Archive for ‘links’

January 31, 2016

Of Interest (31 January, 2016)

Here are some good things I read this week.

Children’s Books (and media):

Rob Maslen on T.H. White’s The Sword in the Stone (which is of course perfect). And here is a conversation from a few months ago about The Once and Future King, in which Felix Gilman, in particular, says some good things.

Brent Ryan Bellamy at Strange Horizons on energy in The Jetsons and The Flintstones.

The results of the Hindu Young World-Goodbooks awards are here (shortlists here). I’m in Delhi soon, and am planning to pick up some of these (definitely the Venita Coelho).

Nicole Pasulka and Brian Ferree on Ursula the Sea Witch and Divine. I enjoyed this, but also I’m confused by any writing about Ursula that reads her as white.

Anne of Green Gables is pro-choice! (Mrs Lynde I’m not so sure of …)



Malcolm Harris reviews Ned and Constance Sublette’s The Slave Coast; I’m particularly struck by this, near the beginning:

But to think about American slaves merely as coerced and unpaid laborers is to misunderstand the institution. Slaves weren’t just workers, the Sublettes remind the reader—they were human capital. The very idea that people could be property is so offensive that we tend retroactively to elide the designation, projecting onto history the less-noxious idea of the enslaved worker, rather than the slave as commodity. Mapping 20th-century labor models onto slavery spares us from reckoning with the full consequences of organized dehumanization, which lets us off too easy: To turn people into products means more than not paying them for their work.

Deana Heath on Britain’s national curriculum and its whitewashing of imperial history. Via Alex Adams.

So many Rhodes Must Fall thinkpieces, so little time. But this by David Olusoga and this by Christopher Phelps and this by Minesh Parekh aren’t bad. (The position of this website is, obviously, #RMF)



Joyelle McSweeney interviews Kamau Brathwaite on catastrophe, ecological and otherwise, and history, and home. (This is amazing, you should read it.) (via Kate Schapira.)

In Goa, coconut trees are no longer trees.

Rather terrifying (and yet also not at all surprising :/) that the effects of the caste system are literally visible in Indian DNA. Via Alok Prasanna Kumar.

Florence Okoye on realising an Afrofuturist Africa. Via An Afrofuturist Affair on twitter.

Pritesh Pal’s everyday photographs of a queer couple are rather lovely–link and some context at Gaylaxy, here.

The text of Sara Ahmed’s lecture, “Feminism and Fragility“.

Vajra Chandrasekera destroys SF and writes a really good essay.

What I loved about these books is what they had in common, this beautiful blue-shifted Soviet optimism. “I want to capture the many fleeting expressions on the faces of my youthful contemporaries—those who ride in trams and make their way on foot, those who are building towns in the taiga, those who are training for flights into space.” That’s Aksyonov talking about his book, the one without robots or artificial islands. It comes from that particular time and place when real people like Korolyov and Glushko did utterly science-fictional things, and even though I was reading it as the dream of the USSR crumbled, it managed to transport me across the thirty intervening years to a place where the dream was still alive. Communism, the future, space—no, I had it right at thirteen, that was science fiction.

JR Martin on Carol, Velvet Goldmine and David Bowie.

Sridala Swami links me to Dhrubo Jyoti’s fantastic reply to a ridiculous piece about caste by Devdutt Pattnaik which inexplicably decided the world needed to see.



January 24, 2016

Of Interest (24 January, 2016)

A two week silence, and there are things I’m not linking to this week. I’m sorting through the sheer volume of what has been written since the death of Rohith Vemula, and can only link to a couple of things–including his own words on the subject.

(In a completely different way and for completely other reasons I find I’m unable to link to any of the thousands of editorials and personal responses that have been written since the death of David Bowie.)



Rohith Vemula:

Rohith Vemula’s last words.

Meena Kandasamy on Rohith’s death is a call to arms that feels necessary.

Let them realise that Vedic times, the era of pouring molten lead into the ears of the Shudras who hear the sacred texts, the era of cutting the tongues of those who dared to utter the knowledge that was denied to them, are long gone. Let them understand that we have stormed these bastions to educate, to agitate, to organise; we did not come here to die. We have come to learn, but let the monsters of caste and their henchmen bear in mind that we have come here also to teach them an unforgettable lesson.



