Archives de Tag: writers

Ursula K. Le Guin: « I am a man »

Inspired by the latest kerfuffle-brouhaha-thingy that doesn’t want to die, but also something that has been lurking on my mind from some time…

The Wave in the Mind, essays by Ursula K. Le Guin (cover)

Ursula K. Le Guin once wrote an essay beginning like this:

I am a man. Now you may think I’ve made some kind of silly mistake about gender, or maybe that I’m trying to fool you, because my first name ends in a, and I own three bras, and I’ve been pregnant five times, and other things like that that you might have noticed, little details. But details don’t matter. If we have anything to learn from politicians it’s that details don’t matter. I am a man, and I want you to believe and accept this fact, just as I did for many years.

You see, when I was growing up at the time of the Wars of the Medes and the Persians and when I went to college just after the Hundred Years War and when I was bringing up my children during the Korean, Cold and Vietnam Wars, there were no women. Women are a very recent invention. I predate the invention of women by decades. Well, if you insist on pedantic accuracy, women have been invented several times in widely varying localities, but the inventors just didn’t know how to sell the product. […] Models like the Austen and the Brontë were too complicated, and people just laughed at the Suffragette, and the Woolf was too far ahead of its time.

So when I was born, there actually were only men. People were men. They all had one pronoun, his pronoun; that’s who I am. I am the generic he, as in, « If anybody needs to have an abortion he will have to go to another state, » or « A writer knows which side his bread is buttered on. » That’s me, the writer, him. I am a man. […]

« Introducing Myself, » © 1992 by U. K. Le Guin, in The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination (2004).

And so on.

(Question for the attentive reader: who is « I » in the above quoted text? And is it the same « I » throughout? I’ll leave the unraveling of that one to your sagacity…)

Want an ebook for Halloween? Closed Circle is where it’s at!

And just so you know, I’m talking indie editions of major sci-fi/horror writers here: three authors, C. J. Cherryh, Jane Fancher and Lynn Abbey, have joined forces to re-issue some of their classic but out-of-print titles as e-books under the Closed Circle banner – with revised texts, new cover art, and (need it to be said?) no DRM whatsoever! All that for very reasonable prices, and secure payments through Paypal. A fan’s dream come true.

Three authors on the web

Several titles have already been published, including Cherryh’s Faery Moon (a dark, Celtic flavored fantasy novel) and the classic SF titles Heavy Time and Hellburner. (Yes, I’m a huge Cherryh fan, how did you guess?)

And then, there’s Lynn Abbey‘s fantasy novels and short stories, and Jane Fancher’s Ringdancers series, and the freebies (short fiction, flyers, etc.) and the bazaar, a.k.a. the Cafepress annexe, and…

And, oh yes, the authors/editors/webmistresses have managed to re-issue two particularly delicious titles just in time for Halloween: the (long out of print, shame on the publishers) Russian-themed fantasy/ghost story Rusalka, by C. J. Cherryh, and Jane Fancher’s Blood Red Moon, this one being (you guessed it) a vampire story. A modern, urban one. With a cat.

Need I say more?

En passant

This is epic. I mean The Mongoliad, the new brain child of Neal Stephenson and Greg Bear. An online epic fantasy novel by installments with reader participation? You know what this means. Some writers fight fanficcers, others find ways to … Lire la suite

Doctorow’s First Law of Locks

Science-fiction writer and Digital Rights activist Cory Doctorow spent a few months shopping around for ebook sellers that would enable authors and publishers to opt out of DRMs. He relates for Publishers Weekly the experience and what he learned from it:

This led me to formulate something I grandiosely call Doctorow’s First Law: «Any time someone puts a lock on something that belongs to you, and won’t give you a key, they’re not doing it for your benefit.»

(Source: Boing Boing.)

Oh, and you want to know which on-line ebook sellers said yes and which refused to let go of DRMs at any price? In the «yes» camp: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo. And for the «no»: Apple and Sony.

Reading: Children of the Night, by Mercedes Lackey

Mercedes Lackey, Children of the Night: A Diana Tregarde Investigation, Tor Books (paperback), 2005.

This novel could be classified as urban fantasy, or dark fantasy, or paranormal romance, if you wish. However, it was first published in 1990, well before the explosion of these (sub-)genres.

On the menu tonight: love, magick, drugs and rock’n’roll…

I like Mercedes Lackey‘s easy blend of horror, humour, adventure and whatever-it-takes-to-make-the-story-go-ahead. I like her heroine, Diana Tregarde, a modern witch who writes romance novels to make a living (because being a psychic investigator doesn’t pay). And the bad guys of the story, the « psychic vampires », are genuinely scaaaary! There’s also a real (bloodsucking) vampire who’s a true gentleman and a perfect lover – no wonder. This one takes more after Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s Saint-Germain than classic old Count Dracula, or even Anne Rice’s oh-so-byronic Lestat.

Light fare, but highly enjoyable.