August 2, 2015
“This is a story about bindis, I think”. Vijeta Kumar on Arundhati, saris, and being the protagonist. (I’m still waiting for someone to write the Baahubali-as-epic-fantasy, so can you get on that, world?)
Via Kate Schapira, this story which kind of looks like the sort of fiction she writes but is real.
Manan Ahmed Saif in the Caravan on histories of partition.
“a kind of historical daybreak“; Nayanjot Lahiri on Asoka’s stone edicts, also in the Caravan.
Evan Smith on the Communist Party and its role in Britain’s anti-racist movement.
“Why can’t people imagine a future without falling into the sexist past?” (You all already know the answer to this one though)
Lavelle Porter on Henry Dumas, Afrofuturism, #BlackLivesMatter, via Sofia Samatar. This is great.
[This is a space I'm leaving for an appropriately Important-feeling piece on the death of Yakub Memon (suggestions welcome)]
Always revisit this piece by Kristin Cashore on Jansson’s Moomins. Always revisit the Moomin books.
David Thomson’s review of A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night made me very happy.
“I’d like to start our time together with a moment of breath and awareness for this work and what we are holding.”
July 26, 2015
Austin Walker on superheroes and cities, via Ben Gabriel.
Casey Plett on kindness, call-outs and having people Ally at you. I love this for the word “oogy” which is exactly right for what it describes, and I love that it reminded me of this gorgeous piece by Elena Rose, and it’s just good in several ways. Via Keguro Macharia.
A Kuzhali Manickavel thing.
Ness Io Kain on expressing gender identity in video game avatars, and Animal Crossing: New Leaf‘s weird committment to the gender binary, via Maureen Kincaid Speller. (Lots of really good linked pieces as well)
By Metta Sáma, Rage, Rage Against: For the guy who said it wasn’t about race but about bad choices in friends. Via Sridala Swami.
Always reread Sofia Samatar (as Ethan Robinson reminded me)
Kian Ganz on the Indian Supreme Court’s history with the death penalty (via @JiManish on twitter).
A collection of papers from last year’s Visualising Fantastika conference.
Deepanjana Pal on Sujoy Ghose’s Ahalya and the Ahalyas of Hindu mythology.
Genevieve Valentine on Shirley Jackson’s Let Me Tell You.
This lost documentary about homosexuality which has recently been rediscovered. Via Matthew Cheney.
Paromita Vohra on being the new girl at a school in Delhi in the 1980s. “I think one can go so far as to say it was a lot about the skirt.”
I linked to a beautiful Anne Boyer thing last week and this is a different beautiful Anne Boyer thing.
Nicola Griffith on the Anglo Saxons, being elf-shot, medicine and belief.
July 20, 2015
(These lists have, slightly reshuffled, been available for the last couple of weeks as part of The New Inquiry’s Sunday Reading, and will continue to be that way. Keeping any commentary on them here, but at that link you’ll also find other lists of links by people with excellent taste, so you should go and look.)
Devaki Jain on Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay and Indian feminism.
Eric Gurevitch’s useful contribution to the Sanskrit-and-plagiarism conversation.
We’re all agreed that Anne Boyer is amazing, right?
How early photographers saw India.
On mourning, repetition and re-memories. All of this.
Reading Comprehension, via Sayak Dasgupta.
Niall Harrison reviews James Bradley’s Clade and asks important questions about scale and empathy (and the difficulty of naming climate change fiction).
Sara Paretsky on V.I. Warshawski and talking back.
Victoria Patterson on Barbara Pym. Much that is uncomfortably familiar here. (And speaking of LARB and spinsters, this is also good.)
Sofia Samatar on writing queerly (many of my favourite words there).
Anis Shivani on “plastic realism“, in two parts. (This comes via Ethan Robinson)
This fantastic interview with Namwali Serpell, via Sofia Samatar. Contains Afronauts, artist-readers, mutiny.
July 12, 2015
Unsorted this week.
A Portrait of the Indian as a Young Dalit Girl by Priyanka Dubey.
On Whiteness and Sound Studies, by Gus Stadler.
