Links: a mish mash

Being Edited

Em Short on editing in interactive fiction. I’m generally interested in interactive fiction, especially as it becomes a bigger form, nowadays. I’ve only used beta readers on mine, though I have tried a sort of exit survey for them. But because I’ve mostly done IF for fun, I wouldn’t dream of asking someone to do anything like a normal story critique. I’d like to, but it’s a lot harder.

‘Body Hacking’ Movement Rises Ahead Of Moral Answers

This is fascinating and I think a lot about transhumanism and body hacking, but clearly I have a line because the guy described at the end of the article creeps me the heck out. Like, the photo of him makes my scalp itch. However, I do like the line “The philosophers, he said, are letting us down.”

Innovation for What? The Politics of Inequality in Higher Education | Dissent Magazine

What it means to move innovation into the academic sphere (spoiler: Nothing that great) and how it fails students. I want to quote the whole article, but will settle on this:

“A 2015 Pell Institute report demonstrates that the past three decades have seen drastically widening gaps between rich and poor students in attendance and completion rates. And Elizabeth Armstrong and Laura Hamilton show in their 2013 book Paying for the Party how higher education reinforces inequality not only in numbers but in ways that permeate people’s lives and opportunities, from where they live to whom they socialize with. Those results might be fine for a country living under an aristocracy, but not for a democracy. And they have snowballed under the banner of innovation.”

Who Cares for Feminism?

Melissa Gira Grant in Pacific Standard laying down some historical truths very plainly. Feminism needs to exist for poor women and non-white women, women demeaned by capitalism and attacked by racism.

“Women took the women’s movement to mean their progress up the capitalist ladder,” James said. “Nothing has changed but the gender of those who exploit us.”

Emphasis added.

How Gallaudet University’s Architects Are Redefining Deaf Space

Accessible design is so fascinating to me. “Now 10 years old, DeafSpace is an architectural approach that springs from the particular ways Deaf people perceive and inhabit space. …That share is likely to rise as tens of millions of Baby Boomers reach their seventies and eighties. Why should the places designed for them take hearing as a given?”

mostly short things (twir)


Mulaghesh from the Divine Cities trilogy, drawn by Chanh Quach, from a project in progress (!)

Finished City of Blades and I can’t talk about it. I want to talk about it. Read it so we can talk about it.

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Love, Death — Caroline M. Yoachim in Lightspeed

I’m not entirely sure I understood this story (time travel is hard) but gosh it was wonderful. I really liked the structural things Caroline did, with rock/paper/scissors and the probabilities of survival. Following items as they appeared and disappeared was almost like watching a magic trick. I sort of want to draw out the loops of this story. I feel like it would be very pretty.

The Creeping Women — Christopher Barzak in Uncanny Magazine

Take The Yellow Wallpaper, twist it slightly, put it in another character’s head, extend. This story.

Part of me glares at this story as I am still trying to figure out how to retell The Yellow Wallpaper as interactive fiction. I’ve not gotten far.

not fiction

Inside the Eye: Nature’s Most Exquisite Creation — National Geographic

This is fascinating, and also made me remember how an anti-evolution speaker came to my youth group when I was a wee young lass and scoffed, “What good is half an eye? If evolution is true, at some point there was something less than an eye, and what good is that? That animal never could’ve survived.”

Well. Sir. I give you…actual facts.

He also had this whole thing about the exquisite planning involved in the Bombardier Beetle’s namesake move, as though there aren’t a hundred weird evolutionary mis-steps leftover in humans alone.

Is there something weird about our taste for apocalypse stories? — Frank Bures in Aeon

That feeling, that panic, comes from those moments when this fact is unavoidable. It comes from being unable to not see what we’ve become – a planet-changing superorganism. It is from the realisation that I am part of it.

She Who Must Be Obeyed (TWIR)

Oh no my library loan ran out on Waking the Moon how tragic that I don’t get to finish.

Clipping from a Wonder Woman comic, with Wonder Woman saying "Back! All men are banned from this island by Aprodite's Law!"
Just base a graduate class on this image and I’m there.

In addition to the Book About Writing Craft that I’m reading, I started reading She: A History of Adventure by H. Rider Haggard, and while it’s enjoyable in a way, I have this sneaking suspicion that it’s not going to end how I’d like it to.

If anyone wants to start a turn-of-the-century feminist/utopia/adventure book club, I am in. Tentative syllabus: She, Herland, The Sultana’s Dream, Mizora, New Amazonia, Man’s Rights… Arqtiq sounds fun, being described as “exuberantly incoherent” so how can I resist? As a voice on the other side, The Republic of the Future and Unveiling a Parallel, maybe?