Children’s literature has managed two painful controversies over books about happy slaves in the past few months. Debbie Reese has collections of links here and here; Ebony Elizabeth Thomas’s annotated Storify is the best thing I’ve read on the subject.

There was an annoying piece about the book in the NYT recently, so here is a reminder that you should read Christina Sharpe on Alice Goffman’s On the Run.

Via Megan Milks, Kayla E. collects the thoughts of ten women and nonbinary comics creators about the Grand Prix de la ville d’Angoulême and its failure to recognise that not-men exist.

Sneha Rajaram on growing up with Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye.

Via Egbert Alejandro Martina, Nadina Botha on the necessity of Afrofuturism.

Gayatri Jayaraman on recent Indian poetry. Via Sridala Swami.


Bodies and Places and Histories and Things:

Mindy Hung at the Toast on her relationship(s) with her father and religion. Via Kate Schapira.

Sanam Maher on the rise of Mr Burger. Via Bilal Tanweer.

This week on television: Sunny Leone was interviewed by Bhupendra Chaubey; he could not get over the whole “used to be in porn” thing; she was unruffled and thoroughly showed him up. More here.

Elizabeth Royte (words) and Charlie Hamilton Jones (pictures) on the necessity of vultures. (several graphic pictures there)

Padmini Ray Murray and Chris Hand on Making in India.

Dallas Hunt on Mad Max: Fury Road as a totem transfer narrative. Via Hiromi Goto.

Louis Allday on the Tate Britain’s Artist and Empire: Facing Britain’s Imperial Past, which. Er. Doesn’t.

Dominique Malaquais in Chimurenga on bodies and gender and embodying/engendering Africa.


January 10, 2016

Of Interest (10 January, 2016)

Here are links to some things I read this week.



I hadn’t realised quite how much discussion the LARB had devoted to Claudia Rankine’s Citizen (which is a book which should be spoken about lots) until a link from Natalia Cecire to the first part of this symposium–the links at the end of the piece lead to the second part, as well as a two-part roundtable; I haven’t read the roundtable yet but I’m glad it’s there.

Maureen McLane on Anne Boyer’s Garments Against Women.

Did I mention (I did) that Danez Smith’s [insert] boy was one of the best things I read last year? From “summer, somewhere”, in this month’s Poetry, via Sridala Swami. And here’s “I’m Going Back To Minnesota Where Sadness Makes Sense,” via half of my twitter feed this week.

A new Anne Carson story, “1=1“.

Salman Hussain in Dawn on Deepa Kumar’s Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire.


Film and TV:

When Casey Plett tweeted a link to this conversation between her and Jonathan Kay about The Danish Girl she said she’d thought to suggest titling it Ok Fine Goddammit Let’s Talk About The Danish Girl so that is what I am going to call it because it’s a good title. Related, very good, and linked to from that piece, Plett’s essay Rise of the Gender Novel. And less formal, but still great, Red Durkin’s livetweet of the film here (via Sabine on Twitter).

Via Rohan Maitzen, Maddie Rodriguez on three versions of Jane Eyre‘s red room scene.

I haven’t seen the Sherlock Christmas special. I’m  torn between my continuing bemusement at the British national pastime, so it seems to me, where everyone must always watch the same things on TV always and forever no matter how angry (Question Time) or disappointed (Doctor Who) one expects to be, and my shiny new bemusement at how little I care–I remember waiting for season two a few years ago and actually being excited. I mention this mostly to explain why I am the only Strange Horizons book reviews editor not to have written about it– but these pieces by Maureen and Dan are great, so you’re not missing anything.

I don’t know much about 6 Pack Band, who are being marketed (by Yash Raj Films?!) as India’s first trans band, but this cover of Pharrell’s “Happy” is making me very, er. Happy.

Deepra Dandekar performs a feminist reading of Mastani’s religion and caste in Bajirao Mastani.


Bodies in Space (i.e. miscellaneous?):

I’m not sure where else to classify this great conversation between Amandla Stenberg and Solange Knowles, on the subject of being young, black and amazing, but it’s so good, and so full of excellent pictures, and I’m very glad Stenberg is alive in the world (and also writing SFFnal comics!).

