For the first five months of 2016, I posted an almost-weekly Strange Horizons retrospective, showcasing stories from my time as an editor there, a set of stories I called “flashbacks.” But then in late May of 2016, for no good reason, I ran out of steam. At first I meant to come back and post the rest of the ones I had planned, and then I decided maybe I was done; but a couple of friends expressed interest in seeing me continue, so I decided to pick it up again a year after I had stopped. Only then I missed that deadline too, and here it is a month after I had intended to start posting again. But I'm gonna give it another try.
So here's this week's flashback story. Mostly I'm trying to avoid providing any commentary about the stories until after the link and the spoiler warning, but for this one I feel like I should provide a bit of a content warning: this story unfortunately does some erasure of trans and nonbinary people. That was unintentional; but I regret not recognizing and addressing the issue at the time, and I suspect David does as well.
- “Planet of the Amazon Women,” by David Moles
- A man goes to a planet of women, to examine a causality anomaly. (Published in 2005.) (10,600 words.)
A century ago on Hippolyta, something called Amazon Fever killed thirteen hundred million men and boys. Hundreds of millions of women and girls died as well, slain indirectly, by the chaos that came in the Fever's wake.
No one knows now who started the Fever, or what they were trying to do: whether it was intentional—an attempt at an attack, or a revolution—or accidental—an industrial mishap, or a probability experiment gone awry, or even an archaeological discovery. But when it came it came suddenly, sweeping across Hippolyta in less than a year, in its progress less like a disease than like a curse. It defied drugs and vaccines and quarantines, brushing past exploration-grade immune enhancements as if they were so many scented medieval nosegays.
(See also the full list of Flashback stories.)
If I were editing this story today, after having read Ammonite and seen critiques of Wonder Woman, and with a dozen years more experience of knowing trans people and thinking about gender politics and religious politics, I would suggest some changes; and I suspect if David were writing this story today, he would write it somewhat differently. But I think it's still worth reading.
Among other things, I like the metafictional aspects of this story, the way that it takes apart and examines sf's handling of certain tropes, the way that it contrasts traditional-sf ideas of Manly Men In Space with more-recent-sf ideas about characters and gender and religion. For example, this bit:
They take their job very seriously, too, with a certain pride that they are the only ones in this part of the Polychronicon interested in the problem: the universe may be dangerous and chaotic and very poorly organized, but the Republic, and the Navy, are up to the task.
They're not, of course. The universe is so much more disorganized than these comic-opera astronauts could even imagine.
Which reads to me as commentary about science fiction as well as about the crew of this particular military starship.
I also like the kind of tech terminology and phrasing that David tosses off with such casual confidence:
simultaneity channels don't operate across the probability boundary
The inference engines, more delicate and abstract, I carry with me. They were made in Damascus, and their existence is largely mathematical.
Traditional technobabble about reversing the polarity of the neutron flow doesn't do much for me, but I love phrases like “simultaneity channels” and “inference engines.”
And I love the additional worldbuilding work that some other kinds of throwaway phrases do, especially this one:
I'm sponsored by the London Caliphate's Irrationality Office.
And a bunch of the implicit worldbuilding of the societies on Hippolyta.
In addition to the language and the metacommentary and the worldbuilding, I particularly like the ending of this story. The moment of wonder and revelation when Sasha/Yazmina sees the space elevator; the recognition that Hippolyta's history is also real; the final scene. Good stuff.
The days of forcing girls to take home economics, while boys take shop, are long gone.
But, in 2017, sexism is alive and well in classrooms all across the country. Today in America, girls are kept from walking at graduation because they’re pregnant, punished for wearing tank-tops, harassed for using bathrooms consistent with their gender identity, raped by classmates at alarmingly high rates, and subjected to physical violence by school resource officers for alleged “attitude” violations.
This continuing reality of gender inequality in schools in 2017 is what makes Title IX so important to all of us over here at Feministing. Title IX is the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in educational programs and activities that receive federal funding. It’s the law that’s allowed lots of us to grow up playing sports. It’s kept others of us from dropping out of school after being raped or abused. And, in a country without a formal federal constitutional right to education, it’s about the closest thing we’ve got to a federal guarantee of educational access and equality.
This week, Title IX turns 45. We need it now more than ever.
Plenty of us know that Title IX requires parity in girls’ and boys’ athletics, but it does so much more. One of the single biggest barriers to fulfilling Title IX’s promise of equality in education is that girls and other students don’t realize it protects them. So today, in honor of Title IX’s big birthday, do the young people you love a solid and send them this post about their rights in school.
Who Title IX Protects
Title IX protects students at any educational level, from kindergarten to graduate school, who attend schools that receive federal funding. That means any public school, plus nearly every private college and university, as well as plenty of private K-12 schools that receive federal moneys through the federal lunch program and others like it. It protects girls, as well as students who don’t conform to traditional gender stereotypes. And it protects faculty and staff, too.
