoke Rose Up Forever (anthology) - James Tiptree Jr.
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Original Male Character(s)
Additional Tags: Original Character-centric, Alien Cultural Differences, Not Entirely Hopeless
Summary:

“It’s a human thing,” I say. “The struggle, you don’t get how much we need it. Really trying, setting your heart on something grand and impossible, win or die.”

This is the one I feel extremely protective towards, because not only is it in a super-small unwrangled fandom but it's also in Madness! So I worry a lot about it not getting anything like its fair share of love. Anyway, this one is also super worth reading and you should all read it. It isn't Tiptree pastiche and actually reads much more like original SF, and therefore I think you don't need to have read any canon, and it's enjoyable even if you hate Tiptree -- but yet has all those Tiptreeian themes -- what does it mean to have free will, or not; what does it mean to be human, in all its pain and glory and terribleness. It is heartbreaking and wonderful.

(Also, I am totally guessing that morbane wrote this for me. If so, thank you!! If not, well, take this as a compliment :) )

The Dead Authors Podcast Chapter 60: James Tiptree Jr. (1299 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Her Smoke Rose Up Forever (anthology) - James Tiptree Jr., The Dead Authors (Podcast), 20th Century CE RPF
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: James Tiptree Jr., Alice Sheldon, H.G. Wells (The Dead Authors Podcast)
Additional Tags: Yuletide Treat, Yuletide, Time Travel, Gender Issues, Feminist Themes, Trans Character, Politics, RPF, Star Trek References
Summary:

"I must ask, should I be addressing you as James, Tip, Alice, or Raccoona?"

Man, I wish I'd had the idea to cross over James Tiptree Jr. as a guest on the Dead Authors Podcast! (If you haven't listened to this podcast, you should at least listen to the Ayn Rand one, which is completely hilarious.) I've only listened to a couple of them, but I get the impression that generally in the podcast the "dead authors" tend to stay in their previous-life personas; here we get Alice Sheldon changed by her journey to the future into someone who can articulate things about feminism and trans-issues that she was not able to do in her own life.

(*)Collapse )

ir-tree

(no subject)

All right, I don't really want to talk about politics here and I hope not to make any more posts about politics (and I'll probably f-lock this one eventually), but I'll just make this post because I thought a couple of you might find it interesting.

K/B asked me two weeks ago about the LDS Church and whether it would ever come out against Trump. I said (and still say) no. The Church did not even endorse Mitt Romney in 2012, who was one of our own.

There are two reasons for this. The first is that the LDS religion believes very, very strongly in freedom of religion and the related freedom to vote our own consciences. Our theology in fact explicitly postulates that the founders of this country were motivated by the Spirit of the Lord to develop a country in which these freedoms are possible. The second, more cynical reason, is that the LDS Church will never, ever do anything to call into question its nonprofit tax-exempt status as a religion, and making statements about any political candidate or party would put itself squarely in that bullseye.

(I believe both. If it weren't for the second reason, I absolutely believe that the Church would be tempted to speak out more. I could also imagine that if it weren't for the first reason, the Church might be tempted to do at least wink-wink-nudge-nudge kinds of statements, which I've heard from the pulpit in my sister-in-law's evangelical church and which I found horrifying.)

The Church has put out a single official statement on, not Trump, but in response to Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering the United States. It did not name Trump. It basically went, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neutral in regard to party politics and election campaigns. However, it is not neutral in relation to religious freedom," and a couple of relevant quotes from Joseph Smith. The Deseret News (of which more later) was happy to unpack what they actually meant, though.

Utah is still red, I told K/B, but usually the LDS church votes Republican as an extremely reliable bloc [not wholly, especially those in California and Massachusetts, haha, but… pretty strongly so], and in this election that bloc no longer holds.

Then that tape came out.

The Church has not said anything officially about it, I think rightly so (see above).

Last Saturday, the Deseret News wrote a very strongly-worded editorial against Trump. (It declined to go so far as to endorse Clinton.)

And now Mormons have pretty much broken against Trump.

I've seen a couple of articles about the Mormon revolt against Trump in the last several days, but I don't think I've seen anywhere talk about exactly how important the Deseret News editorial was in the confluence of the LDS Church and politics. The Deseret News is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is not an official Church publication. It says it is not a mouthpiece for the Church. However, in the past it used to be exactly that. It still has a great deal of power and does in fact in the minds of many Mormons speak for the Church. Last week when I was at church, in fact, people (including me) were confused as to whether the Deseret News was an official Church publication or not. (This was in a completely unrelated, religion-based context, and I had not yet seen the Trump editorial because I am not the sort of LDS person who reads the Deseret News. But there are people in my ward (in California) who read it every day.)

