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text 2016-04-29 23:00
Femme Friday - Written by Men

I know I tend to read women authors these days, and that's on purpose, but I grew up reading far more books by men. I wouldn't say more authors, just more books. King, Clancy and Cussler were my go-tos. Of course, Anne Rice and Anne McCaffrey were big back then too and I read all the Vampire Chronicles and the Rowan series. While literature in general does have a reputation for taking their female characters for granted, some have been worse than others. And some have been great. Over the years, I have read some great female characters that were written by men. They weren't perfect, but they're my favorite for a variety of reasons that do include that they could be actual women instead of that weird version of women that has been prevalent in literature and media. Some get through the cracks.

Here are my top 3 favorite female characters that were written by men. 

  1. Petra Arkanian (and Virlomi) from The Ender's Shadow Series Box Set - Orson Scott Card 
  2. Tally Youngblood from The Uglies Trilogy - Scott Westerfeld  
  3. Rose Daniels from Rose Madder - Stephen King  


While I haven't read George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, I have heard that he is wonderful at writing women. I know, just from watching the show,  that the women in it are varied, deal with their circumstances in different ways but that make good sense for their character types, and have varying amounts of strength as well as different ways of expressing strength and weakness and tenderness, much like real women. 

Also, King writes lots of great women, I think. Rose is the one that has stood out the most in my memory. I read that book as a teenager and still remember parts of her personality and reasoning for some decisions. I'm not sure why she's stuck out so much among all the other characters, but she has. The woman in Gerald's Game was interesting, too. I'm sure the details are jumbled in my memory with other things from other places, but Gerald's Game was one of those stories that was scary because it could happen to anyone. No supernatural elements there, just people who weren't being their best selves and harming others. It still gives me a shiver to think of, but I don't remember the woman sticking out quite as much as the surrounding circumstances, so I didn't want to include her. OSC also writes great women, like all the women from the Ender's Game series, except maybe Valentine. She was too perfect, but it could have been the way her brother sees her and therefore treats her. Not sure. But seriously,  I didn't even realize the Uglies series wasn't written by a woman, particularly given such a great female protagonist. It was my own ignorance at the time to assume such a thing based on the quality and choice of a female protagonist. I'm working on it, but the point is that she was a great female character as well as a great protagonist. 

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review 2014-12-05 01:37
Uglies - Scott Westerfeld

Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that?

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license - for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.

But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all.

The choice Tally makes changes her world forever... (source)


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text 2014-10-08 20:21
Five Awesome Steampunk Adventures


October is usually a time for orange leaves, pumpkins, ghouls, and ghosts. But, I think it should be a month of clockwork trains, aeronautical goggles, and steam-powered machines more amazing than you can imagine. In essence, October is steampunk.


October 15th marks the anniversary of when the New Orleans, the first US steamboat, made the long journey along the mighty Ohio and Mississippi Rivers from Pittsburgh, PA to New Orleans, LA. Owned by Robert Fulton and Robert R. Livingston, and built by Nicholas Roosevelt, the New Orleans was a marvel of its time and ushered in a new way for people to travel in luxury.


In honor of the New Orleans journey, here are 5 ways can have your own steampunk adventure in portable, but sadly not steam-powered, book form.


Boneshaker by Cherie Priest: There is no doubt that Cherie Priest has carved herself a name in the brass inner workings of the literary steampunk genre. The first novel in her Clockwork Century series has everything you could ever want from a steampunk novel. There are airships, pirates, strange and old-fashioned weaponry, and an adventure through zombie infested Seattle.


Mainspring by Jay Lake: Known for his phenomenal short storys, author Jay Lake has created one of the most ambitious steampunk novels to date. Mainspring is the story of a clock maker’s apprentice who is visited by an angel and tasked with winding the mainspring of the Earth. In Mainspring, Lake has created not just a steampunk society, but an entire planet.


Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld: Westerfeld reimagines World War I as a war between the Clankers who use giant mechanical behemoths, and the Darwinists who have modified animal biology to create their warriors. It is a fantastic piece of alternate history that is full of wonderful illustrations.


Steampunk Edited by Jeff and Ann VanderMeer: If you’re looking to dip your toe into the steampunk waters with some short stories from the likes of Michael Chabon, Neal Stephenson, Michael Moorcock, Joe R. Lansdale, and more, look no further than Steampunk. In addition to stories, the collection also features essays about the genre and it’s place within literature.


The Time Machine by H.G. Wells: It wouldn’t be a proper list of steampunk stories without The Time Machine. It is one of the grand-daddies of them all and really set the tone for steampunk to come. It has the Victorian setting, the technology that didn’t exist but is described in enough detail to make it seem real, and most importantly, it features a time-travelling adventure.

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url 2014-09-08 21:55
LonCon3 #20: YA on the Big Screen

Panellists: Carrie VaughnAmy H. SturgisMartin LewisThea James (The Book Smugglers), Erin M. Underwood

The YA publishing boom has been accompanied by a boom in film adaptations, but while some have seen commercial success others have stalled. What does it take to transition from book to film? Are there any special considerations when working with a young adult story? Modern YA is a genre with distinctive tropes — how are these being transferred to the screen? How is “classic” YA adapted in that context? Is this to the original story’s benefit or detriment? Which YA books have successfully made the transition–for good or ill? What stories would make great films, but haven’t yet been done?

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Source: literaryames.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/loncon3-20-ya-on-the-big-screen
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url 2014-09-03 21:58
LonCon3 #18: The Daughters of Buffy

Panellists: Foz MeadowsL.M. MylesTansy Rayner Roberts,Sarah ShemiltChristi Scarborough

At the end of last year, to mark ten years since the broadcast of the final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the BBC, Naomi Alderman made a special edition of the Radio 4 programme Front Row, featuring interviews with cast, creator, and critics. Among other things, she asked what the show’s legacy had been, and whether the right lessons — female characters written as well as men, given as much narrative importance as men, and surrounded by other women — had been learned. Following on from her discussion, our panel will ask: who are Buffy’s heirs? (And you can listen to the original programme here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03m7zmq)

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Source: literaryames.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/loncon3-18-the-daughters-of-buffy
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