Via Ethan, Gorgeous as a Jungle Bird, on gay marriage and religion, by Jacob Bacharach.
“Keep Your Sorry”: On Slavery, Marriage and the Possibility of Love by Alexis Pauline Gumbs.
In Muse India’s SF issue, Vandana Singh on SF, Climate Change and the Future (I linked to the whole issue a few weeks ago but this essay deserves more love than I’ve seen for it).
Amartya Sen on the revival of Nalanda.
Rose Eveleth on the Subversive Science Fiction of Hip-Hop.
J.A. Micheline, the White Privilege, White Audacity and White Priorities of Strange Fruit #1.
Is fun fun? Nakul Krishna on Aubrey Menen.
Karen Burnham on SPACE
From Nowhere, an interview with Antoine Volodine.
July 5, 2015
So much that is good this week!
Books (kind of):
Megan Milks on fanfiction; this is good, and then there’s “it expresses an attitude not of denigration or gentle mockery, but desire mixed with betrayal. It’s infatuated, and it hurts. It wants”, and my heart is doing funny things.
Tipu Sultan’s dream journal. I want to read all of this.
Peepli’s gorgeous landscape glossary, via Dala and Kate separately.
Hari Kunzru on Dune is fantastic; also well worth it for the unhappy fans wellactuallying in the comments.
Frederic Jameson on Neuromancer at Public Books.
Not books (kind of):
Sara Ahmed on academia and its “problem students” (hint: those scare quotes are there for a reason).
Margaret Biser on some of the questions she was asked while giving tours on a plantation.
Bree Newsome Bree Newsome Bree Newsome.
Alexander Chee on America’s queer future, and then a coda to the earlier piece.
Rakesh Dixit reporting on the bizarre Vyapam story.
Alyssa Rosenberg on (Western) pop culture’s use of white supremacist villains to create comforting narratives–this is good, though I’m not sure it goes far enough for me. Perhaps a companion piece/coda is needed?
June 28, 2015
Things that made me hurt:
“On Black grandmothers and the art of dying on your own terms” by Hanif Abdurraqib, via Rose Lemberg on Twitter.
“The Condition of Black Life Is One of Mourning,” Claudia Rankine in The New York Times.
This Climate Anxiety alternate history by Kate Schapira. Honestly, I cry at quite a few of these, but this one is about grief more directly than many of the others and I probably cried a bit extra.
Oh but there was Bree Newsome and this and it hurt in the best ways.
This roundtable of AfroSF contributors at Omenana.
I moderated a book discussion on Rendezvous with Rama at Strange Horizons, here and here. The participants were Karen Burnham, Vajra Chandrasekera, Martin McGrath, Ethan Robinson and Vandana Singh, and the result is this fun, smart, joyful thing. Am I allowed to be proud of this when I didn’t actually contribute? Because I am.
Paromita Vohra is generally great, and she says some really insightful things about Sunny Leone, her public persona and her success, here.
Claire Light on Sense8, via Amba Azaad on Twitter. Some really good thoughts on geographic and cultural specificity and universality and the
global American imagination.
Bizarre native customs.
June 21, 2015
Here are things I thought were good and worth reading this week.
Megan Milks interviews Daviel Shy about her upcoming film based on Djuna Barnes’s Ladies Almanack. (via Milks)
Diana George on Antoine Volodine’s Post-Exoticism in Ten Lessons, Lesson Eleven, which is a thing I didn’t realise was out and I need it now and so do you, probably.
This essay by Ken Chen starts from Goldsmith and Place and goes on and is long and meaty, so that I haven’t fully absorbed it (and therefore) nor am willing to *endorse* it, but it is certainly worth reading. (via Dala)
Nandini Ramchandran being wonderful on Jessa Crispin’s Dead Ladies Project and, relatedly, Subashini Navaratnam on spinsterhood and, relatedly, Crispin herself on Kate Bolick’s Spinster.
Jennygadget on this week’s whole John Green thing.
Joshua Clover on change, Mad Men, Mad Max and The Coca-Cola Kid.
