Is that a link I see before me?

A thought-provoking post over at Cat Valente’s blog about our fascination with the end of the world and our need to be part of a story:

No one wants to miss out. On the End Times, on the Singlarity. On Peak Oil, which I see certain folk talking about in the same eager terms, looking forward to it in some bizarre subconscious way, disappointed every day civilization does not fall. No one wants to be the generation that just missed being part of the greatest story ever told.

An excellent, insightful piece about the incidental misogyny of cyberspace from a life-long (female) gamer which also touches upon other media/entertainment:

As far as movies go, women spend equally, and women are more likely to spend on books. However, authors and screenwriters know that a woman will see a movie/read a book that appeals to men while the reverse is less likely, so markets skew male and a male-focused product is believed to do better than a female-focused one because of this crossover discrepancy between the sexes.

[The above quote reflects a piece of “conventional wisdom” I hear bandied about a lot these days — and which probably deserves a post all of its own which I may or may not get to one day — and it both saddens and irritates me.  I would like to hope that a lot of men are just as saddened and irritated. After all, isn’t it implying that men are more narrow-minded than women, that they won’t step outside their comfort zone or move beyond what’s familiar to them, that they are incapable of engaging with or being entertained by anything that isn’t all about them? I don’t believe this is true, I really don’t. I would hate to think that I’m wrong. Hmm, yes, possibly a longer post about all this later.]

Paula Guran, the editor of the new The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror anthology series from Prime Books is calling for submissions from writers and publishers. This is a reprint anthology so she’s only reading material published during the calendar year of 2010. Get to it!

Angela Slatter’s debut short story collection, Sourdough and Other Stories, is now available for pre-order from Tartarus Press. As Rob Shearman says in his Introduction:

Sourdough and Other Stories manages to be grand and ambitious and worldbuilding-but also as intimate and focused as all good short fiction should be . . . The joy of Angela Slatter’s book is that she’s given us a set of fairy tales that are at once both new and fresh, and yet feel as old as storytelling itself.

Go on, you know you want a copy.

And finally, because it is my blog after all, Sue Bursztynski has written a review of Madigan Mine over at January Magazine. But be warned, there are what some people might consider spoilers in this one.

2 Comments

  1. Kirstyn, just to clarify — I don’t believe the movie discrepancy necessarily indicates men are more narrow-minded when it comes to film subject matter. What I do think it indicates is that societal norms keep them from experiencing female-focused subject matter more often than the reverse. As such, I’m not sure the data suggests that men refuse to see “women’s films” so much as that perhaps women don’t even think to ask men to accompany them.

    The conventional wisdom in publishing and Hollywood thus has become to focus more on male characters and male-centered storylines because women will go along with it, and the disproportionate numbers of professionals in both the creative and review industries keeps this cycle perpetuated. Things are changing and that will hopefully lead to more rounded subject matter, but it’s not as simple as one gender being narrow-minded. It’s simply the way entertainment and technology have evolved alongside the “war of the sexes.”

    My guess is that in a hundred years or less this will cease to be an issue but transitional periods are often messy. Subcultures are slow adapters. Gaming, technology, and entertainment industries may produce products for the masses, but they are still often subcultures unto themselves.

    • I agree, especially about the “societal norms”. I didn’t mean to imply that *you* thought the imbalance meant men as a gender are intrinsically more narrow-minded than women, and I certainly don’t believe that either. Just generally musing that this “accepted” bias towards default male characters should actually trouble both genders, rather than simply being an issue that women rail about (or go along with). As with a lot of gender divide generalisations, the insult cuts both ways.

      I really enjoyed reading your article. I gave up gaming well before WOW came into play, but it brought to mind a lot of fond (as well as frustrating) LAN party memories from back in the day.


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