June 17th, 2011

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A Brief History of Asexuality in Fandom

 [personal profile] kaz shares thoughts on asexual history in fandom.  

I'll add that fiction is a cyclic phenomenon.  People create cliches and stereotypes based on motifs they spot a few times.  Then other folks point that such-and-such isn't always true, or is problematic in some way, and the trope gains a variant as counterpoint to the original version.  This continues for as many iterations as people feel like exploring that topic or character type or whatever.  Like a fractal, it has infinite progression.  And that's okay; that's how storytelling works.  So ...

1.  Behold: an asexual character!

Wow, wow, wow.  Yep, there's an ace.  How nice.

2. Bob the Ace doesn't like sex.

Okay, makes sense.  I know Joe and Jane who are ace and they don't like sex.

3. Hey, not all asexuals hate sex.  Anne the Ace likes sex, just prefers to do it alone.

Hmm, okay, good point.  I know some other aces who like sex.

4. What does it mean  if an ace character likes or doesn't like sex?  How does that affect the story?

Well, it changes what kind of action is likely to happen, and how a given character will respond, and maybe what kind of interactions they'll have with someone else...

So then we get to have stories exploring all of those things, which is pretty cool.  As a writer, a reader, and a literary scholar, I am in favor of stories and explorations.  I'm not in favor of trying to cut off certain categories, although I reserve the right to ignore the hell out of stories I find displeasing and instead shower my attention and funds on other things I like better.  It's good to have a lot of different people poking around at a pool of ideas so as to examine it from many different angles.

Once people start yelling about all the different things that are "really" what it's like ... then you just take a few steps back and look for the elephant.  You should have most of his body parts in view.
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Book Sale at Mattoon Mall

There's a book sale at the Mattoon, IL mall today (until about 8 PM) and tomorrow (with a bag sale from 1-6 PM).  It is run by the SACIS group which does counseling for sexual assault survivors.  Prices are low -- the hardbacks are $1 -- and they have a lot of books.  Romance and suspense/thriller are the biggest categories, followed by general fiction and a good batch of children's books.  They have a few boxes of nonfiction too; we got a good haul of cookbooks from there.
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Recipe: "Fresh Herb Vinaigrette"

I made this salad dressing for a fresh salad recently.  Vinegar-and-oil salad dressings are easy to make; you can usually throw one together from standard pantry supplies (some kind of vegetable oil, some kind of vinegar, plus seasonings).  This is useful if you garden, friends give you garden goodies, and/or you shop at farmer's markets.  We wound up with salad fixings and no dressing in the fridge, so I invented something.

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Bookstore Observations by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

 I'm fascinated (and somewhat disturbed) by the "Bookstore Observations" article by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Apparently Barnes & Noble is drastically reducing the amount of floorspace allotted to actual books, as opposed to games or coffee or e-readers or other stuff.  I like having more format variety because ebooks reach some folks who dislike paper books.  But I wouldn't want to do that at the cost of being able to walk into a bookstore and enjoy a massive selection of paper books ... and that's the way the market is heading.

Also, check out the donation button!  This article is crowdfunded nonfiction, which isn't very common, and it's very detailed and very well thought-out.  If you're into writing, reading, or publishing at all then please consider tipping the writer.