Subtitle Change for Start a Revolution

Yes, I’m literally making a post to notify you of a subtitle change to the Start a Revolution anthology.

Partly because I would like to make sure that people know. Partly because I’m doing some of the back end work on the book, and having to write the revised title repeatedly reminded me that I’ve not yet mentioned that online. (I may have in passing, I just don’t think I made much of it if I did.)

The new full title of the book is Start a Revolution: QUILTBAG Transmutations.

I’ve made the change for a couple of reasons. One is so that the two QUILTBAG anthologies match in terms of subtitle style, since they’re companion books. Another is because that title speaks more succinctly to the primary themes of the book: transformation, change, and revolutions both personal and societal. Still another, and in even more practical cover design context, is to reduce clutter on the cover and make the anthology’s title more visible from a distance (with less text, larger font options become feasible).

In the end, crafting an anthology involves an immense host of practical considerations, and this change is pretty much a thing of practicalities.

Also, if we want to wander into a discussion of subtext, the current subtitle speaks much better to the anthology’s intent.

And no, I’m not going to go into a point by point listing of why because then we’d be here all day. And you have better things to do with your time than listen to me ramble on about semantics at length :)

The book is slated for a May 1st, 2015 release, and promotional efforts are already underway. So if you’d like to be on the list for getting a review copy, please get in touch with me either on Twitter (@sekisetsu) or via e-mail at “adarkandterriblebeauty@gmail.com” and let me know where you would be running a review. Please note that most review copies will be electronic editions, and that distribution will begin once those are actually put together.

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An Upcoming Book Launch, and the Current State of Things

Yes, there is a book launch at which I will be reading coming up this week. Tomorrow (November 18th) in fact. Said book launch is for Fractured and Dead North and will be held at the Dora Keogh in Toronto. The doors open for food, talk, and drink at 6:15, and readings are set to start somewhere in the vicinity of 7:45. There’s a facebook event for the doings here.

I’ll be reading there along with Alyx Dellamonica, David Huebert, John Jantunen, Christine Ottoni, and Tessa Brown. And as I’ve got stories in both books, may read small snippets from both. We’ll see.

I shall be awake for the readings, though I’m currently exhausted. Why you ask?

Because it’s been a long motherfucking week.

The endless meetings (publishing industry related), Sunday’s workshop in the monthly series Leah Bobet and I run, CZP’s Fall Launch on Tuesday, the Friends of the Merril Collection Robin Hobb & Dan Falk readings on Thursday, working the CZP table at the Inspire Toronto International Book Fair this weekend, and working full time freelance around all that have put me behind on several things I need to get done this week. And my schedule this week is full of several more events (the dual book launch and the monthly ChiSeries among other things), in addition to the freelancing and publisher/anthology work that needs to get done.

So I’m taking a step back from social media this week (lessened presence — I use social media outreach to conduct business as well, so can’t step back entirely). In no small part because this post from Kameron Hurley, as always, puts in excellent terms the importance of getting the work done and necessity of focus. Especially in light of what her piece is addressing more directly, but in general terms as well.

I have a number of e-mails to address as well relating to the anti-harassment posts from Monday and Tuesday. If I still owe you a response, I’m not ignoring you, I’ve just been swamped with things to get to. The business e-mails (and the business e-mails related to that as well) have had to come first this week.

Also, frankly, if I comment on all the things I want to on social media right now, we’re going to end up with a fuckton of rants. I’ve deleted a lot of tangents from this post already to keep it focused and so I can actually finish the fucking thing and get back to all the other things I need to be doing.

Anyway, if you’re in town and available either tomorrow for the book launch or Wednesday (for the ChiSeries) I’ll be at both.

I suspect alcohol shall be called for after last week and the coming week. You’re all welcome to join me.

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[Edit: A number of links didn’t work when this post went live. Have fixed them now.]

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Why I’m Not Attending SFContario or Sasquan (Worldcon 2015) – Hydra’s Hearth Part II

I was thinking about not following up on yesterday’s post right now. Principally because it’s Remembrance Day. But it’s going to be Remembrance Day all day, and this isn’t going to take long.

Now, some background, and why that background matters: This is a very low traffic blog, and the activity here yesterday was way above the daily norm. Yesterday’s post about the Hydra’s Hearth reading series, and related matters, garnered more attention than when I post about anthology ToCs (which are usually what garner higher views here).

At the time of writing this post, there’s been a little over 350 individual views of yesterday’s post about why I’m not reading at the Hydra’s Hearth series (if you’re coming here and you’ve not read that yet, do so first; it’s short, and it’ll give you the ground for this). And just shy of 100 clickthroughs to read Derek Newman-Stille’s blog post about the events at Ad Astra in April. Nothing on this site gets that many clickthroughs. Nor that many views in less than 24 hours. That’s tiny for most websites, but around here that’s unheard of.

