Links: Tuesday, March 4th

March 4, 2014 Links 0

An image of what looks like a work of medieval embroidery. The words read "Behold! The field in which I grow my fucks. Lay thine eyes upon it and thou thalt see that it is barren."Verily I say unto ye

  • The Girl Myth in YA Fiction (And Beyond) – Kelly Jensen talks about the ways gender influences how readers talk about book characters.

    We talk at lengths, however, about female characters’ likability. And it’s a binary, with absolutely no room between the two end points. Female characters are either likable or they’re not — they aren’t allowed to be more dynamic or more than one of those two subjective, meaningless labels. Sure, she can be described as nice but with a wicked streak, but that ultimately makes her unlikable because she’s not easily identified as one simple thing.

    Readers do this in their reviews and reactions to girls in fiction. I don’t know how intentional these reactions are or if readers are even aware they’re doing this, but it’s there, and it happens again and again. If a girl character doesn’t fit a pretty box, and if she doesn’t act in a way the reader deems acceptable — either via their own life experiences or perceptions of how someone in a given situation should act — she’s unworthy.

  • Never Say Never Again – Author Emma Barry is back talking about religion in non-inspirational romance. She lists some books with religious characters in them and discusses the patterns that form.

    This entire series began as a discussion of why religion was never mentioned in non-inspirational romance, but we quickly decided “never” was too strong a word—people of faith do occasionally appear in genre romance. But what purpose are these people of faith serving in genre romance in the absence of a larger conversion narrative?

    So let us count the ways in which it’s acceptable to represent religion in genre romance!

  • Jeannie Lin Tells Us: How My Worst Seller Became a Bestseller and What it Means to Write “Different” – File this under “Yay! Good news for Jeannie Lin and China-set historicals!”

    A week ago, The Lotus Palace hit the USA Today Bestseller list. With how volatile the market is right now, I know not to take this blip as a gold ticket or validation or anything of the sort. All it did was answer a few questions: I saw that at a low price point, readers might take that leap. I also saw what immense support I had from readers and authors and bloggers within the romance community who wanted to see my books succeed. I haven’t seen anything else like it.

    On the same day that I found out my worst seller had become a bestseller, I received another bit of news. A friend told me of a co-worker who studies romance and occasionally teaches a romance class at university. This semester one of my books, My Fair Concubine, was on the class reading list.

  • Image Comics Publisher Calls Women “The Fastest Growing Demographic” In The Industry – This is music to my ears. If you haven’t read Image’s Saga yet, you probably should. It’s not perfect, and has some “I wouldn’t” moments with POC representations, but it’s really enjoyable so far.

    “Right now, the fastest growing demographic for Image Comics, and I’m willing to speculate, for the entire industry, is women. For years, I’ve listened to people talk about bringing more women into the marketplace. Over the last few years, with your help, we’ve been doing exactly that.

    We’re not the first to put out material that appealed to women – there’s a whole roomful of incredible people I wouldn’t be able to look in the eye if I made that kind of ludicrous claim – but I think we are among a select group in this industry who realize that there’s more to gain from broadening our horizons than by remaining staunchly beholden to the shrinking fan base that is supposedly excited about sequels to decrepit old crossovers like SECRET WARS II.”

  • Online trolls are just “everyday sadists,” according to new paper – So, there. Maybe we can finally put to bed the idea that anonymity turns decent people into assholes and the key to establishing civil discourse is to make people comment under their real names.

    In yet another instance of science belatedly confirming what common sense has already told us, a new paper from researchers at three Canadian universities concludes that Internet trolls aren’t just mean — they’re sadists and psychopaths.

    The paper, published last week in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, surveyed a group of several hundred on their Internet behaviors and personal traits. It found that trolling correlated with higher rates of sadism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism, a certain lack of scruples when it comes to deceiving or manipulating other people.
    “… it might be said that online trolls are prototypical everyday sadists,” the paper rules.

  • The Flying Aces of the First World War – Historian Michele Haapamäki writes a fascinating little feature on the pioneering airmen of WWI.

    At the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, historians are formulating revisions and counter-revisions about the larger aims of the conflict in an attempt to give it coherence and meaning. At the most basic level is the urge to make some sense of the War to End All Wars. Since the 1930s the ‘poet’s’ version of the stalemate of trench warfare and the slaughter of the Somme has predominated remembrance of the conflict. It is viewed as a chaotic mess of bumbling generals, poor Tommies, and Blackadder-style over-the-top charges into oblivion. There has, however, always been one class of fighter which managed (quite literally) to escape the inhumanity of the trenches. The intrepid fighter pilot alone embodied the individual agency and heroism of an imagined bygone era of gentlemanly warfare. They were viewed as a ‘breed apart,’ far removed from the indignities of ordinary warfare. The trenches of the Western Front dehumanized the individual man, but flying provided an alternative image of romance and bravery. Taking grave risks and facing enemies alone, the ‘Aces’ of the First World War were lauded with descriptions emphasizing the chivalry of their character. Their legend prompted intense interest in flying during the war itself, but there were also important carry-overs into the inter-war era. These developments had a powerful impact on how both air warfare and the solider himself would be viewed in preparation for the Second World War.

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An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.

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