Medical student Bahar Orang on touching naked bodies. (Via Shruti Ravi)

Chandrahas Choudhury on food historian Pushpesh Pant. (I will admit to giggling at the “ey khaana to ey gaana” story.) (via Chapati Mystery)

The Ladies Finger have posted a best of the year list that has so many good things I want to link to. For a start: this lovely, warm piece by Aneela Z. Babbar on her Pakistani-Indian-Australian family (I’ve met her, she really is that funny in person), this useful illustrated guide to women on panels, and everything Sneha Rajaram has ever written.


January 3, 2016

Of Interest (3 January, 2016)

Links of interest for this fortnight or so (because last week I completely forgot).


Book Things:

Sandeep Parmar’s piece on race and poetry in the UK felt very close to home (I have almost nothing to do with poetry) and was a thing my heart needed this month.

Somewhat related (and I don’t know yet how I feel about this one, which is probably good); Amit Chaudhuri on literary success and the ‘Mehrotra campaign’.

And Mehrotra himself on Kipling’s 150th birth anniversary. What Mehrotra loves about Kipling is not what I love about Kipling, but it’s related.

Alexander Chee on merging libraries.

Kavita Bhanot on #diverse whatever gets at a lot of what makes me uncomfortable about how this conversation plays out.

Nilanjana Roy on the legacy of books from the USSR in India.

Roy again, this time on Sake Dean Mahomet, the first Indian to publish a book in English (and to successfully exoticise himself for English consumption).


Other Things:

(Why is the Great British Bake Off called the Great British Baking Show in America? I do not know, but) Tom Whyman reads the show as a reflection of postimperial Britain and it’s great.

Genevieve Valentine on Gods of Egypt, talking semen, other important things.

Everything about this report about a priest on a hoverboard is good–but my favourite may be Scroll’s choice of “Religious Gathering” for a heading.

Via Sofia Samatar, Safia Aidid on the history of Somalis in Britain.

On Okay Africa, the highlights of 2015 in African SF. (mostly not-books, but also books! I was torn over where to put this.)

JR (who is amazing and who I wish wrote more) on yelling at Trump and what followed.



December 20, 2015

Of Interest (20 December, 2015)

Unsorted and not that plentiful this week:

I’m not on Metafilter and so missed the extended discussion around emotional labour, that was set off by an article by Jess Zimmerman. It has now been condensed and compiled into a shareable document by Olivia K. Lima and Timid Robot Zehta and it’s quite spectacular. Via Lili Loofbourow.

This essay by Agri Ismail (via, it seems, half the internet) is stunning and probably the best thing you will read on this list (or anywhere) this week, even though the list contains several very good things.

This despite the fact that this was a week when we had a new Rebecca Solnit piece and it was very good.

“She had always wriggled against the restrictions of becoming good copy.” Nisha Susan on Josephine Tey and Elena Ferrante and literary romance.

Desiree Lewis on student activism in postcolonial Africa. Great for several reasons, not least for introducing me to the word “cyberpessimist”. Via Keguro Macharia.

Aman Sethi on the Vyapam scam.

Lots of complex, easily bruised feelings about this essay by Arabelle Sicardi. Beauty is Broken. Via Anannya Baruah.

Via Supriya Nair,  this story (by Jonathan Selvaraj) about Divya Kakran, a seventeen year old girl wrestling in the dangals.

Here are Silvia Boarini’s pictures of al-Araqib, a village demolished over and over again by Israel over the past few years.

Supriya Nair on India’s year of “dead and devastated journalists” in the Caravan, here.

Anita Roy on whales, which are magical. For Kate and Marie, and probably everyone else.

I think Hilda is lovely.



December 13, 2015

Of Interest (13 December, 2015)

Assorted, after a couple of weeks of silence:

Rebecca Solnit in the Guardian, on the links between oil and everything else that is wrong. Via Kate Schapira, as many of these links probably are.

Angelica Jade Bastién’s series on the feminine grotesque and madness is great–here’s the introductory post. Via Sofia Samatar.

Pankaj Mishra on responses to terrorism in the West.

Victoria Best’s interview with Gabriel Josipovici, here, is honestly one of the best I’ve ever read. There’s so much here–I’ve read through it a few times now and I’ll want to keep going back to it. Via Ethan Robinson, who loves it even more than I do.

