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Our linkpost got fractured in the echo and the sway November 26, 2015

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This week’s post is a day early, as I’m going to be in London tomorrow and away from a computer. It’s also going to be fairly Jessica Jones heavy, but I will separate those links off from everything else.

Building on the ongoing conversation about conventions’ failure to provide a safe and accessible experience for disabled attendees, Mary Robinette Kowal has started a SFF convention accessibility pledge, which I encourage everyone who’s likely to attend a convention to sign.

These two posts by Rose Lemberg on the experiences of disabled fans, and the dismissal of their concerns and requests for accommodations and accessibility, are really important, and I encourage you to read them.

Michelle Vider writes: Station Eleven is a love letter to technology, one I never could have written myself.

Isabel Yap put together a fantastic collection of recommendations of Filipina poets, many of whom were new to me. I highly recommend reading their work.

Here’s Kate Elliott on ’10 Fantasy Novels Whose Depiction of Women Did Not Make Me Want to Smash Things’.

Kate Elliott also dropped by the Fangirl Happy Hour podcast.

This recent Galactic Suburbia podcast was also great.

More Isobelle Carmody:

Of the many readers Carmody has met, some have made lasting impressions. The young woman who established the fan site obernewtyn.net has become a close friend. Another has proved a sharp-eyed editor for Carmody’s unpublished books. Many have said they feel that the conclusion of The Obernewtyn Chronicles marks the end of their childhood.

Sophia McDougall’s post on trigger/content warnings said a lot of things that I’ve been trying to say on the matter for a while. Needless to say, content warning for discussion of abuse.

I loved this article about the depiction of early motherhood on Jane the Virgin

Phoebe Robinson talks about ‘How Daria Shaped A Generation of Women (Particularly This Black One)’.

I loved this photoshoot, in which five authors dressed up as their favourite fictional characters.

There are new reviews up on Those Who Run With Wolves. Aliette de Bodard reviewed Black Wolves by Kate Elliott. I reviewed Serpentine by Cindy Pon.

Jessica Jones links

I’m somewhat astonished by the intensity of my reaction to, and identification with, this show, but it’s clear that I’m not alone in this.

‘Marvel’s Newest Show Makes Surviving Trauma A Superpower’ goes a long way toward explaining the strength of my feelings about this show.

Jessica Jones is a primer on gaslighting, and how to protect yourself against it. Oh, my heart.

Renay of Ladybusiness and Ana of Booksmugglers discussed it on Twitter, and Charles Tan made a Storify of their conversation.

I’ll link you more with every breath, truly, madly, deeply do May 22, 2015

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So. Lots of stuff to get through this week, as my corner of the internet has been particularly full of people doing wonderful, clever and awesome things.

Rochita Loenen-Ruiz had a busy week. Here’s Rochita on the uses of anger, her new short story, and being interviewed for Lightspeed magazine’s author spotlight.

Catherine Lundoff has had so many submissions to her ‘Older Women in SFF’ recommendations post that she’s had to split it into two. Part one, part two.

I really liked this review of Zen Cho’s writing by Naomi Novik.

This review by Sarah Mesle of the most recent episode of Game of Thrones made a lot of points I’ve been struggling to articulate. Content note for discussion of violence, abuse and rape.

I really appreciated this thoughtful post by Tade Thompson on safety, community and dissent.

Natalie Luhrs makes some really important points here:

This is part of the ongoing conversation about the importance of different voices in our community. About making space for people who have been told–explicitly and implicitly–that what they have to say isn’t worthwhile and that they need to sit down and listen and that someday, maybe, they’ll be allowed to speak.

This list of Best Young Australian novelists looks great, and reflects the Australia that I grew up in. Congratulations to all the winners!

I have to admit that the #hometovote hashtag has been making me cry.

I wrote two longish posts this week. One is here at the Geata: a review of Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. The other is over on LJ/Dreamwidth, and is a primer to Sophia McDougall’s Romanitas trilogy.

My mother is a radio journalist. Her programme this week is on Eurovision, and you can listen to it here (not geoblocked). There are additional features here. I am an unashamed Eurovision fan, and as you can see, it runs in the family.

Texts from Hieronymous Bosch made me laugh and laugh.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Things we lost in the fire May 21, 2015

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I’m normally a very fast reader, but it took me close to two weeks to finish Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, because I had to keep pausing and putting it aside. What it was saying was too overwhelming, too upsetting, and too much to carry. I loved it.

Station Eleven takes a fairly conventional disaster novel trope – a virulent disease wipes out the majority of the world’s population in a very short period of time – and carries it further, imagining how society might reshape itself after complete collapse. Unlike a lot of recent dystopian novels, Station Eleven actually explores what societal collapse, a dramatically reduced population and scarcity of resources would really look like. People’s capacity for violence – sometimes presented as innate and given free rein in dystopian frontier communities – is restricted in that bullets run out so guns become obsolete, let alone more technologically advanced weaponry. As such, violence takes on a more intimate quality: people carry knives, heavy stones, bows and arrows, and tattoo reminders of the murders they’ve committed onto their skin. The world darkens as sources of electricity and other power are shut off, and fuel supplies run out (or too few people survive to be able to extract and distribute petrol), so cars fall silent and the skies are emptied of planes. Within months, people’s worlds become restricted to the distances they can comfortably travel, enforcing a limited existence more akin to that of pre-industrial times.

If that’s not heavy enough, the novel jumps between several different chronologies, so that a strand of it deals with the period just before the outbreak, a second strand follows several characters through the immediate aftermath, and a third deals with the world twenty years on. The focal characters in this third chronology were alive before the collapse, some as small children, others as middle-aged adults, which allows St. John Mandel to devote a significant portion of the novel to exploring ideas of grief, loss, and the effect of memory and the passage of time. Is it better to grow up in a post-apocalyptic world with limited options, but to view this as normal, or better to have had fifty years of full, well-lived life in the twenty-first century, only to have this brutally ripped away and viewed as science fiction by the generations who come after you? Is it fair to teach children born after the outbreak about the old world, when they have no frame of reference for its trappings and will only be angered by the relative limits of their existence (the book mentions, in particular, reduced lifespans)? What is the purpose of preserving artifacts and memories? Who is it serving?

If all this sounds pretty grim, there are moments of light. The world that remains after the outbreak has burnt through it is harsh, but not deliberately brutal. St. John Mandel recognises, as few writers of dystopian fiction seem to, that humanity has survived for so long because human beings are adaptable, and because they cooperate and compromise in order to ensure their own safety and survival. People in Station Eleven adapt. They form scattered communities wherever they wind up when they can’t keep running from the outbreak, in disused shopping centres, in highway petrol stations, in airports surrounded by rusting aeroplanes. They teach their children. They memorise Shakespeare and ransack abandoned houses for musical instruments, and form a band of wandering actors and musicians. In moments particularly moving for me, they set up libraries, and interview whoever passes through their tiny communities, preserving people’s stories because there’s still a sense that history, that stories, that the people behind them matter. They build museums of obsolete artifacts of the old world: driver’s licenses and credit cards and iPhones with cracked screens, and angst about whether these memories are things that should be dwelt upon.

Ultimately, Station Eleven is a beautiful, moving love song to humanity. It imagines a terrifying future, and it shows us how to have the courage to endure it.