Short story: “Selfie”

“Selfie,” by Sandra McDonald

5594 words

Appeared here in Lightspeed Magazine, May 2014

A clever and likable story. Though a few parts struck me as predictable or a little too easy (the Carlos scene, the ending).

Short story: “Observations About Eggs from the Man Sitting Next to Me on a Flight from Chicago, Illinois to Cedar Rapids, Iowa”

“Observations About Eggs from the Man Sitting Next to Me on a Flight from Chicago, Illinois to Cedar Rapids, Iowa,” by Carmen Maria Machado

2032 words

Appeared here in Lightspeed Magazine, April 2014

I’m not sure I understand this story, but the gradual escalation of the narrator’s creepiness is masterful, and every single one of his “observations” is worth reading.

On writing and being in love

“[One] answer I have at times given to the ‘why write?’ question is to say, ‘Being involved in writing a piece of fiction is a lot like being in love.’ The similarity lies in the tendency of people truly in love to see everything not only through their own eyes, but also through the eyes of the person they love. As in, ‘What would he think of that?’ or ‘How would she feel about that?'”

—Zilpha Keatley Snyder (here, found via the New York Times)

Short story: “A Tank Only Fears Four Things”

 “A Tank Only Fears Four Things,” by Seth Dickinson

2499 words

Appeared in issue 48 of Lightspeed Magazine, May 2014; online here

A remarkable story. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it among next year’s Hugo nominees.

The only real complaint I have is that the procedure at the end feels a little too easy, occurring as it does between paragraphs.

On what equality means in an unequal society

“There is a tendency to judge the actions of those with the least amount of power the same as those with more power and then ask, ‘Isn’t that what equality means?’ It’s a clever rhetorical evasion of the issue. Equality is the goal, but to pretend that we actually exist as equals right now is to ignore reality.”

—Mychal Denzel Smith in an essay

Short story: “The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye”

“The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye,” by Matthew Kressel

5721 words, according to Clarkesworld

Appeared here in issue 92 of Clarkesworld, May 2014

This is just neat.

Short story: “Keep Your Shape”

“Keep Your Shape,” by Robert Sheckley

5,800 words

Appeared in Galaxy in November 1953; read on Project Gutenberg; featured in Escape Pod episode 455, July 21st, 2014

This is such a cute story, but Pid’s shapeshifting abilities are portrayed inconsistently (he’s unable to customize his dog senses, but he can drastically modify his bird body in midair) and the change in his character isn’t set up well enough to be believable.

Short story: “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love”

“If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love,” by Rachel Swirsky

966 words

Appeared here in issue 46 and the podcast of Apex Magazine on March 5th, 2013; nominated for a 2014 Hugo Award; featured in episode 458 of Escape Pod, August 14th, 2014

I dig it.

On a reread, it becomes clear that the reveal was being set up the whole time, with the wedding scene being the narrator’s way of bargaining.

The mid-sentence transition (“just as they must avert their eyes”) is clever. I think it works better on the page than read aloud.

A note on joining WordPress

It turns out that signing up with WordPress automatically creates an account for you on intensedebate.com. That would be okay, except that logging out of WordPress doesn’t log you out of intensedebate.

I’ve also noticed that after I log out of the main WordPress site and my blog, I’m still logged into at least one other WordPress-based site.

Support isn’t very helpful on either of these points. Best bet is to just clear all cookies and never log in except in private/incognito mode.

“Just don’t take nude photos of yourself,” or how fear enforces social norms

I don’t want to live in a society where people are scared of being mocked, harassed, shamed for things that aren’t shameful, sexualized when they’re not being sexual, treated like objects, and exploited for money.

I want to live in a society where people are scared of committing harassment (because that’s a crime), scared of violating other people’s privacy (because that’s a crime), and scared of being shamed for doing those things (because they’re shameful things to do).

I want to live in a society where men are nervous about sending dick pics without an invitation.

I want to live in a society where people who illicitly hide cameras have to worry about the long-term consequences, while the people they photograph can feel reasonably safe.

I want to live in a society where “hackers” are scared of stealing nude photos, bitter exes are scared to share sex tapes, and porn aficionados are scared to look at creepshots.


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