Evan Calder Williams on crises and Chris Chitty and related important things.

Mihir Sharma on Delhi’s murderous air and class (“Only the Indian elite would rather not breathe than be ordinary”). The Ladies Finger’s collection of despatches on Delhi, air and class–I think this is a fantastic structure for a layered understanding of shifts in living in a city in crisis, except that by its very nature, venue and other factors this discussion of class is, so far, entirely among people who can, as Padmaparna Ghosh does in her section, speak of a “we” and an “our class”.

On a ‘new’ W.E.B. Du Bois story from over a century ago.

Rohin Guha on Alisha Chinai’s Madonna covers and reparations. I have mixed feelings about this piece–I also grew up in the nineties with a fraught relationship to both my cultures (which is to massively oversimplify) and I don’t recognise the traumatised, healing Indians that Guha sees– but that readers of the Toast have now possibly discovered the “Made in India” video is surely important in itself. (Someday I am going to write about that video and the existence of an early 90s Indian epic fantasy aesthetic, but that day is not today.)

Jane Hu on Eve and Hal Sedgwick’s relationship made me a bit teary.

Biographical criticism really doesn’t interest me, and nor does the sort of reading of a book that feels like it’s shutting it down rather than opening it up, and yet Sady Doyle has decided Frankenstein is about Mary Shelley’s sister and … it’s pretty convincing? I link to it knowing that Ethan (hi Ethan) will hate it.

Kuzhali Manickavel and Minal Hajratwala watch the first episode of Sense8. I have not yet watched (may never watch) this show, yet for months the spectacle of Indians watching what can only be described as The Ganesha Episode has afforded me quantities of entertainment.

Here is Erin Horakova being brilliant and incisive and funny on the subject of Over the Garden Wall and its critical reception.

Here is an interview with Nalo Hopkinson in which she talks about her most recent collection, how her writing has changed over time, teaching, and a bunch of other things.

Kate Schapira on snails in Cape Cod Bay and other things (like change and loss and family and love).

Ravish Kumar on The Intolerance Debate is searing and brilliant. (In Hindi, so those of you who don’t understand will just have to miss out on a very good thing.) Via several people, all about as thrilled with it as me.

Who is the Smart City for? asks Stephen Assink, and he cites (though he links to the wrong piece, alas) this piece about India’s smart city ambitions from a few months ago by Shruti Ravindran. (Link to Assink via Subashini Navaratnam.)

Supriya Nair is typically wonderful on M. S. Dhoni’s stardom.

This collaboration theorizing black and indigenous relationships to land is amazing–the piece I link to here (via Kate again) is by Eve Tuck, Allison Guess and Hannah Sultan, but you’ll want to read all the links as well.

November 22, 2015

Of Interest (22 November, 2015)

Not Books:

David Robson talks to Nick Middleton about his new book on countries that don’t exist. A bit blissfully apolitical for its subject matter but I’m willing to ascribe that to the BBC rather than Middleton’s book (hopefully). Via Maureen Kincaid Speller.

David Whitehouse on the origins of modern policing in England and America. (Via the Metropolarity tumblr account, which you should be following.)

An Xiao Mina on #firstworldproblems and imagining the world. Not much here feels new, but this past week or so it has felt necessary. Related, Samira Nadkarni on fetishising nonwhite bodies to make them mournable.

Manisha Pande on “whataboutery,” the media, and why questioning disproportionate grief isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Rebecca Giggs on a dying whale, and on dying whales. I don’t always know how I feel about aspects of this piece (“what if we were now taking the wildness out of the whale? If deep inside whales the indelible imprint of humans could be found, could we go on recounting the myth of their remarkable otherness, their strange, wondrous and vast animalian world?”); on the other hand it is stunningly, startlingly written; on another hand, probably one belonging to a separate person, it’s easy to manipulate me (and most people, I hope) into feeling things about whales. (Hi Kate, when you see this.) (via Hiromi Goto on twitter.)

