The Wyrd

PROBLEM DAUGHTERS intersectional feminist SFF anthology? Yes pls!

So for the last month or so, Publishing and its co-editors Nicolette Barischoff, Rivqa Rafael, and Djibril al-Ayad have been fundraising for a new pro-paying speculative fiction anthology.

Problem Daughters is a collection that seeks to amplify the voices of women who are sometimes excluded from mainstream feminism. It will be an anthology of beautiful, thoughtful, unconventional speculative fiction and poetry around the theme of intersectional feminism, focusing on the lives and experiences of marginalized women, such as those who are of color, QUILTBAG, disabled, sex workers, and all intersections of these.

If that sounds like your bag, fundraising for the anthology–plus a whole bunch of other awesome perks–is still available at IndieGoGo for the next three-ish weeks. You can grab yourself a copy for the low-low price of $5. Five bucks! To support marginalised voices and kickass feminist literature. I mean, why wouldn’t you?

Well, fine. If you still need convincing (or even if not), then Djibril al-Ayad is here with smart words to explain a little more1


  1. And also, psst, go check out the rest of the articles in the series while you’re at it. ↩︎
Saturday, 28th January 2017|Tags: books, culture, sff, xp|11 Comments

“When I was a girl, there was a man.”

If you’re a Second Generation Geek, like yours truly, you’ll probably find this look at where geek girls come from interesting. Essentially, most 70s- and 80s-era geek girls were introduced to geeky things by older men, usually family members (and, very notably, not peers, i.e. same-age boys). For me, it was my dad (who owned a lot of SFF books and would sit and watch Doctor Who and play computer games with me when I was little), then later the dude who used to run the big Sailor Moon fan forum Back In The Day (who introduced me to computer security, specifically).1

On the other hand, I suspect if the same how-did-you-get-into-geekery question was given to third- and fourth-generation geeks girls the answers would be very different, both in the sense of “a woman/girl introduced me” and “I dunno it was just there“. Which is a good thing too, I think.

  1. Which isn’t to say I had no female geeky influences. I did, though notably these were always peers: one girl who had a SFF-obsessed mother, plus another girl who’d been introduced to TCGs by a third friend who, in turn, had been taught by her brothers. ↩︎
Friday, 27th January 2017|Tags: culture, pop culture|2 Comments

Why the left is not enough.

My economic justice shall be intersectional or it shall be bullshit.

[Content warning for discussion of misogyny, transmisogyny, and sexual assault both at the link and briefly below.]

And people wonder why I don’t trust Marxists.1

For the record, second wave feminism? Mostly prompted by black women realizing that, for all their Civil Rights marching, they were still the ones making lunch for the men. Ditto for the queer rights movements, who learnt the hard lessons that cis and straight leftists/progressives totally did not have their backs. Meanwhile rape–particularly drug-assisted or “non-violently” coerced rape–was notoriously prevalent within the New Left’s “free love” ethos.

And so on it goes.

This was all half a century ago, mind. None of these problems are exactly new.

Funny that, I guess.

  1. That and, yanno. Half my family getting massacred by communists. Kinda puts a dampener on the idea of the glorious class revolution, y’know? ↩︎
Thursday, 26th January 2017|Tags: culture|2 Comments

Open plan offices are still terrible.

One of the greatest things that happened to me recently was moving into an office of, max, eight people (but usually more like four). It’s still technically open plan, but it is so amazing compared to the big corporate open plans I’d been used to.

Wednesday, 25th January 2017|Comments Off on Open plan offices are still terrible.

Who blames the victim?

In a non-rhetorical sense: is there a psychological profile, and/or set of circumstances, that makes someone more likely to blame the victim rather than the perpetrator of a crime?

[Content warning for discussion of sexual assault at the link.]

Wednesday, 25th January 2017|Tags: culture|Comments Off on Who blames the victim?

Broken movement.

Conservative ideology, as [historian Rick] Perlstein persuasively argues, is particularly vulnerable to grifters because of its faith in the goodness of business and its concomitant hostility toward regulation—which makes it easy for true believers to buy into the notion that some modern Edison has a miraculous new invention that the Washington elite is conniving to suppress. In Perlstein’s words, “The strategic alliance of snake-oil vendors and conservative true believers points up evidence of another successful long march, of tactics designed to corral fleeceable multitudes all in one place—and the formation of a cast of mind that makes it hard for either them or us to discern where the ideological con ended and the money con began.”

There’s another factor at work here: The anti-intellectualism that has been a mainstay of the conservative movement for decades also makes its members easy marks. After all, if you are taught to believe that the reigning scientific consensuses on evolution and climate change are lies, then you will lack the elementary logical skills that will set your alarm bells ringing when you hear a flim-flam artist like Trump. The Republican “war on science” is also a war on the intellectual habits needed to detect lies.

Jeet Heer on shill politics.

And old article, but still relevant.

Remember, kids: Trump was not some magic out-of-left field outsider candidate. He’s the natural endgame of nearly a century of intentional degradation of the institutions of democracy; something that’s been primarily (not solely, but primarily) a party platform of the right. And it’s been implemented everywhere; not just in political platforms, but in culture, too. So every time you watch a film from the 80s where the government is portrayed as a bumbling villain? That’s part of it. Replacing critical thinking with standardized tests (i.e. rote regurgitation of received “facts”, regardless of truthfulness) in public schools? Part of it. Delegitimization of every mode of institutional authority that’s not a commercial corporation (or a church)? Part of it. Special legal exemptions for the rich, the powerful, the religious, and the corporate? Part of it. Restriction or outright removal of the franchise? Definitely part of it.1

It’s insidious, in other words. It’s our entire culture. And it was intentional.

Just, y’know. Remember that. When the time comes.

  1. Did you know that it’s still compulsory for prisoners to vote in Australia? People serving sentences of over three years have the franchise restricted while in jail, though it’s restored on release. People in jails vote either by post or by electoral commission officers making on-site visits for pre-polling. ↩︎
Tuesday, 24th January 2017|Tags: politics|2 Comments

Peak indifference.

We are past peak indifference to online surveillance: that means that there will never be a moment after today in which fewer people are alarmed by the costs of sur­veillance. The bad news is that 20 years of failing to convince people of the risks of online privacy has built up a reservoir of inevitable harms: all the data collected in giant databases today will breach someday, and when it does, it will ruin peoples’ lives. They will have their houses stolen from under them by identity thieves who forge their deeds (this is already happening); they will end up with criminal records because identity thieves will use their personal information to commit crimes (this is already happening); they will be accused of terrorism or other life-destroying categories of crimes because an algorithm has mined their data to come to a conclusion they aren’t allowed to see or interrogate (this is already happening); they will have their devices compromised using passwords and personal data that leaked from old accounts, and the hackers will spy on them through their baby monitors, cars, set-top boxes, and medical implants (this is already hap­pening); they will have the sensitive information they disclosed to the government to attain security clearance breached and warehoused by blackmailing enemy states (this is already happening); their employers will fail when their personal information is used to commit industrial espionage (this is already happening).


Cory Doctorow on privacy.

Monday, 23rd January 2017|Tags: privacy|1 Comment