In honor of yesterday’s Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of marriage equality, today’s reading recommendation comes from Lightspeed‘s Queers Destroy Science Fiction! special issue:
Now: she is home, and leaning her head against her living room window at twilight, and something in the thrill of that blue and the cold of the glass against her scalp sends her tumbling —
— into her body at fourteen, looking into the blue deepening above the tree line near her home as if it were another country, longing for it, aware of the picture she makes as a young girl leaning her wondering head against a window while hungry for the future, for the distance, for the person she will grow to be — and starts to reach within her self, her future/present self, for a phrase that only her future/present self knows, to untangle herself from her past head. She has just about settled on Kristeva — abjection is above all ambiguity — when she feels, strangely, a tug on her field of vision, something at its periphery demanding attention. She looks away from the sky, looks down, at the street she grew up on, the street she knows like the inside of her mouth.
She sees a girl of about her own age, brown-skinned and dark-haired, grinning at her and waving.
She has never seen her before in her life.
— Amal El-Mohtar, “Madeleine“
I’m a bit late in announcing this, but The Golden Key recently released its fourth issue, and it’s full of amazing writing about hungry things! Go check it out!
Ursula K. Le Guin is featured in the most recent issue of The Paris Review‘s, being interviewed for their The Art of Fiction series. It’s well worth a read, but I’ll just give you this little snippet for your consideration:
Realism is a very sophisticated form of literature, a very grown-up one. And that may be its weakness. But fantasy seems to be eternal and omnipresent and always attractive to kids.
In case you haven’t heard, The Golden Key will soon be open to submissions for Issue 3, the theme of which is:
I’m trying to gather my thoughts about The East, but I’m failing. I may try again in a day or two, but right now, all I can say is: this is what I want to be when I grow up.
No, not an eco-terrorist or a double agent. I want to write the kind of subtle, human genre stories Brit Marling so excels at. The Sound of My Voice and Another Earth (both of which Marling was involved in writing, and the latter of which she also directed) both take on science fictional themes with an intensely intimate, indie sensibility, and The East gives undercover intrigue the same treatment. What is so incredible about her work is that she takes genre subjects seriously, paring away all the overwrought trappings of bigger-budget genre films and telling speculative stories with an almost hyperrealist sensitivity and nuance. Because, as much as I love genre writing (be it SF or mystery or whatever else), and as much as I reject the distinction between “literature” and “genre writing,” the fact remains that genre stories that are about people instead of ideas is still relatively rare, in my experience. These are stories not just about neat concepts, or unique worlds, but about the human consequences of new technologies and outlandish events.
And that — that is exactly what I have been trying to do in my own writing. I don’t know how often I succeed, but it’s reassuring to know that it can be done, and done well.