Forthcoming Stuff

Apologies for the relative silence on the subject of writing lately, folks. I’m still hard at work on book 1 of the new trilogy I’m writing for Orbit, which as yet still has no real name other than “Untitled Magic Seismology Project”. It’s going slow, as all my new worlds are wont to do when I’m first creating them, but steadily — I’m at 25K words now. Hampered by the dayjob a bit, since it’s the beginning of the school year and I am working ALL THE HOURS, but there’s always the weekends. More on this much, much later.

Review copies of AFTER have been sighted in the wild! And you can preorder it now! The apocalyptically awesome ToC is here, if you don’t remember.

Cover of anthology. Person's silhouette against image of a burning city.

Also, been working on a seekrit project lately. I got invited to participate in the forthcoming 2013 Fantasy Pinup Calendar being put together by Pat Rothfuss’ Worldbuilders charity, with artist Lee Moyer. I have to admit, I’m a little iffy about pinups. In principle they’re a great idea, and beautiful when they’re done artfully enough… but in practice pinups have traditionally focused on white women to the exclusion of all others. Being the sort of woman who prefers beefcake to cheese, I initially thought about asking the artist to insert Nahadoth — though I would’ve left the choice to him as to whether to make Naha male or female, in deference to Naha’s nature. But then the artist and I talked, and I tentatively mentioned that being a pinup spread didn’t really fit the personality of any of my characters*… except one. Oree — snarky, hedonistic, unselfconscious thing that she is — would totally be tickled by the idea. But I’ve never seen a pinup with a black woman. They did exist — trigger warning on that link for some ugly racist remarks, and also borderline NSFW — but they were rare, and seen almost exclusively in publications aimed at the black audience, on the assumption that no one else would want to see a black woman looking hot. Which is painfully ironic considering all the ways in which black women have historically been sexualized in every other aspect of life. I worried, even as I suggested Oree, about contributing to the stereotype of black women as sexually voracious, etc.… but done tastefully, I think an image of Oree being sexy could be a positive thing. The problem with the stereotypes is their exaggeration of normal sexuality, and their transformation of ordinary women into caricatures of people. Maybe depicting an ordinary woman — one my readers will know, having “lived in her skin” for awhile — enjoying her perfectly normal sexuality, can help to combat that.

So I got to chatting with Lee, and talked about Oree’s personality, and how she doesn’t notice anything else when she’s painting, and how she really doesn’t care what other people think of her; she’s very self-contained, so to speak. She just wouldn’t give a fuck if people see her naked or nearly so; physical beauty means little to her, and modesty even less. She also doesn’t think like a sighted person; she’ll wear something because it’s made of nice-feeling cloth, or because it smells good, regardless of how it might actually look. Lee sounded so excited as we talked that I got excited too! So I’m really looking forward to seeing her. I’ll post the image here when I receive it. In the meantime, here’s the calendar cover — and check that list of contributors. ::wibble:: I’m in good company!

Cover of 2013 calendar

So, that’s things in Noraland. How’s it going for you?

* Nahadoth would’ve worked. But then Nahadoth is pretty much an eldritch abomination that just happens to be in humanoid shape; that kind of sexy has a serious side of creepy, and not everybody finds that a turn-on.

13 Responses »

  1. I like your thoughts on Oree as a pin-up girl in that calendar. I’m usually fairly iffy of things that involve the sexualization of women (and men, too, but in ultimate honesty, the negativity behind the image of women as purely sexual creatures is more present in my mind than the same thing for men…), but I think Oree is a good choice, for the options you listed and more.

    (Though I admit to a weakness for Nahadoth-style sexy-creepy too, so if that sort of calendar ever gets made, I’ll be standing in line to purchase it, I’m sure!)

  2. I’ve been very iffy on the calendar too; I love most of the authors represented, but do we have to see their female characters sexualized? (Why not, say, the male characters? I’m sure a large percentage of their reading audience would be more enthusiastic about that…)

    But seeing your reasoning here, I’m actually getting excited for Oree. :)

  3. I would buy it based on the title of “Magic Seismology Project” alone.

  4. I have no objection to pinups (male or female) because I like to think of them as having been done consensually, rather than the narstiness that becomes desperate pr0n work (and I have friends who have done pinup work – not necessarily nekkid, just definitely sensual). But I do come from a place from which I can appreciate male/female/trans pinups of any race, simply looking at the beauty exuded by the model. It helps to have been exposed to the all-gender-all-colour-all-size shows that are involved in burlesque – these people are doing it because they love it, and they’re beautiful because they’re doing what they love. I see beefcake and cheesecake pinups in *that* light as opposed to the hideously ‘shopped and airbrushed stuff you can get in pr0n (which I don’t consider particularly beautiful).