Except the problem is that though people are reading about this, pretty much no one in the Canadian community is talking about it. (Or the conversations are getting backchanelled again. Though I will note that the people who did speak up in response are who I expected to do so, and they are awesome.)

Oh there’s some activity on facebook. Primarily on the facebook pages of people who’ve shared the blog post. Very little (and in some cases nothing) on my updates directly. And when I shared it on Twitter there was a long, unfortunately expected silence (again, discussion elsewhere, but almost nothing through my own direct sharing). Yes, I shared the blog on a Monday evening (didn’t have a chance to write it earlier in the day), the evening before Remembrance Day. Yes, I have limited reach on social media, and of the few people sharing, some of them had distinctly wider reach and followings.

But the silence from all but a very small number of the Canadian SFF community is DEAFENING.

Shall we tie this into larger context?

What we’re talking about is the widespread core of Canadian SFF who don’t speak up about harassment issues. It’s not that we don’t name the people responsible. There’s a small group of missing stairs the bulk of the community backchannels about routinely. I can think of six people talked about at the head of that list, for varying reasons and some more frequently than others, off the top of my head. The only one of whom has been outed being René Walling (who is pretty much batshit fucking crazy given the fact that he’s been spreading stories about Valentine after being thrown out of Readercon over harassing her). But we don’t discuss it publicly. Canadian SFF buries its head in the sand and waits for people to stop talking about it.

Why we’re afraid of talking about it, I don’t know. It’s not like there’s actually any power to be had in Canadian SFF. No one wields anything appreciable. (Though several of those six think they do. It’s adorable, really.) We exist in a culture of fear where there’s no bogeyman to warrant it. There is, I suppose, the possibility of being sued for libel, or slander. But that’s really the only repercussion hanging over anyone’s head.

Also, what, some of those six people might not ever talk to us again if we name them? Oh, yes, a mighty repercussion indeed…. [/snark]

Now, I’m not just out here saying “Oh, I said this yesterday, and no one’s talking about it. Woe unto me.”

I have been shouting about the SFContario things (there are several to choose from) off and on since April of this year. Perhaps not publicly enough, and not loudly enough?

The thing not mentioned last post is that at the last SFContario, I, Leah Bobet, and Simon McNeil jointly took two harassment issues to the SFContario ConCom. Those complaints went undealt with. (That’s in case you were wondering why the three of us are boycotting the con this year.) And you know what the real kicker is? How SFContario fixed the problem with their Anti-Harassment Policy (which they were ignoring)? They stopped having one.

Let me say that again: THEY STOPPED HAVING ONE.

This is what their revised “Member Behaviour Policy” looks like: http://sfcontario.ca/member-behaviour-policy.

And this is not just a local issue:

The two people I named yesterday: Marah Searle-Kovacevic and Alex von Thorn? They’re ConCom at Sasquan (Worldcon 2015 in Seattle). Alex has multiple positions on the ConCom, and Marah is the fucking Social Media docent and the Hospitality Division Head for Christ’s sake. (http://sasquan.org/committee-list/) That’s not counterintuitive, that’s fucking Dadaist.

Given their involvement in Sasquan, I absolutely will not attend. Because I signed Scalzi’s Anti-Harassment pledge. (That’s me, right there: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/07/03/my-convention-harassment-policy-co-sign-thread/#comment-488056) Which is also yet another reason I’m not attending SFContario. If you signed that pledge, you should absolutely not fucking be going to either event until these issues are fixed/addressed. I say this noting that some people who did sign that pledge are going to at least one of those cons (I’m going with obliviousness of the issues as a reason, rather than malice; I choose to be charitable this afternoon).

And this speaks to a larger problem. The problem that keeps cropping up when I see a lot of people online asking why none of the women Ghomeshi assaulted/abused/violated reported him to the police. (Or any similar instance.) Or when I see a lot of people wondering why women who are assaulted/harassed/or otherwise violated at cons and other events don’t report to ConComs.

This is why.

The silence.

Also the disbelief. The victim-blaming. And the continued support of harassers.

Yes, some harassers get kicked out of cons. And some lose their communities. Not all. Hell, René got booted from Readercon, but he’s still extremely well-liked in the Canadian SFF community. Not by me, admittedly. But then both times I’ve dealt with René in person he’s been a raging asshole–and the second time, in a setting where there were no women to overhear, wildly sexist, which never flies with me–so small surprise there.

Also because many of the harassers in the community are in perceived positions of power. And it’s incredibly hard for most people to come forward when no one has their back because their friends/community members are afraid of losing whatever they think they’re going to lose by supporting the people who speak up.