Annie Mok on queerness, community and Moomins (this wrecked me).(via Ben Gabriel)
June 14, 2015
(This has been a fun week! We had multiple domestic plumbing disasters and had to evacuate the house for a few days [a flood and subsequent exile, it was very Biblical], I injured myself, and my laptop decided we were no longer friends. Nevertheless, I survive to bring you links.)
Phenderson Djèlí Clark on George Schuyler’s Black Empire.
A new Karen Russell story in The New Yorker.
Keguro Macharia on Octavia Butler’s Survivor and romance. (Lots of other very good things in the new Interfictions also, particularly Peri Himsel, Natalia Theodoridou, and Sunny Chan’s pieces)
People keep linking to that Samuel Delany piece on racism and SF and it makes me feel complicated things every time but here, you might as well have it so you too can feel complicated things.
Molly Smith on Northern Ireland’s new sex work laws and the trouble with the “Swedish model”
On Twitter, @AmbaAzaad and others started a project to crowdsource recs for trustworthy, non-shaming gynaecologists in India. I’m not contributing because all the gynaecologists I know have been family friends (which is frequently awkward, but has also meant I’m protected from a lot), but I think it’s a fantastic idea and hope it helps people find safe medical treatment. The form is here, the directory is here.
On Twitter, Paul Gilroy linked to this 1981 special issue of Urgent Tasks on the life and work of C.L.R. James.
Thanks to Ethan, I’ve been reading excerpts from Almeda Sperry’s love letters to Emma Goldman and they are stunning.
June 7, 2015
Links! Still evolving the form of this as a weekly feature (were I a Proper book blogger it would have a snappy title and dedicated graphic).
Brit Bennett on black dolls in American culture, childhood and innocence and looking away. Via Kip Manley, in that way he has of posting contextless, sourceless quotes and making you hunt.
Jenn at ReAppropriate on Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One, and Marvel’s and Hollywood’s general failure at Asians on film (I’ve felt so much cleaner since I cut out Marvel properties, and they keep reminding me why that was a good move). Link via Samira Nadkarni.
Various writers responding to recent incidents centred around Kenneth Goldsmith and Vanessa Place (context provided in the link), via Sridala Swami.
The Decolonial Atlas, a project that collects and creates maps that destabilise and reimagine the world. Via Sean Singh Chauhan.
China Miéville on the inextricability of utopia and apocalypse. Via Brendan Byrne.
Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint’s Late Anthropocene, via Sofia Samatar. “How do you document a geological feeling? Late Anthropocene is a register of the psychic fractures created by unprecedented planetary unsettling, a work of mourning, and a meditation on the bewilderment of the human species.” YES, OMG.
Lana Polansky on Ecco the Dolphin, difficulty and environmental storytelling. Via Ben Gabriel.
May 31, 2015
I’ve been thinking of doing occasional links round-ups in the style of The New Inquiry’s Sunday Reading (here’s an edition from a few weeks ago that has a selection from me in it), probably once a week or ten days. Part signal-boost, part here’s-stuff-I’d-like-to-see-more-conversation-on/thought-was-interesting.
To start off, a few things from the last month or so. Some of it is SFF, some of it isn’t, some of it (horrors) might not even be literature-related.
Connie at Nerds of Colour on the physical markers/lack thereof of zombies of colour (via Samira Nadkarni).
Alex Rivera interviewed by Malcolm Harris, on drones, borders, labour (via Harris on twitter; this is great.).
China Mieville on utopia, hope and hopelessness (via Brendan Byrne)
Lisa Margonelli on the effects of filming Mad Max: Fury Road in Namibia (via Swati Mishra)
DW user Toft on bodies and prosthesis in Mad Max: Fury Road (also via Samira)
Muse India have an entire issue of Indian SF, fiction and nonfiction, but I particularly enjoyed C.S. Bhagya’s article on cyborg masculinity in Robot and Ra.One.
Another example of an entire publication that is of interest; Postmedieval looks great, and this first (I think?), themed issue on the post human is something I’m still working my way through, but what I’ve read has been really good.