What Title IX Does
Title IX does a lot. Here are five examples.
1. Forbids schools from discriminating against pregnant and parenting students. It’s illegal for schools that receive federal dollars to kick a student who becomes pregnant out of the honors society, or to force her into a “special” (read: less rigorous) high school. But it happens all. the. time. Learn more about pregnant and parenting students’ rights from the National Women’s Law Center.
2. Prohibits discriminatory dress codes. Not a day goes by that we don’t hear about another school punishing a girl for shorts that fail to meet the “fingertips” test, outfits considered “distracting” to the boys, or a hairstyle that’s deemed “too messy.” Black and gender non-conforming girls often bear the brunt of these sexist — and racist — dress codes. And the sanctions that accompany them leave girls feeling humiliated and stigmatized, and forced to miss out on school. It’s all probably illegal — and on the cutting edge of Title IX (and Title VI) litigation today. Learn more from the ACLU here.
3. Requires schools to take action to stop anti-LGBT bullying and harassment. Under Title IX, schools must take action to protect students from harassment based on gender stereotyping. And, no matter what the Trump Administration says to the contrary, Title IX protects transgender and gender non-conforming students.
4. Protects student survivors of sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence. Schools must take steps to prevent and respond to gender violence and harassment. Student survivors are entitled to the academic, housing, and other accommodations they need in order to stay in school and learn. Learn more from Know Your IX — and remember, Title IX protects K-12 sexual violence victims, too.
5. Requires parity in boys’ and girls’ athletics. Research shows that girls who play sports in high school are more likely than non-athletes to graduate and earn 7% higher wages as adults. Learn more from our friends at Legal Aid at Work.
What You Can Do
Spread the word! Students can’t stand up for their rights if they don’t know they have them to begin with. And if you think your school is violating girls’ rights, speak up. Write about it in your local newspaper. Organize your peers. Launch an activist campaign. Persist.
Another lesson for me on the difficulty of seeing outside your own cultural context:
In Delany's City of a Thousand Suns (1966), a historian (Rolth Catham) is talking about various people writing for their ideal audiences. During that discussion, he refers repeatedly to “man” (meaning humankind), and consistently uses “he” to refer to various ideal readers. I was noticing the genderedness of all that, so I was ruefully amused when he adds (p. 158):
“… I check and recheck my historical theory for cultural, sexual, emotional bias, for that ideal man, who is ideally unbiased.”
So despite checking his own work repeatedly for cultural and sexual bias, the character is oblivious to his belief that the ideal unbiased reader is a man.
I don't, of course, bring this up in order to criticize Chip for something he wrote fifty years ago. I bring it up because I think it's another nice illustration of how hard it is to recognize our own cultural frameworks even when we're explicitly trying to avoid bias.
Today, James and I will go to the hospital to fetch her belongings. Monday, the social worker will contact me about arrangements for her disposition.
The kids are fine. James and I are fine. My mom is alternately fine and wrecked, which will probably be the way of things for a while.
We lost her a long, long time ago. There's some finality in the past day's events, but not much has changed.
Munchkin the Younger came up yesterday to check in, to tell me that I am her real mother, and to get comfort in talking to someone who understands not having any emotion left for the person we lost all those years ago.
I'm sorry there was no way for us to reach her. I'm sorry her life was sad and hard, and that she caused so much damage in our family.
I do have a lot of good memories from those 19 years, and I met a lot of awesome people. I’m reminded of some of those times when watching this new BETRUE video featuring Mother Leiomy:
The Mary Sue
(Need I mention that Nike does the coolest stuff?)
For now, I’ve limited myself to participating in the Pride Parade. But there is the possibility of increasing involvement within my own workplace. Could be that activism, like charity, begins at home.
On Wednesday at work I had a full day of meetings, and at the same time I was looking ahead to the weekend – and saw how horrible the weather was going to be with temperatures approaching 100°F on both Saturday and Sunday – and in the 90s on Friday and Monday. Ugh. Heat makes me sluggish, miserable, and unproductive. I had entertained thoughts of taking Friday or Monday off, but I didn’t see how trying to work in a hot house was going to help anything.
Then I had the brilliant idea of taking Thursday off. The high temperature would be around 81°F – and the house would be cooler than that for most of the day. I cleared my schedule and got the day off.
It’s unheard of for me to have two vacation days in the same week.
On Thursday I did the one big thing I’d been deferring for weeks – merging two Lightroom catalogs into one. In March I had Screwed Up, which had resulted in splitting my photographs across two Lightroom catalogs and two image repositories. Eventually I figured out that this was a bad idea, and I needed to pull these back together. So I spent a good chunk of Thursday migrating and merging. The first 6 1/3 hours was copying the old 1.89 TB image repository from Tsukasa (2 TB drive) to Miyuki (4 TB drive). After that, the copies and merges were not too bad. Total elapsed time – about 9 1/2 hours. But my Lightroom catalog and image repository is back in one piece.
