Archive for ‘links’

March 13, 2016

Of Interest (13 March, 2016)

Unsorted links about SF and empire and race:


Debbie Reese collects responses to J.K. Rowling’s “History of Magic in North America”.

Roz Kaveney in the TLS is insightful about Tolkien and also voices some of my frustrations with much of the Tolkien criticism I’ve read.

Phenderson Djèlí Clark has some fantastic black history and SF essays on his blog (and you should read them all, obviously), here’s one on SF and racial terror.

Esther Wang on the appeal of fictional worlds where everyone is white. (I feel this essay so hard.)

Vajra Chandrasekera has a new column at Strange Horizons, of which this is the first installment, and it’s great (and advocates blowing things up; I do like this man). His recent review of Binti is also fantastic.

K2 on colonial settlers in The Revenant. (Fun fact! Apparently Grace Dove wasn’t invited to the Oscars.)

Sofia Samatar’s “Notes Toward a Theory of Quantum Blackness” is beautiful; the things it links to and references are vital.

Rega Jha on only one of a long history of atrocities perpetuated on Indian culture by our colonial overlords. Via Sunny Singh.

Andrew Yang on Ken Liu’s The Grace of Kings.

Dr. André M. Carrington, whose book I’m very eager to read, interviewed here by Noah Berlatsky. Via Matthew Cheney.

The Ramayana in Persian (an extract from a book by Audrey Truschke), and a Persian Mahabharata (Yael Rice, via bint battuta)

Aaron Bady on A. Igoni Barrett’s Blackass.

February 28, 2016

Of Interest (28 February, 2016)

Rohith Vemula/JNU/India/This Cultural Moment:

How Delhi Police put out our candlelight vigil for Rohith.

Asha Kowtal on the insidious decentring of caste from the discourse. “Because our history is being distorted even before it is fully formed.” (Via Amba Azaad.)

In recent weeks I’ve kept linking to things Ravish Kumar says/does because he’s great; here’s an interview.

A photo essay in the Caravan by Nikhil Roshan, as a group of JNU students waited to be arrested.

Lawrence Liang on Gandhi, Tagore and Anti/Nationalism.



This awards season, remember the Gold Star Awards (and be glad that the Mongrel Coalition Against Gringpo exists and is in the world)

Claudia Rankine is interviewed here by Lauren Berlant and some good things are said. (Via Kawrage on twitter.)

Sarah Howe is interviewed by Greg McCartney, and she also says good things. (Via Sandeep Parmar.)

Ethan Robinson reviews Nancy Jane Moore’s The Weave, and in the process also offers a reading of the entire genre, and of assumptions in fiction in general, that I’d find useful and important even if a) he wasn’t a friend b) I hadn’t edited this.

Smriti Daniel on the Noolaham Digital Library.

Kuzhali Manickavel’s continued explorations into SF on the radio are still great. “It is neat how advice about sex can also be advice about interacting with aliens.” (Via Blaft)

E.R. Truitt (whose book sounds relevant to the interests of many who read this) on our imaginary North.

Adam Roberts on the wrath of Achilles John Wick.

Nayomi Munaweera is author-photographed twice.



February 21, 2016

Of Interest (21 February, 2016)


Sedition/JNU/Being Anti-National/Campus politics and the state:


Kanhaiya Kumar’s speech (translated from Hindi), before he was arrested.

Rahi Gaikwad on caste and the nation. (Via Mridula Chari)

Puja Sen in Himal on what all of this says about the party in power.

Jamall Calloway connecting Rohith Vemula’s death to a wider system of global oppressions. (Via Shruti Iyer)

(via Aakshi Magazine,) Mohamad Junaid on freedom of expression, the space of the campus, what the current narrative centres and what it erases. This, in particular:

The same day frothing TV journalists were holding court martials against Umar Khalid and Kanhaiya Kumar, the news of Shaista’s and Danish’s cold blooded murders was quietly suppressed—part of a larger history of suppression, which makes a certain kind of “national conscience” possible in India.

Swara Bhaskar writes to Umar Khalid.

David Palumbo-Liu on the possible ramifications in the US of what’s happening at home. (Via Chris Taylor)

Atul Dev in conversation with Vikram Chauhan, the lawyer who led the attacks on students and journalists outside Patiala House.

Nayan Jyoti points out that the state’s repression of the university just happens to be taking place at the same time as it suppresses workers across Haryana and Rajasthan. (TW for pictures of injuries, possibly)

Meanwhile, Dalit activists seeking permission to fly a black flag are arrested.

Shuddhabrata Sengupta on Ambedkar, Tagore and the Nation State.

In the most charming of all possible responses, the university has been hosting public talks on nationhood and they’re all available at the Stand With JNU Youtube page here (schedule here).

A performance of Dastan-e-Sedition.

A tweet by Anupam Kher, actor and tolerant Indian. (At least till someone explains to him about Nazis and he deletes it; though right now he seems to stand by it):

And Ravish Kumar on NDTV with this searing piece of reportage/performance art (on the channel’s website here) about the current state of our news media.

February 14, 2016

Of Interest (14 February, 2016)

Unsorted because I’m on holiday:

Kate Schapira on bodies and science and the world and bringing people into it.

Keguro Macharia on living with Jess Row’s Your Face in Mine. (Disclaimer because I edited this; on the other hand, it’s wonderful and everyone should read it.)

Sophia Azeb on the Tate Britain’s Artist and Empire exhibition.

Timothy Burke on Uagadou and the mechanics of African wizarding schools.

Ruchika Sharma on the origins of the Bhojshala myth.

Anuradha Vikram on witches and anti-colonial botany. Via Karen Gregory.

Soraya Roberts on Winona Ryder. Via Anna Carey.

Debbie Chachra on maker culture and the forms of work it excludes or devalues.

A roundtable (feat. Naomi Zeichner, Doreen St Felix, Anupa Mistry and Judnick Mayard) on Beyoncé’s “Formation“. Via Kate Schapira.

“and next thing you know the State has sponsored a musical warning people about you.” Creatrix Tiara on decolonization, western activism, other complicated things. Via Shruti Iyer.

A Dalit Marxist Manifesto by Chittibabu Padavala.

Edit: And this gorgeous piece on urban India, imagining love, and cinema, by Ravish Kumar. In Hindi here, translated into English here.





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.