Came across this in my research for New Dresden Blues—it’s an excellent, thorough breakdown of the formula for a typical mystery novel. I think people tend to sneer at “formulaic” stories (romance is another good example), and I think that has a lot to do with the kind of genre snobbery that makes me gnash my teeth and go off on rants about low culture and bookstore ghettoization, so we’ll leave that be for now. Ultimately, though, familiarity with different story structures can only be a good thing. Formula exists for a reason, in that it is often the most recognizable and coherent form a story can take. If you’re going to break formula (and everyone does in some way!) it should be because your decision enhances the story, not out of elitism or some nonsense.
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein. (via riverran)
#mary shelley #this quote though #it’s all kinds of wonderful #hey remember that time one asswipe was like you have 30 seconds to name something invented by a woman… #…and Mary was like SCIENCE FICTION MOTHERFUCKERS #that was awesome #thanks Mary Shelley (via snappily)
And the next time someone starts claiming that teenage girls have ruined the horror genre with romance or whatever you can be like, hey dicksmack, teenage girls and romance built your genre so sit the fuck down.
compulsive auto reblog
i want this tattooed on me at some point
Welcome, gentle readers! Not being a quote-oriented person in general, I have nonetheless located for you the best passage from the most quotable book of all time, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. You’re welcome.
Another thing that got forgotten was the fact that against all probability a sperm whale had suddenly been called into existence several miles above the surface of an alien planet.
And since this is not a naturally tenable position for a whale, this poor innocent creature had very little time to come to terms with its identity as a whale before it then had to come to terms with not being a whale any more.
This is a complete record of its thoughts from the moment it began its life till the moment it ended it.
Ah … ! What’s happening? it thought.
Er, excuse me, who am I?
Why am I here? What’s my purpose in life?
What do I mean by who am I?
Calm down, get a grip now … oh! this is an interesting sensation, what is it? It’s a sort of … yawning, tingling sensation in my … my … well I suppose I’d better start finding names for things if I want to make any headway in what for the sake of what I shall call an argument I shall call the world, so let’s call it my stomach.
Good. Ooooh, it’s getting quite strong. And hey, what’s about this whistling roaring sound going past what I’m suddenly going to call my head? Perhaps I can call that … wind! Is that a good name? It’ll do … perhaps I can find a better name for it later when I’ve found out what it’s for. It must be something very important because there certainly seems to be a hell of a lot of it. Hey! What’s this thing? This … let’s call it a tail – yeah, tail. Hey! I can can really thrash it about pretty good can’t I? Wow! Wow! That feels great! Doesn’t seem to achieve very much but I’ll probably find out what it’s for later on. Now – have I built up any coherent picture of things yet?
Never mind, hey, this is really exciting, so much to find out about, so much to look forward to, I’m quite dizzy with anticipation …
Or is it the wind?
There really is a lot of that now isn’t it?
And wow! Hey! What’s this thing suddenly coming towards me very fast? Very very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like … ow … ound … round … ground! That’s it! That’s a good name – ground!
I wonder if it will be friends with me?
And the rest, after a sudden wet thud, was silence.
Lyra, from His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
I was having a conversation with hatalie a couple weeks ago, and she said something about why Lyra is such a great character. “It’s because in a book about repression by the Church, her biggest virtues are things considered sinful.” And it’s true! She uses heavily moralized, feminine-coded, weapons of the weak. She lies, she questions authority, she masters the kind of knowledge they value most, and she uses it against them. Just like they were afraid of.
What an utter badass.
Monstrous Regiment, by Terry Pratchett
This was a brilliant takedown of the “girl crossdresses in order to do boy things” trope, which is, I will be honest, my fucking crack (see also: Jackaroo, Kingston by Starlight, The Rope School, the Alanna books). But that doesn’t mean i don’t appreciate a good deconstruction, and certain hallmarks of that trope deserve some serious critique: femme-shaming, binary reinforcement, and the Inevitable Heterosexual Love Interest among them. I think Pratchett did a bang-up job addressing and subverting most all of them.
The book had dark, thoughtful things to say about the performativity of gender and the abuse of soldiers during wartime, while also being face-blisteringly funny and at times really genuinely adorable. Sorry if I led you to believe it was a Serious Novel of any sort, there are plenty of weird-ass Discworld shenanigans going on throughout!
Warchild, by Karin Lowachee: In case you ever thought Master and Commander was not gay enough or in outer space enough. Also in case you wanted to annoy your friends gibbering about your feels in the middle of the night. If you like equal parts GRITTY ESPIONAGE, SUPER UPSETTING VILLAINS, and BEAUTIFUL SAD BOYS.
There are two more books in this series and I want them in my eyeballs now. :(
I first came across this story a couple years ago. It is of course relevant to my particular interests, what with the sex robots and all. But it also does a great job looking at the societal implications of sex robots. What would that mean for privacy? Identity? Rape culture?
Also, it’s apparently about to be anthologized in a book called Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction, so—yay! It’s very creepy-clever-charming. Go give it a read.