Friday we have summer afternoons off, so I went to work for just the morning – 6:30 am to noon. I dressed to stay cool, with black denim shorts, sandals, and…
iPhone 6 photo
It’s still Pride Month, after all!
I still have a long list of project tasks to dispatch during this miserably hot weekend. I’m not optimistic… but I’m going to try to be productive.
row 1: my kids; gardening; tutoring; the fanfic community; Octavia Butler;
row 2: stories; books; autonomy; Wiscon; storytelling;
row 3: dogs; Rachel Maddow; math; different points of view; raptors;
row 4: introversion; puzzles; podfic; logic; making people laugh;
row 5: compost; R.A. Lafferty; science fiction; due South; ecology;
I made this at http://myfreebingocards.com
I picked 25 topics that I like, and that I like to talk about.
I let the web page randomize the placement. I was lucky that "my kids" didn't end up in the middle.
I clicked "Play Online Now" to get an image I could snip.
Check off the things that also interest you and see if we have a bingo.
On Sunday, June 18, near the end of the holy month of Ramadan, Nabra Hassanen was brutally murdered.
She was 17 years old, black, and wore a headscarf. She was bludgeoned with a baseball bat by 22-year-old Darwin Martinez Torres, who then kidnapped her in his car, killed her, and dumped her body in a pond.
According to the Fairfax County Police Department, Nabra and her large group of friends were walking back from a fast food restaurant to the mosque at about 3:40 A.M., prior to the start of the day’s fast. Torres “came upon the teens while he was driving,” and quarreled with a teenage boy on a bike. He then caught up with the group in a nearby parking lot, got out of his car with a baseball bat, and began to chase as the teens ran. Torres was able to catch Nabra, who fell behind.
Nabra was female, black, and visibly Muslim. She and the girls in her group were dressed in long abayas and headscarves. Yet the police department released a statement the day after, saying that they had not found any evidence to consider this a hate crime:
“There is nothing to indicate at this point this tragic case was a hate crime. No evidence has been uncovered that shows this murder was motivated by race or religion. It appears the suspect became so enraged over the traffic dispute it escalated into deadly violence…”
Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. said police have “absolutely no evidence” that her killing was motivated by hate.
Responses on Twitter to the police department’s characterization of Nabra’s murder as a “road rage” incident were varied. Most of them were angry.
When did walking become a road rage incident? Stop silencing hate crimes – you’re only contributing to them by blatantly lying. — Nanditha (@nandithanr) June 20, 2017
“Torres then took Nabra with him in his car to a second location nearby in Loudoun County”. It was road rage up until he ABDUCTED her. — smolly (@MMMollyAnn) June 19, 2017
Just like the murder of the 3 young Muslims in Chapel Hill NC 2 yrs ago over a parking space. Bullshit! Say it- Hate crime! — val (@Shanti1) June 20, 2017
Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council of American-Islamic Relations, told CNN, “[T]here are not always overt statements of bias made during the crime. But we firmly believe that many of these crimes would not have occurred at all if the victims were not perceived as being Muslim.”
* * *
In February 2015, three young Muslims were killed in North Carolina. Deah Barakat and Yusor Abu-Salha were newly married, and Yusor’s younger sister Razan often came over to stay with the couple at their home. The two women both observed hijab.
Craig Hicks, a neighbor, harassed them continuously in the weeks leading up to the killings. Yusor’s father later said she had told him, “Daddy, I think it is because of the way we look and the way we dress.”
On the day of the murders, Hicks sprayed Deah with bullets, shot the sisters execution-style in the head, and shot Deah once more before he left. The Chapel Hill Police Department stated that the crime was motivated by “an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking.”
* * *
I am a young Muslim woman, and I wear hijab. I live in New York City, among people from every conceivable walk of life; but I harbor no illusion that my identities do not make me more vulnerable to attack.
I pin my headscarf tightly, so that it can’t easily be ripped off.
I throw in a few words of English when I speak Arabic, so that I am not kicked off a plane.
Muslims are increasingly likely to be targeted by hate crimes, with the latest FBI hate crime statistics showing an increase of 67% between 2014 and 2015. More recently, the Council on American-Islamic Relations has reported a sharp acceleration in Islamophobic incidents after Trump’s November election.
But Muslim women in particular – who can often be more easily identified by their clothing – are even more recognizable targets. Their very presence in public spaces, as both women and visibly Muslim people, places them at a doubly heightened risk of discrimination and violence. In Nabra’s case, she faced a risk that was triply heightened: she was also black.
