Today you can find me as a participant in two fascinating discussions on other websites:
Over at Tor.com, Liz Bourke asked me to participate in a roundtable discussion following up on her recent Reading, Writing, Radicalization post. This ended up being a fascinating conversation between Liz, Renay and myself about an issue I’ve been giving a lot of thought to: the importance of gender balance/parity in SFF reviewing. An excerpt:
The real problem was that I really, truly had no idea how limited and privileged my perspective was. I considered myself a fairly forward-thinking fellow. I read everything. How could it be bad to read everything and not pay attention to gender or race or sexuality? Surely, being blind to those labels was good?
It took a few kind people to step back and engage me in discussion before I understood. Sure, you’re pulling cards from a face-down deck, and you have no way of knowing whether you’ll get hearts or spades. But your deck has been pre-stacked: there are more cards of one type than another. If you select blindly, you’re still playing into a pre-established bias.
Read the full Tor.com article here.
Meanwhile at SF Signal, Paul Weimer invited me to contribute to the latest installment in their Mind Meld series, this one focusing on genre series vs. standalones. Here’s a brief excerpt:
I’m a big fan of the standalone, the shorter format, the one-and-done style of storytelling, but there’s also something wonderfully comfortable about sinking your teeth into a long series. I don’t think my approach to either format is different, but due to time constraints and forgetfulness I do have to be a little pickier before committing to longer series. In the end, though, as long as it’s high quality writing, I don’t really care if it’s one book or twenty.
I enjoyed both of these, but especially the Tor.com article. The question of balance in the genre has changed the way I read in the last year or so; I’m interested to see how other people react to it.