Friday, September 12, 2014

The Friday Four, Part 83


So I did that facebook challenge to list 10 books that have been influential in my life and this is what I came up with (in no particular order):

1. The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis
2. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
3. Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
4. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
5. Far from the Tree by Andrew Solomon
6. Animal Farm and 1984 by George Orwell
7. Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
8. Night by Elie Wiesel
9. The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
10. Project Conversion by Andrew Bowen
11. The God Who Weeps by Terryl and Fiona Givens
12. The Princess Bride by William Goldman

I didn't include scriptures - they're just a given - and yes, there are more than 10. I refuse to be bound by silly facebook chain posting rules.

(And then I kept thinking of more books I should have included, like Come Be My Light by Mother Teresa, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, and Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey...I could keep going...)


Looking at the list I compiled, I thought it was interesting how pretty much all of the fiction books I included are fantasy and science fiction.  Fantasy and sci-fi were definitely my first literary loves.

So this list of "21 Books That Changed Science Fiction and Fantasy Forever" caught my eye.  H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, J.R.R. Tolkien, Vonnegut, Le Guin, and then a few I wasn't familiar with that I get to add to my to-read list!  Can't wait!


I recently ran across "'We Have Always Fought': Challenging the 'Women, Cattle, and Slaves' Narrative" by Kameron Hurley.
Half the world is full of women, but it’s rare to hear a narrative that doesn’t speak of women as the people who have things done to them instead of the people who do things. More often, women are talked about as a man’s daughter. A man’s wife...
...women did all sorts of things we think they didn’t do. In the middle ages, they were doctors and sheriffs. In Greece they were… oh, sod it. Listen. Foz Meadows does a better job with all the linky-links, for those who desire “proof.” Let’s just put it this way: if you think there’s a thing – anything – women didn’t do in the past, you’re wrong. Women – now and then – even made a habit of peeing standing up. They wore dildos. So even things the funny-ha-ha folks immediately raise a hand to say, like: “It’s impossible women did X!” Well. They did it.
I loved reading that when the skeletons of Viking warriors were closely examined, it was discovered that between a third and a half of them were women.  It's time to let go of some of our preconceptions of what women did in the past and perhaps even let it inform our ideas of what women can do today.


One of the links in the quote above takes you to this great article also about the wide variety of roles women have played throughout history and linking it to modern fantasy and science fiction writing.
Time and again, we see fans and creators alike defending the primacy of homogeneous – which is to say, overwhelmingly white, straight and male – stories on the grounds that anything else would be intrinsically unrealistic...But what happens when our perception of historical accuracy is entirely at odds with real historical accuracy? What happens when we mistake our own limited understanding of culture – or even our personal biases – for universal truths? What happens, in other words, when we’re jerked out of a story, not because the fantastic elements don’t make sense, but because the social/political elements strike us as being implausible on the grounds of unfamiliarity?
This article contains a wealth of documented examples of things we "just know" didn't really happen in history.  Makes for hours of fascinating and educational reading.

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