OH, my word, it’s the weekend — and it makes us want to flee! Anywhere! Well, anywhere there’s water and sun, probably. Or, barring that, lovely rain, and a good bookstore with a nice coffee shop. And tights. Even if we can’t pop off to Futurama in 3D, we can still find some awesome change in the couch cushions for the weekend. Dig in!
♦ For all that speculative fiction exists entirely in our imagination, there’s a serious lack of … extensions on the imaginations of some. I think Ebony Elizabeth at The Dark Fantastic calls it “the imagination gap” — that point of failure, that last little jump that many creators in the dominant culture simply cannot make, to expand their imaginary worlds to include people of color. And yet, this week Marvel announced a female Thor and an African American Captain America. Is that enough? Actually… no. Not that it isn’t cool, but to make up for an imagination gap? Friends, we’ve got to IMAGINE.
Which is why I thought this year’s diverse anthology, LONG HIDDEN was a great idea. A book of fine short stories, the cover art really made it special — and so I was SUPER excited to find out that the artist, one Julie Dillon, has a Kickstarter going for what she hopes will be an annual art project called IMAGINED REALMS. The artist, in her fabulous style, will be featuring positive and diverse representations of women in fantasy and science fiction. The women are all ages, all sizes, all colors and they are the leads to their own visual stories. It’s an amazing, wonderful project and you can bet I’m a backer on it. Imagine being able to give a framed illustration to a kid who fears princesses only have yellow hair. Imagine the expansion of the imagination! We don’t normally shill for Kickstarters – and this artist can make it without you… but I’m pretty sure you or someone you know needs a little boost in the imagination department. Hat tip to SF Signal.
♦ Two words: Jules. Betsy. Okay, technically those are two names, and the two words really should have been WICKED and FUNNY. WILD THINGS is the name of a slightly subversive pre-quel book site put together by Jules and Betsy in advance of their book by the same title. The site hosts tons of stories they’ve had to CUT from their book on the wild side of children’s lit, and the bits therein are amusing – awful – alarming, and a whole lot of other things, including oh, so very human. Children’s authors: not really made of sugar and spice at all. Nor are children’s illustrators. Or, for that matter, nor are children. A fun romp, full of sacred cows (did Beatrix Potter actually smack someone?) and Harpy boobs (no, seriously. HILARIOUSLY stubborn artist, there), and a tale of six editors — a nightmare tale, really. Do check it out, and I’ll put in a plug for dear friends: buy the book in August! Thank you.
♦ I’m so privileged to be on the planning crew for the 2014 Kidlit Con. It’s so nice to get notes from publishers saying, “A Con in our own backyard. I’m in – how can I help?” (Thank you, Lara from Chronicle Books!) It’s great to see it blogged and tweeted about (thank you, quite a few people!) and it’s so exciting to see things coming together, little by little — authors confirming, panels coming together (#WeAreSoExcited), spreadsheets adding up properly (!), emails flying, then leapfrogging as we realize we sent poor Charlotte sixteen emails, but she’s okay with that (*cough* Sorry, Charlotte).
It’s HAPPENING. And, if I delurk on your blog (Hi, Multiculturalism Rocks! and Magical Urban Fantasy Reads!), and invite you personally, please don’t freak. If you are an INTROVERT and think that a Con is the second coming of evil, I promise you, there will be time for quiet, actually READING the books we blog about, and non-scheduled bits. We just want ALLLL the bloggers to come! And talk! And have really, really good snacks and lots of time to hang out in the Con Living Room. We have a weekend to figure out the meaning of life and diversity and blog and swap books and …stuff. And, I’m really hoping to see you there.
♦ There’s a lot of talk about girls and gaming — from the stupidity of manufacturers like Ubisoft, who don’t see a need to have girls in their realities, to the other end of the spectrum, where both representation and diversity take form in games like Never Alone. This conversation opens it up just that little bit more — and talks about gaming for teen girls:
Raven looks up. “Robots aren’t scary Dad.”
“How about …”
“Zombies aren’t scary either.”
I’m getting a little tetchy with this unreceptive design group. I ask Raven, “So what are teenage girls scared of?”
Raven thinks for a moment. She looks sad. “Other teenagers,” she says.
A Dad learns some hard truths — that both make him a better game developer, and a hopefully, a better Dad. Hat tip, Tech Boy.
♦ Behold the awesome of the Secretary Bird, and nine other birds of crested brilliance. Because a good hair day is priceless. Also rare.