And, you know, I get that because so much of this is backchannel and insider baseball that a lot of people simply don’t know how bad it is … really across North American SFF, rather than just Canadian SFF.

And we’re all busy. We’ve all got lives. And we’re all dealing with other issues in the community right now.

But that doesn’t change the fact that when a bunch of us know, we still don’t speak up about it. And we’re hurting others by not doing so.

Every day I debate making that list public.

It would be awesome to be part of a community where there wasn’t a list.

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[Edit: It was pointed out to me that I’ve been misspelling Sasquan on this post, and that’s made it harder to search for it. I’ve amended that in the title and in the text, but I’m leaving the link with the original misspelling so that all existing links to this post are unaffected.]

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Why I’m Not Reading at the Hydra’s Hearth Reading Series

So.

I shall put the boilerplate up here. This is just me talking. I’m not speaking for any organization for or with whom I work. And so forth.

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I am feeling … disappointed … that I appear to be the only person (would love to find out there were others) who more or less told the Hydra’s Hearth reading series organizers to go fuck themselves when they asked if I would participate.

Now, perhaps it is possible that others are not aware of the fact that SFContario (to whom the Hydra’s Hearth is tied, however much they have tried to dissociate the reading series from the con) has failed, several times, to adhere to their anti-harassment policy (concerning the continued attendance of René Walling, among other issues which I will not go into right now) and made the con an unsafe space for attendees, which is part of why I’m no longer attending the con, and have been boycotting it since April (see next paragraph).

Perhaps people are also unaware of the fact that two members of the ConCom, and former conrunners of the con, Marah Searle-Kovacevic and Alex von Thorn, at Ad Astra in April of this year (2014), demeaned and behaved appallingly (I could, technically, apply stronger language) toward a friend and colleague of mine, Derek Newman-Stille. Said events are talked about in part, by Derek, here: http://speculatingcanada.ca/2014/04/07/my-cane-is-not-a-costume-convention-exclusions-and-ways-to-think-about-oppression-at-cons/.

I’m fairly certain that Derek’s post doesn’t talk about the fact that Marah then, on my facebook page in a conversation discussing what had happened, attempted to gaslight Derek concerning his perception of the events (I was at Ad Astra that weekend, his version is accurate) while discussing the events as though someone else had perpetrated them, in the third person, until Derek openly asked her why she was not just admitting that it was she who had had the altercation with him. This being a final, subsequent follow-up to already ludicrously stupid actions on her part which is fucked up so many different ways I don’t even know where to start.

(It’s also worth noting that because the Hydra’s Hearth is being funded through a Toronto Arts Council grant, I’m not entirely certain their activities, because of their association with SFContario, meet the anti-harassment policy guideline requirements compliance the TAC grants call for. Frankly, I’m not in the mood to deal with that question right now. It will either come up later, or it won’t.)

Perhaps people simply don’t care? I would like to think they simply don’t know. Fuck if I know what’s going on in other people’s heads.

I remain, nonetheless, disappointed, that no one else appears to have turned down their invitation (the 12 reading slate for this weekend is full).

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And for anyone stupid enough to suggest that I am so flush that I may simply turn away paying gigs whenever I choose, such as the $225 the Hydra’s Hearth offered me: I turned that money down while scrambling to scrape together enough money to pay my rent. As occasionally happens (the life of a freelancer sometimes prompting said state of affairs, and October sucked for me financially).

In short: I was not in a position to turn down that money, and did anyway.

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Reading Like an Editor Workshop This Sunday, Nov. 9th

I’ve been busy enough in the last few days (well, weeks, really) that I haven’t yet had a chance to mention here the next workshop in the series of writing/editing/business thereof workshops that Leah Bobet and I are holding.

And now seems like a really good time to do so as the next workshop is happening on Nov. 9th.

Reading Like an Editor — Self-critique, the slushpile, and you!” is being held at Bakka Phoenix Books, tickets are $10, and the event will run from 1-3 pm. From the event page:

“If you want to grow your writing craft, read slush for a magazine!” — it’s a common piece of advice given to newer writers.  But how is editorial reading different, and what does it look like?  How do we take that knowledge back to our own work to make it shine?

Join authors and editors Michael Matheson and Leah Bobet for a two-hour practical workshop on critiquing your own work, using criticism effectively, and reading like an editor in order to push your craft to its best.  We’ll demonstrate how editorial reading works and try it out in a pressure-free, relaxed workshop-style format.

All attendees will receive a 10% discount coupon to be used toward purchases same day at Bakka-Phoenix Books.”

Though tickets are available through the link above, potential attendees are welcome to show up day of and pay cash to attend as well. We leave some leeway in the number of tickets we sell to allow for that.

