Midnight musings

These are just random late night thoughts. Well, its midnight somewhere, at least…

I have run across a few consistent strains of thought this week and they have occupied a fair bit of my mental resources. The first is very comparable to a virus, prejudice against women in gaming and women in geekdom in general. On Tuesday I ran into this in three separate forms: the ongoing #1ReasonWhy campaign on twitter which sums up some of the lingering, possibly growing sexism faced by female professionals in the gaming industry. The little stories that these women share are worth reading, and just make me sad. This RPS column sums up why everyone, especially us men, should show their support for our sisters in the gaming industry. Having done some work in the industry, I’d love to see this shake things up. I would much rather have any of my gamer friends, male or female, work on a game than a former banker who is just in it for the money. The second was a discussion about fake gamer girls.  Apparently women who use voice chat in Xbox live and other online services are often bombarded with sexist comments. The newest strain of this is that these women are “fake gamer girls” who are “just trying to get attention”. I have also seen this kind of virulence directed at cosplayers and spokeswomen. A friend of mine mentioned this to me because he could not understand why his female friend had to switch from Xbox to PS3 to play her favorite shooter. He thought that gaming with mixed groups women was markedly healthier than just gaming with guys. I tend to agree. Female players kick ass in MMOs and some of my favorite modders are women so why am I even having to write this. I literally feel like I have gone back in time 20 years to being the games club president and having to have discussions about not not raping the characters of female players. I blame politics, I really do. Young men see their powerful, political elders attacking women’s rights and some of them copy that exact language and throw down with it in games and internet comments sections. They sound like Rush Limbaugh. The third one is that this has also filtered into the publishing industry, where, despite the fact that we have more great female sci-fi and fantasy writers than I could ever list, women are still facing barriers. The only time I give a crap about the author’s name is if I have already read them and a feel strongly about their work in general. Otherwise it is utterly irrelevant.

I remember a time when geekdom was small and insular and there were very few women. Trust me, modern geekdom is far better because of people like Felicia Day. As a geek, male or female, if your first reaction upon seeing a woman (or any person at all, really) is to try to judge whether or not she is a geek poseur you are not helping. Even if they aren’t quite getting it right, they are showing an interest in your culture, why not help them out and promote the things that you are passionate bout? Or if not keep your rabid, puritanical gob shut and remember that geeks and nerds started as social outcasts and have always been inclusive of anyone who was willing to put up with them. Now that we are growing we should not arrogantly cast that aside.

On a more positive note the other consistent strain of thought I’m coming across is in publishing advice. The consensus seems to be that the best way to promote yourself as an author is to write more books. The theory is complex and interesting, but it who needs it anyways because the idea just makes sense when you think about it. If readers like your work they will want more. The longer you hold their enthusiastic attention the more theyw ill recommend you.

There are subtleties to this. Strategically, I would have been a little better off to write both Bloodlust Books and then release them withing six months of each other, bumping my first book at just the right time. Live and learn.

Have a nice evening, and FFS be kind to each other.


4 comments on “Midnight musings

  1. judaidan says:

    Yeah, I find the complaints of “originality” frustratingly oblique. I can assure you, as (having been) a prolific reader and an English major, that there really is no elements of a story that is new under the sun. The trick is adding something interesting to these character types or motifs. People forget that Tolkein’s fairy culture both celebrated old myths and were a direct reaction to the cute fairy artwork, poems and stories that were rampant when he was a young man. Faeries were magestic creatures to be feared – truly feared (apparently my grandmother would always holler out before dumping her washing water to give the Faeries fair warning – just in case, you know) not cherub faced winged scantily dressed (those Victorians) tousled headed girls. Tolkein’s writing itself is a beautiful fusion of Victorian travel writing and mostly Anglo-Saxon epics he so admired, neither being unique by itself. Combined they created an entire new genre. Likewise plenty of authors I’ve admired are able to both celebrate and critically respond to their predecessors. I absolutely adored Marion Zimmer Bradley’s retelling of the Arthurian legends and Trojan war myths from the female perspective. She was criticized for treading on tired old ground too – but her response was that these particular stories have never been told. I would agree. Hilary Mantel also suffered initial dismissal from literary critics with her Thomas Cromwell series for writing a historical novel and even worse, a novel concerning the romantic woes of Henry VIII, and even worse, a trilogy! Of course, these novels are masterpieces – but the subject matter has been adapted so many times it could fill a whole library. Need I mention Shakespeare? He wrote only one play that was probably entirely his own (and not mined from Holinshed or other works). So originality is a silly argument. Gygax may have called his hobbit character a halfling – but we all fucking knew it was a hobbit. 😉

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