    So, I would be THRILLED to see Oree doing what she does, in pinup style :)

  5. Hi, much appreciate the link, though please be aware the trigger alert refers not to my OWN writing, but to a racist quote the photographer himself put into the collection of his (ground-breaking) pin-up photographs. I’m the messenger! I’m also with you. The material on the history of the black pin up was compiled into a self-published book “Secret History of the Black Pin Up: Women of Color from Pin up to Porn” which addresses the social climate and obscenity laws surrounding African-American woman in what can best be called the smut business of the 1950s and 1960s. Since the story hadn’t been told, I tried to! Thanks for noticing, and trust this writer may find objectionable things, but he is not objectionable himself! Jim Linderman

  6. Delurking to express my unfettered squee! about the new trilogy.

    Also, I’m really really looking forward to seeing an image of Oree’s face, in particular. When I’m reading, I almost never get a clear idea of faces – which serves as protection from being horrified by the movie versions, because as long as the actor matches the general description of the character, I can adjust. But it’s a richer experience if I have a face to put with the name.

  7. I thought you might like to see this, given your wariness over the pinup calendar. I’m not really a big fan of Jezebel, but this post talks a bit about some uncomfortable stuff regarding Patrick Rothfuss’s attitudes towards women. I happened across it today, and since I’d just read this post yesterday, I thought I’d link you to it.

    http://jezebel.com/5942221/is-this-bestselling-fantasy-author-sexist

    The author of the OP seems to take issue with the pin-up calendars in general, not having a specific complaint about them, so it might not be a thing. And it sounds like Lee Moyers is more in charge of that.

    *shrugs*

    I just started following your blog, by the by. I picked up “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” just last week, and I’m looking forward to getting the next book.

  8. For all the ladies, here is the pin-up picture of the hottest male super-hero: http://jhalaldrut.blogspot.dk/2011/01/ghost-rider-is-going-heavy.html

  9. I also wish to add, that as a male, I have nothing against sexualizing my gender. Nothing against chip&dales, against playgirl magazines, against male pin ups, etc. Okay, males have had it pretty good, I know, but that is just another reason not to have anything against male sexualization.

    I do think, that as human beings, each of us has his or her own sexual dreams. The problem is, I think, when we don’t give the proper respect to our peers, a respect that all people are entitled to. That as a human being, he or she has the right to choose what to do with him/herself. If we don’t give it, we objectify the certain person or group, and objectification is more versatile than sexualization.

    For example, a certain Eastern-European politician (Istv├ín Varga) found guilty in domestic violence, and he argued, that in fact, he is the victim – if women would born 4-5 childs (which is, according to him, their duty), and raise them, as nature intended to (also according to him), then there would not be any domestic violence, and emancipation would result in our species dying out. (Which logic is actually groin attack to the brain, but lets hope that karma will do its job, and that asshole would pay.) Which is a case of objectifying women as baby-machines.

    All in all, I wished to say, that the evil lies in, when somebody thinks that he has the right to tell others, what to do with their own body and life, and believing that the sole purpose of the life of the others is to please him, to use them for his own goals, taking away their choice.

  10. Sivi,

    My wariness is toward pinups in general. I have the last “Check This Out” calendar, and as pinups go it was tasteful — although lacking in women of color, which isn’t surprising given that it was centered on white-writer-heavy canonical American literature — which was why I decided to go along with the project this year, and why I chose Oree over Nahadoth. I do think there’s some value in trying to reclaim old art forms that were problematic in the past, by explicitly addressing their flaws in the present. I know everybody’s mileage varies on how/if this works; I know some feminist thinkers have written off pinups as irredeemable. I’m still thinking about it.

    Re Rothfuss, I can’t speak to his attitudes towards women because I don’t know him (met him all of twice), and I don’t really see the issue with the blog post excerpts in that article. He seems a decent fellow. But then, I’m of the belief that sexism is a frame of mind, and nearly all of us — having been raised in sexist societies — think like sexists unless we make a conscious and constant effort not to. So I kind of take issue with that article’s framing of sexism as a personality trait. I also take issue with the article’s implication that the calendar is inherently sexist because 58% of its writers are male. Because a) that’s quibbling over what most people, especially in fantasy, would call a good gender balance, and b) it implies that women can’t be sexist. That’s not how this stuff works.

  11. *nods*

    It was mostly the first post I found objectionable, and since the article mentioned the calendar, I thought I’d bring it up.

    I do think it’s worthwhile pointing out when someone’s been sexist, or has shown a history of acting that way, though I could see where it would be better to say “X has done/said something sexist” than “X is a sexist”.

    On the pinup front, have you seen this series of men in classic pinup poses? I haven’t read the article, but it was the first hit with this series that I found. http://www.featureshoot.com/2011/10/men-ups/

  12. Hi Jim,

    I thought that was pretty clear for anyone who actually followed the link and saw the historical quotes, actually. Great site!

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