I spent some time on Wikipedia just now and had a lot of fun.

Short things

I’m really into fairy tales this week.

East of the Sun and West of the Moon - A fairy tale from Norway.

She rode a long, long way, until they came to a large steep cliff. The white bear knocked on it. A door opened, and they came into a castle, where there were many rooms all lit up; rooms gleaming with silver and gold. Further, there was a table set there, and it was all as grand as grand could be. Then the white bear gave her a silver bell; and when she wanted anything, she only had to ring it, and she would get it at once.

Our Fairy Tales Ourselves: Storytelling From East to West – Fairy tales and stories beyond the Hero’s Journey. I added quite a few things to my to-read list from this essay.

TWIR: Vicious mermaids and cross-dressing knights

Because it had to go back to the library, I read Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant in about two days. It was fine! I wanted more from the story, though. “A schlocky faux-cumentary company discovers that mermaids are real, and they’re territorial predators” is a good start, but as it doesn’t go much beyond that, it could’ve been a short story.

The other book I read is the one that has provoked the most interaction I’ve ever experienced on Goodreads. Did you know apparently every girl but me read the Alanna books when they were younger? I didn’t! I was kind of aware of Tamora Pierce but never ever read a word by her. Until now!

Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, #1)Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

My rating: 🐎🐎🐎🐎 (4/5 valiant steeds)

In an adult book, the fact that this is courtly-medievalish-knights-and-magic-and-nefarious-dukes would make me drop it like it was a poisonous damn snake, but in this case? *shrug* Alanna is fun!

Read the whole review

To semi-restate my review, if I hadn’t had my inner twelve-year-old come out to read this, I would have been less patient with a few things about it. But it’s not for adults with adult perspectives! It’s not for a grown up who’s seen too many Perfectly Talented Heroes! It’s for a kid, who wants to read about girls being amazing. Plus Alanna isn’t Perfectly Talented. She has that Gift, but otherwise she works hard at all her skills, and is, apparently, constantly exhausted from working so hard. (On the other hand, nearly everyone adores her, which is perhaps the least believable thing from an adult perspective. But that’s okay!)

Anyway, the rest of the Alanna books are sure to appear on my Kindle in the near future.

Short Things

The Hogwarts founders from Andrea Castagno’s paintings of various people. – deviantArt user kala-way

Sorting Hogwarts: Charting a Deeper Meaning to the Four Houses – A while back Twitter friend @keepthemuse apparently wrote a long, thoughtful piece about a better sorting guideline for Hogwarts and it is really great. Doing the Lord’s work, he is.

Lotus Face and the Fox by Nghi Vo in Uncanny Magazine – Lovely and short, with a great soft ending. I really liked the use of masks, and the emotion that comes through.

Okay, friends, it’s a gloomy rainy day and my cat is sleeping on my bed, so I’m out.

TWIR: Vattu is really good and you should read it.

This week has not been that heavy on reading. I don’t know what I’ve been doing instead. Forgetting to go to the library! Not going to the grocery store! Working! Holiday parties! Cat-bothering!

Anyway, I did manage a few reading things of note.

vattubannerI finally sat down and read book one of Vattu. I’ve loved Evan Dahm’s work since he was posting Rice Boy. I love it so much I can’t bear to stay up-to-date. I don’t read his comics as he posts them online, though I’m terribly tempted now! I love the experience of the larger collection of pages, and I do read differently on the computer. I’ll just have to wait until I can pick up book two!

Anyway, Vattu is really good, and wordless for long stretches, showing off this beautiful and strange world and telling a story through character movement, color, mirrored poses, tiny changes of expression… It’s the story of a girl who is born into a tribe when everything seems to be changing. And it is great.

In various small bits of downtime this week, I’ve been re-reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and it is even better than I remember. Is that possible? It was always my favorite (Half-Blood Prince was a strong contender but I don’t think it beats PoA) but it’s been so long since I read it. I forgot how funny it is, and how tightly plotted (for what it is; i’m sure someone could come in and poke holes in it, but please don’t). But of course the real thing making me enjoy it So Dang Much is that I’m no less of a Marauders fan now than I ever was. Bias, I have it.

Short things

My friend Mindy is going to be writing a column called How to Be a Girl for Brain Mill Press! Here is her first column, about the Joy Luck Club and representation and feelings.


Mallory’s Texts from Carmilla at The Toast. You know, I’m not always interested in yet another “texts from” post, but when they hit, lord how I love them. Also, thanks to the comments, I’ve started watching the webseries! It’s pretty fun!

Next time on TWIR: Year in review. Maybe a special feature just on Genres I Tried To Get Into And How Did I Do With That???