Where Are the Iraq War/US Civil Liberties Stories?

Rather, my reading is getting more political lately and I’d love some recommendations of short fiction and novels dealing with issues related to the Iraqi War and the curtailing of civil liberties here at home–especially SF/F/H. (Excepting the Farah M. antho, which I know about.)

Jeff

Photos from Utopiales and Paris


(Amazing sculture by Didier Cottier)

I’ve finally gotten the Utopiales/Nantes photos up:

Slideshow

Individual

And what I call our “Ellen Datlow Special,” featuring the storefronts of Paris (couldn’t help but think of her since we know how much she likes to shop). We spent a day and a half just walking around, deliriously happy to be exploring…

Paris Slideshow

Paris Individual

I’ll have more to say on Utopiales soon. I will say that the art show was the best I’ve ever seen, with the best scheme for displaying the art, too. Some more teaser photos below…

Jeff

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Pontification Continues: Cultpop and Aqueduct

In support of Shriek–you should really buy a copy of the trade paperback so I can continue living in the state of blissful poverty to which I’ve become accustomed these past nine months (and, really, I’m serious–I’m a full-time writer who generally creates what they call “literary fantasy,” which means I’m forever going to be living on the edge, so…buy the book if you’re so inclined)–I’ve done a couple more interviews.

One is with Cultpop TV, which also airs on television stations in Michigan. You’ll have to select my interview out of the list. Ann shot the videotape of me while they shot the rest in Michigan as the questions were being asked. Pretty cool.

And then Timmi Duchamp–one of my favorite writers and favorite people (the two don’t always go together)–asked me some unique questions for her Aqueduct blog.

Jeff

The Shadow Cabinet at Heliotrope

Heliotrope #3 is up and it’s like an old-time revival–my Shadow Cabinet and Jeffrey Ford’s Virtual Anthology. Among other goodies.

My column this time is about two neglected writers of incredible virtue (or vice, depending on your druthers): John Calvin Batchelor and Brian McNaughton.

Shadow Cabinets are the great equalizers, the great communicators. It is only within the dark confines of a Shadow Cabinet, like certain Cabinets of Curiosities, that books and authors with little in common find themselves shoved up against one another, under glass. Like the eccentric elements in photographs by Rosalind Purcell, juxtapositions create their own classifications.

I’m still finding my sea legs with this feature tone-wise, but it’ll level out shortly, I’m sure.

Jeff

The Language of Defeat…on Clarkesworld

A short essay of mine on Clarkesworld that might be of interest. It includes two lists as well–a list of books for genre readers to check out and a list of books for mainstream literary readers to check out.

Read the latest Clarkesworld fiction and other features as well.

In most cases using this kind of language leads to a bemoaning of the lack of acceptance by the “literary mainstream.” It also leads to a certain resentment on the part of “genre” writers, especially centered on the idea that some “mainstream” writers get away with writing “genre” books. We’ve seen this attitude a lot lately–focused on writers like Margaret Atwood for her Oryx & Crake, Jeanette Winterson for The Stone Gods, Cormac McCarthy to lesser extent for The Road, and even the work of Jonathan Lethem in a general way, once accused of abandoning his “genre” roots. The negative attitudes toward these books and authors have three layers or premises: (1) that it is somehow inherently wrong and rude for these writers to write in what is so clearly a “genre” milieu (without asking first?), (2) that these authors’ cliché comments disavowing their books as “Science Fiction” or “Fantasy” somehow reflect negatively on the quality of the actual texts, and (3) that these forays into forbidden territory are written with no regard for or knowledge of “genre” predecessors.

Review of Shaun Tan’s The Arrival

I wanted to explore Shaun Tan’s The Arrival in a little more depth, to explain my reaction to it. Thus a whole Bookslut column devoted to a review.

…And yet, the city is truly strange, filled with odd metamorphosing creatures and bizarre buildings — even if, like all immigrants, the man eventually becomes so accustomed to them that they melt into the background, as familiar to him as an ATM, a cell phone, an automatic door is to us. Nothing in the warmth of the style can ever disguise the alienness of the grotesquely playful beast shown on the front cover of The Arrival. I only have to imagine what it would look like in real life to know that. Yes, this grotesquery works on a symbolic level, showing how foreign a city looks to a newcomer, but it is also highly effective as fantasy. You tend to believe in the world you are shown, and you believe, too, that it has hidden vistas and a purpose and causality.