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Feminist SF Essay Opportunity!

Not long ago, I posted a critique of android sex worker stories here.

Apropos, as a matter of fact, since one, The Windup Girl, just won the Nebula (2009) and Compton Crook award (2010), was nominated for the Hugo (2010).

We would like to publish a detailed review of this book through a critical race/gender theory lens. So tell your friends at Broad Universe and Wiscon, and contact me if you want more information.

Those of you in/from Thailand (or Malaysia or China) might care about this project, too, and might have something to say about this book. I'd be especially interested in hearing, and publishing, your voices on this.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
coalescent
Jun. 1st, 2010 10:13 pm (UTC)
Karen Burnham's take on the book and subsequent discussion may be of interest. My own take is here.
prezzey
Jun. 1st, 2010 11:37 pm (UTC)
There is also a review on Beyond Victoriana.

Karen Burnham's take on the book

I'm quite surprised by this review, she raises many important issues and then still ends up saying "I wouldn't be offended if it won the Hugo, and I may still vote it #1, I'm not sure" in the comments.

And if I read your review right, you will also put the book on your Hugo ballot?

(I haven't read it yet, but both reviews sound like the problems with this novel would be dealbreakers for me. Of course YMMV.)
coalescent
Jun. 2nd, 2010 07:26 am (UTC)
And if I read your review right, you will also put the book on your Hugo ballot?

I did put it on my Hugo nominating ballot. I don't have a vote in the final ballot, this year. I think it has many virtues, not least the urgency that goes into its setting, tackling a host of issues too much sf ignores. (I have no idea how the BV reviewer ended up thinking it was set in an alternate 19th century!) And for me, as I say in the review, one of the achievements of the book is that Emiko is gradually reframed as precisely not other, as being in a key sense the most human character in the book. But you can certainly argue the character has too much metaphoric/thematic weight to bear to stand up as a character.
fantasyecho
Jun. 2nd, 2010 01:33 am (UTC)
I wrote the BV review, and I still hate what I hated, even after comments defending some of the book's choices in setting. In fact, I had a conversation with ktempest about it at WisCon, and she told me apparently Bacigalupi was trying to do something with the rape scenes and judging by the reviews, it'd failed, and hearing what he was trying to do, I think I hate it even more. Which is a damned shame, considering how well-done a couple of elements were. Feel free to re-print my review if you like.

ktempest said that she's going to try to set up a conversation between Bacigalupi, Jeremy Lessing (the editor), and a couple of readers, including myself, to discuss what worked and what didn't.
spacehawk
Jun. 2nd, 2010 03:02 am (UTC)
I read your review! Thank you.

Did you see the Take Back The SF panel? I saw it at Arisia last January, and it went very well. I think a discussion about this book would fit in very well with the subject of the panel, either at Wiscon or at Arisia.

Rather than reprinting your BV review, would you be open to writing another one, focusing more on the race, gender and rape elements (in light of my post about Android sex workers, No Country For Strangers, Bacigalupi's comments, and the developments at Wiscon)? It's fine to acknowledge the good elements at the beginning, but I want a piece that focuses on an analysis of the elements that did not work, and why, and why it's still not only OK to do this in SF, but this sort of fail can, and does, win awards. That disturbs me even more than the fact that this sort of thing gets published by the Big Publishers/Editors.

Edited at 2010-06-02 03:04 am (UTC)
fantasyecho
Jun. 2nd, 2010 03:25 am (UTC)
I did attend the panel! I live-tweeted it with the #sfredux hashtag, because I'm not good at transcribing.

I would be open to the concept, although I really hate it at the moment, but my books are currently in storage, including Windup Girl.

It really is disturbing that it wins awards, and gets so many accolades. It reminds me of how invisible these issues are to most readers, to be honest, and how, at large and unquestioningly, society still hates women.
spacehawk
Jun. 2nd, 2010 11:39 am (UTC)
You really hate the book, or the concept of writing an essay like the one I described?

If you hate the idea I am proposing, by all means, I'll find another person to ask! I strongly prefer a voice from the region, so the essay can cover the racial and ethnic issues more accurately and authentically, but an essay that focuses just on the gender and rape aspects I believe is certainly worth putting out there.

It really is disturbing that it wins awards, and gets so many accolades. It reminds me of how invisible these issues are to most readers, to be honest, and how, at large and unquestioningly, society still hates women.

This. I am strongly getting the feeling, from this example and others, that insensitivity to Others is something that folks are expected to ignore during the awards process. Or was it just men that nominated and voted, here?

Edited at 2010-06-02 11:39 am (UTC)
coalescent
Jun. 2nd, 2010 07:27 am (UTC)
I would be fascinated to read that conversation, and hope it happens!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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