Leah and I are also likely to be using our own work to demonstrate the self-critique process. So no attendees  (nor the pride thereof) will be harmed during the running of this workshop :)

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“No Fixed Points in Space” is now live at Stone Telling

In the ever popular category of rare and elusive beasts, I have some of my own work to point out today.

Stone Telling 11: Reverberations is out, and it contains my poem “No Fixed Points in Space,” alongside an audio recording I did of the piece (for those of you who are interested to hear what I sound like).

That entire issue is composed of poets who’ve not published with the magazine before, and in some cases poets for whom this is their first publication. Which is surprising to me because the level of skill on display in that issue is extremely impressive.

There are some things that I’m finding immediately stand out for me, for a variety of reasons. Among them Nelly Geraldine García-Rosas’s reading of her “Coyolxauhqui” (which is just absolutely captivating), Ruth Jenkins’s “Scales” (which looks like it may have been put together as a Twine build, but is in any case a form of hypertext poetry and is meant to be re-read multiple times to get the full experience), and M. Sereno’s “The Exile, i.” whose rhythm is an undertow, inescapable and glorious.

But, really, read that whole issue. I love reading through a new issue of Stone Telling and this one is no exception.

Incidentally, for those who are not familiar with Stone Telling, or perhaps even those who are, they operate on a donation basis and are currently partaking of a Patreon, so by all means feel free to support them. They do exceptional work.

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The Humanity of Monsters Partial ToC

Yes, I know. All I do these days is tease partial ToCs….

But it was pointed out to me yesterday that as I’m allowing the contributors to The Humanity of Monsters (ChiZine Publications, November 2015) who’ve completed their reprint contracts to share news of their sales, I could also post the names of those writers and their stories here as well (and figured I would also toss in anyone else who’s mentioned the sale on their end).

Which, actually, seems like a rather excellent idea. And, let’s be honest about this, I do love to tease where anthologies are concerned :)

Though I’ve not talked much about The Humanity of Monsters up until now, except to note occasionally in various places online that I was putting the book together, it’s been a long time coming. It’s a passion project, really. One that, as I have been saying to the contributors, is looking at humane monsters, monstrous humans, and the interstices where those states meet and blur, with an eye to gathering stories that intentionally refuse simple definition.

And of course it’s more than that: Any anthology is a conversation. A strictly themed anthology is often a single conversation had with the audience and internally.

This book is not a single conversation.

The Humanity of Monsters ranges all over the place in terms of genre, the discussions it is having with its audience, and the conversations the stories are having with each other. At the heart of it are discussions of perception and othering, but the stories I’ve been pulling together for this book are complicated conversations in and of themselves. Some of them outwardly straightforward, but all of them internally labyrinthine.

So basically I’ve been having an inordinate amount of fun putting this together and am delighted to finally be able to start sharing some of the stories that make up the book.

Now, while I am still actively soliciting more stories for the anthology and continuing to read widely to fill out the contents, the following is the list of authors contractually confirmed for the ToC of The Humanity of Monsters, representing a little more than half of the current stories (I should note that the list below is presented without order as I have no story order yet because the book’s not, you know, done):

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The Humanity of Monsters

(Partial ToC – updated for 11/20/14)

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“Six” by Leah Bobet
“Dead Sea Fruit” by Kaaron Warren
“Give Her Honey When You Hear Her Scream” by Maria Dahvana Headley
“If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky
“Night They Missed the Horror Show” by Joe Lansdale
“muo-ka’s Child” by Indrapramit Das
“Mantis Wives” by Kij Johnson
“Boyfriend and Shark” by Berit Ellingsen
“The Things” by Peter Watts
“The Emperor’s Old Bones” by Gemma Files
“Proboscis” by Laird Barron
“A Handful of Earth” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
“How to Talk to Girls at Parties” by Neil Gaiman
“The Nazir” by Sofia Samatar
“Tasting Gomoa” by Chinelo Onwualu
“Terrible Lizards” by Meghan McCarron
“In Winter” by Sonya Taaffe
“Theories of Pain” by Rose Lemberg
“Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife” by A.C. Wise
“and Love shall have no Dominion” by Livia Llewellyn
“The Horse Latitudes” by Sunny Moraine
“Out They Come” by Alex Dally MacFarlane
“Never the Same” by Polenth Blake

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I’m waiting for contracts to come back on most of the other stories slated for inclusion and I’ll add those stories to the ToC here as those contracts come in. And yes, the other half (now slightly less than) of the book is as impressive as what’s already up :)

So, that said, updates will be forthcoming on the book in multiple respects, but by all means feel free to share this around in the meantime.

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