Mark Humphries on Niall Ferguson on Paris. Spoiler: Ferguson is wrong, I hope you’re amazed. (via Alex von Tunzelmann and Sanjay Sipahimalani)

Doreen St. Félix on talking to people about rats. (via Kate Schapira)

[If I hadn't shied away from even thinking about this this week, my next link would have been to something on that Daily Mail cartoon depicting refugees as rats this week. Thanks, the UK, you really do make an immigrant feel safe.]

Allison Meier on imagining cannibals into the new world. (via Kawrage on twitter)

Roxane Gay on safe spaces. (See also Kerim Friedman on safe spaces.)

Darran Anderson on architecture and the future.



Like Anjum Hasan, most of the Hindi literature I read is in English translation, though I can read Hindi (slowly). This essay on what we can access of a literary culture in translation, and what we miss of it, is really good.

As an SFF reader I’m both fascinated and made slightly resentful by this piece by Chaitali Sen on her choice to set her novel The Pathless Sky in a fictional country. Because it’s great on the ways that place works, the functions that fictional spaces perform (those of you who have to hear me talk about my thesis a lot are rolling your eyes as you read this) and so baffled by the idea that this might align it in some ways with a genre that … often sets things in fictional spaces, in order that those spaces may perform certain functions. (“Years ago, when I told someone that my then unfinished novel was a love story set in an imaginary country, she asked me if I was a science fiction writer. I thought that was a strange leap, but truthfully she wasn’t the only person who struggled with the idea of an unnamed setting.” It’s … really not a strange leap.)

Anne Boyer on the new Missy Elliot is the most perfect thing. (Also: new Missy Elliot video, new David Bowie video, new MIA song leaked and then apparently removed[?], this is certainly a month.)

Anne E. Fernald on Gertrude Stein and Margaret Wise Brown. I really like this, though the children’s lit person in me is going “but what about-?”  near-constantly as I read.

Clare Napier on gender and the Major’s body in Ghost in the Shell--the link is to the first of a series of essays on the subject that I’m still reading. (via That SabineGirl on twitter.)

Colin Dayan on Lori Gruen’s Entangled Empathy: An Alternative Ethic For Our Relationship With Animals. (via Salman Hussain on twitter.)


November 15, 2015

Of Interest (15 November, 2015)


Priyamvada Gopal on Edward Said and Humanism.

Poorna Swami interviews Annie Zaidi about her own writing, and about Unbound, her anthology of Indian women’s writing that I’ve been dipping in and out of for the last few months. (via Nilanjana Roy)

Jess Zimmerman on the history of ‘owning’ land on the moon.

As a Person With Fraught Feelings About My Languages (and a person who loves Ursula the Sea Witch), I liked this, by Sophia Al-Maria, on her own relationship with Arabic.

I have more complicated feelings about this piece by McKenzie Wark.

Keguro linked to this piece by Egbert Alejandro Martina, on the effects of caring, and it’s great and exactly what I needed at this moment to hang some of my own thinking on and I want to read (probably will end up reading) his whole blog.

Deepika Sarma on constructing a medieval aesthetic in some recent Telugu and Tamil historical/fantasy films.

I was at a recent discussion of Angela Carter’s work and spent much of it thinking something like “sure, but that’s not the best thing about her”. I’ve kept going back to her essay “Anger in a Black Landscape” this year and the whole of it seems to be reprinted here (towards the end of the page) and it’s vital and angry and astonishing.

Danila Tkachenko’s fascinating Restricted Areas series of photographs.

Fascinating writing on things about which I don’t know enough 1. Charles Tonderai Mudede on Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Hyènes. (via Africa’s a Country on twitter)

Fascinating writing about which I don’t know enough 2. andré carrington on Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet at 25. (via Phenderson Djeli Clark)

I can’t not link to Mervyn Peake things, so here’s Rob Maslen on Peake and trees.

Erin Horáková reads A. N. Wilson’s London; is unimpressed; the world is awash with glorious rage. (If you don’t already read Erin you should; this piece says some really smart, important things about Britain’s national mythmaking, and it’s also hilarious.)

This piece by Rishi Majumder on intolerance as culture vs intolerance as incident, Savarkar, and conversations on trains. The title is a lot kinder in its assumptions than I’m capable of being.

November 8, 2015

Of Interest (8 November, 2015)

Here are some things that I read and that you might like to read.



Rukmini Pande in Popmatters on race and passing in iZombie.