Anyway, probably partially because of this background and the possibility of confusion, The Deseret News has not taken a stand for/against a political candidate in 80 years. But they have done so now. And it is a huge deal in LDS circles. It doesn't carry the weight of an official pronouncement, and certainly should not; but there are a lot of people in the LDS Church who will give it a lot of weight. There were already a lot of LDS who disliked Trump (that's a whole other story; Trump's brand of demagoguery is basically antithetical to Mormons -- ETA 10-14: for example see this Buzzfeed article written by a Mormon reporter) but might have pushed the lever for him out of not knowing that much about him combined with conservative solidarity; but this, I think, will have given them another path, and what's more, a path that at least appears to come with tacit approval of the leaders of the Church. (The editor of the Deseret News claims he did not run the editorial by any Church leaders, and I have no reason not to believe him. But people will assume that he did anyway, or at the very least — and I also believe this — that his beliefs are shared by church leadership.) I've already seen the editorial be passed around and convince a couple of previous Trump supporters on an LDS message board I occasionally look at.

(There's also a whole other post I could make about LDS theology and women and how Trump hit that in a way that was pretty much guaranteed backlash, but this is already enough, so never mind.)

(And I should also add that I don't think the Deseret Times affected the Mormon politician exodus from Trump which has also been happening; that seems to have happened independently (though for the same reasons that the editorial came out, see also LDS theology and women), and of course Mitt Romney has been the lone voice crying in the wilderness that is Republican politics for some time. What I'm talking about here has been more important for those people who haven't been following the political scene super closely.)

And today (er, yesterday now) a poll came out showing Trump and Clinton tied (with Evan McMullins' numbers shooting up stratospherically — he's an independent LDS candidate) in Utah. Utah. Maybe the poll is skewed, maybe it isn't quite right, maybe it's biased. But… I don't think it's that far wrong. I think, I really think, we're going to see Utah in play. It might not go for Clinton (I will laugh if McMullins wins Utah; I think he actually has a decent shot), but I think it is going to be close. This is something I never thought we'd see in my lifetime. And of course Mormons make up a small but decisive couple of percent in Arizona, which was balanced on the razor-edge before last weekend but now is turning…

ETA 10-14: Yesterday another, better poll came out which still shows Trump ahead in the state, but only by +6, which is still catastrophic for him compared to last week.
ir-tree

(no subject)

And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married… And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them… behold, Miriam became leprous… And the Lord said… let [Miriam] be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again.

Numbers 12:1-14 (excerpts)


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(no subject)

My mom and dad recently moved, and they just brought me a bunch of my junk from their house. In the bottom of one of the boxes they brought I found… yes, indeed… the MacGyver fanfic I wrote as a young teenager (I must have been in ninth grade or so). It is… I'll just say, wow. It's a look into my teenage psyche that is a little horrifying, as these things are, and is also hilariously a record of what I was reading around that time.

It's a series: two ~40-page works, and a short story (10 pages).

The first fic contains the following things:

-a Mary Sue who is the smartest and bestest at everything and everyone is half in love with her
-on the other hand, she does not get the guy
-on the third hand, her sister does (in a not-even-slightly-disguised May-December relationship! What were you thinking, teen!me? Actually, I think I had just read Damia, is what happened)
-then the Mary Sue dies tragically but also super heroically

The sequel fic I barely remembered at all, so it was… umm… very interesting to read. In this fic and the short story is a time-traveling gigantic worldwide shadow plot/conspiracy, because those are the best conspiracies (I am rather pleased to find that this love, at least, has remained constant). …teen!me actually had a good point that Murdoc makes more sense as a time-traveling conspirator than as an assassin.

Other things I did not remember about this sequel fic:

-a multigenerational and also crossover MacGyver family tree (in pencil) that manages to work in Sherlock Holmes as an ancestor of MacGyver and Spock as a descendant

-an explanation to how MacGyver (and other characters like Spock) manage never to get shot, etc.: they have genetically-transmitted luck

-a whole lot of vaguely unhappy marriages due to the genetically-transmitted luck trying to propagate itself (yes, I'd also read Dune around this time)

-characters who are named after all my favorite names in Patricia Kennealy's hilariously OTT crackfic "Keltic" books, which I was reaaally into at the time (I love them! But they are Arthurian crackfic!)

-MacGyver dies tragically (teen!me was really into angst)

-MacGyver's daughter, Aeron, is the heroine; she is named after and is very much like one of the heroines in the Kennealy books, down to having an angsty revenge plot after MacGyver's death

-Aeron and her friends have psychic powers, because of course they do (I had clearly also just read the Anne McCaffrey Pegasus books, and also the Judith Tarr historical fantasies)

-Aeron INVENTS STARFLIGHT, because she is that sort of character (Zefram Cochrane is her pseudonym) (this was of course before First Contact)

-Then Aeron might have turned into a dolphin?? (it was, of course, one of those ~edgy ambiguous~ endings where her body's never found but there's this seemingly sentient dolphin that hangs out with her family etc etc.)

-a lot of quotations/dialogue/scenes lifted wholesale from whatever I was reading at the time, in best Cassandra Claire style; in addition to the previous works, I spotted Ender's Game and various John M. Ford works, as well as a couple which I couldn't place but know came from somewhere else...

In conclusion, I really want to pat teen!me on the head.