On May 26, a man killed two people and injured a third on a train in Portland, after they confronted him for shouting racist and anti-Muslim slurs at two teenage girls. One of the girls was black. The other was Muslim, and wore a hijab.
* * *
In the early morning of June 21, a 24-year-old man reportedly set Nabra’s memorial on fire. He was arrested and charged with “attending or kindling bonfires.” Sergeant Anna Rose explained, “[T]he memorial did not appear to be specifically targeted.”
The police report did not list hate bias as a possible motivation.
She's in ICU right now, unlikely to regain consciousness, unlikely to live out this day, and I'm sorry that she had such a mean, small, painful life, but I'm not at all sorry that she'll be gone, because it's hard to cause fresh hurt and injury once you've died. Not impossible, but hard.
I'll go with my mom this evening so she can say good-bye. For myself, I don't find it necessary; Barbara's been out of my life since my kid turned 18 (gosh, almost 8 years ago), and for the last couple years, she was in prison, so there's nothing to say good-bye to. For my mom, this is so so so fraught. She blames herself for my sister's mental illness, dissipation, and alienation. She feels like if she'd been a better mother, it would have gone better.
Honestly, my mom was a better mother to my sister than to me -- children who act up often get more attention and effort than the compliant, goody-two-shoes ones. I haven't made any secret of my sorrow over my mother's mistakes in parenting, but they're not the reason my sister is who she is. Not saying none of it was ever a factor. Just that picking one person as the cause of another's bad deeds is pretty much never the way to bet.
Anyway, I'm totally fine, emotionally. I'm just feeling pensive about the ripple effects we all have on the people in our circles, even years after we have any contact at all, and I'm feeling a renewed desire to be a positive force in my loved one's lives, instead of a negative one.
Mostly notes for myself:( Read more... )
Still not happy that I'm stuck with all the on the spot meeting with people, but at least owner#1 is coming by to mow while I'm away this weekend. He seems to have made a decision to be more involved and is following through (second time mowing).
My internal to the condo past due to do item is to settle on and order 3 ceiling fans (the second bedroom one is dying a slow death, the living room was dead when I moved in, and the first bedroom one died at the tail end of summer). I have a quote for installation (2 people, 2 hours, much better than me struggling with it for a day, so throwing money at the problem it is). I've lost the link to the one I found and thought I'd book marked and I'm lost in a sea of choices. I think I'll go with the Hunter brand whisper quiet ones, just trying to decide if I get all three the same, or make fashion based choices on a per room basis. :-) Mostly worried about spending enough that I don't have to replace them again in a couple years. Tips welcome!
Also, was trying to watch Star Trek Beyond and why is Kirk so fucking TERRIBLE at negotiation? Is he or is he not supposed to have been tops in all his subjects? So why was he so sarcastic and impatient and lacking in empathy? Why was the entire negotiation scene played for jokes? Star Trek is SUPPOSED to be about diplomacy as well as fighting, these motherfuckers can only focus on action? Frankly I wouldn't want to live anywhere near the Federation, they are clearly the same shitheads that militaries today are. Which was not quite the intention of the original. This medicore ass, fratboy ass white imperialistic ass fuckwittery tho. Its so frustrating when the fanfic IS SO MUCH BETTER than the shit these so called professionals GET PAID FOR.
Finally watching Cowboy Bebop. SO GOOD. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the architecture of the world, the gates are BADASS and the diversity of the characters?! There are darskinned folk up in there! And I love the fact that they are having adventures but it aint about war. I am so SICK of war. I feel like describing war as action adventure is erasure. War isn't adventure. Not by a long shot.
One thing about it that I didnt like was the story line about terrorist environmentalists. Made me annoyed because I feel like I keep seeing movies in which environmentalists are set up as cuckoo terrorists who go too far. Considering teh fact that coporations and their captive govts are responsible for the current destruction of the planet for human habitation ... says a lot about the ideologies of the ruling class. More environmentalists as heroes I say. And more corporations as the destructive moneygrubbing villians that they are. Speaking of, I need several articles that look into the specifics of corporate welfare. The drumbeat of lazy mooching poor continues unabated while corporations make billions more than in tax dollars the poor ever manage to but have their misdeeds cozily hidden by our fourth estate. Then again corporations own the fourth estate. Apparently folk are going to have to learn up close and personal AGAIN that monopolies are bad for us. Hoo-fucking-ray.
I would like to seee a movie in which a James Bond type or platoon of them come in to fuck up a government in a POC majority country and the heroes are the security forces of said countries who repel the invaders and embarass the shit out of the colonizing country. Actually I would like to see several movies about this.
I need to write more. I am brimming with ideas but the resilency to sit down and write is lacking. Because I keep getting hung up on the fact that what sounds great in my head doesnt come out as such on paper. *sigh*