I haven’t worked out quite what I feel about Solarpunk (besides a vague support for anything that is so upsetting to the “but it’s not punk!” people; this piece by Andrew Dana Hudson gets at a lot of its appeal while also managing to be several things I dislike, but there it is anyway.

Frances Chiem on the Life is Strange finale and not letting teenagers save the world.

Two responses to Chetan Bhagat’s embarrassing rant about “liberals”: Sanjay Rajoura offering serious (and useful) opposition here, and twitterer “Doucheslayer” treating the piece with all the respect it deserved here.

While on the subject of quality literature, Shocko reads Striker! by Steve Bruce. Yes really.

Ijeoma Oluo refuses to review Suffragette because “the same process that thinks an entire film in which people of color don’t exist is “relatable” is the same process that leads a group of white women to wear shirts exclaiming their brave preference to not be slaves.” I suggest not reading the comments.

I love this review by Darcie Dennigan of Joanna Walsh’s Vertigo and Hotel, “how embarrassing it is to be alive, how each of us is continually barred from our self”.

Rasheedah Phillips has written and said some amazing things, and this interview with Katy Otto, which covers community, and parenting and Afrofuturism, is so good.

I’d never come across June Jordan’s “The Difficult Miracle of Black Poetry in America” before but thanks to Kate Schapira I now have and maybe you hadn’t either and now you can.

Via Prem Panicker, Amitav Ghosh’s “The Ghosts of Mrs Gandhi“. “It is when we think of the world the aesthetic of indifference might bring into being that we recognize the urgency of remembering the stories we have not written.”

I’m glad The Wire published this translated piece by M.M. Kalburgi. “The Future of Folk in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction“.


The World:

Via Nicholas Tam, Helen MacDonald forages for mushrooms.

Autostraddle’s Rachel on growing up with/in/near Salem.

Kitty Stryker on suicide and radical self-reliance.

Moon Ribas “reflects the same uncertainty as anyone living along earth’s many fault lines: trusting in stillness, but knowing that turbulence can come at any time”, this is amazing.

October 25, 2015

Of Interest (25 October, 2015)



A link from a fellow Sunday Reader led me to something which led me to something else which eventually led to this piece by Daniel Salas, published last year, on the intertwinedness of religion and technology, and how this has played out in American narratives of apocalypse.

Via this by Zain Ahmed on Black Girl Dangerous, the secret history of South Asian and African American solidarity.

Naintara Oberoi is one of my favourite food writers (also one of my favourite people) and I am really looking forward to the whole of this essay, but here’s an extract: on Punjabi khana and histories, public and personal. (Also I’m craving home and food more than usual as a  result of this)

Via Maureen Kincaid Speller: the myth of the Cherokee ancestor in American culture.

Jessica Weiss on the secret linguistic life of girls. (Via Manjula Narayan)

The text from Kate Schapira’s Creative Medicine Lecture is up here, and is (predictably) wonderful, and I hope everyone reads it.


Books, film:

I’ve been writing a review of an Uday Prakash book (check back here in a few days) and therefore had cause to revisit this profile of him by Shougat Dasgupta, which I think is really good.

Trisha Gupta on folktales and the supernatural in Indian cinema, and the horror of Bhaskar Hazarika’s Kothanodi.

A thing that happened in my city that I missed because I’m poor at planning: Jo Lindsay Walton’s talk on SF and the future. (Also you should read his blog; this recent post is very good, for example.)

I don’t understand why Claudia Rankine’s Citizen should require defending (it’s phenomenal, she’s phenomenal, we’re lucky that it exists in the world) but Adam Fitzgerald has done it, here. (Via Aimee Pohl)

Rob Maslen on Lolly Willowes– I really enjoyed this, but am struck anew by the idea that Sylvia Townsend Warner’s work is unknown or even little known (in this post, less well known than Hope Mirrlees, and see also this column by Kari Sperring) I suppose in SFF this might be the case (Lud-in-the-Mist is a Fantasy Masterwork, Lolly Willowes is not), outside them, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t the other way around.

I haven’t read Paul Murray’s The Mark and the Void yet (I expect to like it; his Skippy Dies is close to perfect); I loved this interview of him by Mark O’Connell.