Monthly Archives: August 2014

Is a library still a library without physical books?

A spacious 11,000 square-foot minimalist bookless library has been opened by Florida Polytechnic University. Instead of physical books 135,000 ebooks are available on the university’s four core subjects: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

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LonCon3 #15: Beyond Bechdel (feminism)

Panellists: Kate Heartfield, Kate Elliott, Jed Hartman, Julia Rios, JY Yang

The “Bechdel test” for female representation in films is now widely known. To pass it a film should contain two named female characters who have a conversation about something other than a man. In recent years, similar tests have been proposed for other under-represented groups, including the Mako Mori test for characters of colour, and the Russo test for queer characters. What are the strengths and weaknesses of such tests? How do they affect our viewing choices? And what does the popularity of such tests say about how popular media are being received and discussed?

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Leafmarks welcomes GR’s GLBT romance community with mature tags for sexy images

Recent controversy over at Goodreads over arbitrary nudity violations has spurred many in the GLBT romance and erotica reading community to open Leafmarks accounts. And in an effort to welcome the group Leafmarks have implemented mature and spoiler tags to hide sexy and spoiler-ific content behind a clickable link, giving one the choice to view it or not.

Two custom tags: spoiler, and mature – can now be used in reviews, status updates, and comments. These tags collapse content into links “[VIEW SPOILER]” or “[VIEW MATURE CONTENT”] until clicked on to expand.

LonCon3 #14: Decontextualizing Steampunk

Panellists: Gail Carriger, Liesel Schwarz, Ann Vandermeer, Patricia Ash, Rjurik Davidson

Is steampunk historically specific, or could any genre story benefit from a few more cogs and zeppelins? What are the pros and cons of exporting the steampunk aesthetic to stories set in other times and places? Can ‘the future that never was’ be extricated from the past it definitely did have? In other words, can you have steampunk without empire, and all that implies?

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LonCon3 #13: Fantasy and Medievalism

Panellists: Robin Hobb, K.A. Laity, Marieke Nijkamp (We Need Diverse Books), Lynda Rucker, Gillian Polack

High fantasy is almost invariably set in invented worlds inspired by medieval Europe. Can we put this down to the legacy of Tolkien and to genre works being in close conversation with each other? Or is there something about the place that medieval Europe occupies in our imagination that makes it a perfect companion for tales of epic striving and larger-than-life Good versus Evil? Either way, does this help or hinder the genre?

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Martin Amis: “[Britain] is a successful post-racialist society,” America is not

author Martin AmisThe Independent reported author Martin Amis‘s thoughts on whether he would move from his NYC home back to Britain.

“Coming from America – and depending on the economic level of where you happen to be – the multiracial aspect [of Britain] is a great triumph, I think.”

“It is a successful post-racialist society. The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War. It’s meant to be an era of colour-blindness but the fact is the proportion of black and brown people in the US has quintupled in the last couple of decades.”

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Goodreads Deletes Power Users, Leafmarks Benefits

I’m coming late to this party and I’m shocked I hadn’t seen anything about this anywhere, not even in in the Goodreads Feedback group, until now, in GR status updates. [1][2][3][4]

Two power users, JennyJen (Twitter, Booklikes) and Marco Manganiello (Facebook), who had hundreds of followers and reviews, initially had their reviews deleted based on the images in their reviews, which were flagged by other users for supposedly contravening GR’s arbitrary policy against nudity and anything remotely risqué or controversial, like semi-naked men kissing. The horror! The horror!

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LonCon3 #12: Sympathy for the Zombie

Panellists: Laurie Penny, Daryl Gregory, David Towsey, Claudia Kern, Deborah Christie

According to M John Harrison, “The zombie is the ultimate other in a neoliberal society … they will never embarrass you by revealing their humanity.” To what extent does this reading explain the popularity of zombie franchises? And what are we to make of works such as Warm Bodies, The Returned and In The Flesh, that start to rehumanise the zombie?

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LonCon3 #11: Kill the Parents (young adult)

Panellists: Todd McCaffrey, Leigh Bardugo, Sarah J Maas, Amy McCulloch, Sophia McDougall

The extreme measures we take to remove responsible adults in order to empower children in stories – whether it’s J.K. Rowling starting poor Harry off an orphan, or C.S. Lewis exiling an entire family to the country, or Suzanne Collins forcing Katniss Everdeen to become the adult in her mother’s own house… Panelists will discuss the importance, or lack thereof, of parents in YA stories.

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