The Cascadia Subduction Zone, October 2016

The new issue of The Cascadia Subduction Zone is out. It features poetry by Gwynne Garfinkle and Sonya Taaffe and an essay about anger by L. Timmel Duchamp; the issue's Grandmother Magma column is by Sarah Zettel, writing about work by Elisabeth Sanxay-Holding; David Findlay, Nancy Jane Moore, and J. M. Siorova contribute reviews; and Madeline Galbraith is our featured artist. You purchase the issue here and download the April 2016 issue for free here.

Current Issue: Volume 6, Number 4 October 2016
Sometimes Anger Is the Necessary Response: Reading Chris Kraus’s I Love Dick
  by  L. Timmel Duchamp
Una O’Connor unleashes her scream
   by Gwynne Garfinkle

A Death of Hippolytos
The Other Lives
   by Sonya Taaffe

Grandmother Magma
The Girl We Forgot (and Really Shouldn’t Have) Sarah Zettel on Speak of the Devil and Other Work by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding

The Apothecary’s Curse, by Barbara Barnett
   reviewed by J.M. Sidorova

Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene , by Donna Haraway
   reviewed by Nancy Jane Moore

Sleeping Under the Tree of Life ,
by Sheree Renée Thomas
   reviewed by David Findlay

Featured Artist
Madeline Galbraith

Please support Strange Horizons!

Just a little signal-boost here: Strange Horizons has begun the last week of its fund drive. Many Aqueduct authors have been published in or have served as editors for this excellent publication, which shares some of Aqueduct's dearest values and goals. Here's the pitch from the site:

Our annual fund drive is underway! We're aiming to raise $15,000 to fund Strange Horizons in 2017, and a bit more than that for some special projects. You can make a one-time donation via PayPal or NetworkForGood, or support on an ongoing basis via Patreon—all donors are entered into our prize draw, and various other rewards are also available (and in the US your donations are tax-deductible). As an additional thank-you to donors, as we raise money we're publishing extra material from our fund drive special issue. We've just published "The Troll Who Hid Her Heart" by Jenn Grunigen! When we reach $13,000 we'll release podcasts of all our bonus material!
Special Patreon goal! In addition to the main fund drive special, if our Patreon reaches 300 supporters, as a preview of Samovar, we will publish Lawrence Schimel's translation of "Terpsichore", a story by Argentinian writer Teresa P. Mira de Echeverría. Read a bit more about it here.

Some of the prizes are Aqueduct Press books. Here are the descriptions provided by SH:

Conversation Pieces bundle
A selection of offerings from Aqueduct Press's "Conversation Pieces" series, which showcase connection and conversations within feminist SF. This bundle includes Marginalia to Stone Bird, by Rannu Award winner (and SH contributor) Rose Lemberg, her debut collection reviewed by SH here; A Field Guide to the Spirits, by Jean LeBlanc, exploring the interwoven pathways of ghost, memory, imagination, and desire; Unpronounceable, by Susan diRende, a novel called "reminiscent of the space fantasies of Douglas Adams and Kurt Vonnegut"; and Sleeping Under the Tree of Life, by Sheree Renee Thomas, a collection of the celebrated author's poetry and short stories. All in all, a great introduction to the series. (Donated by Aqueduct Press.)

Will Do Magic for Small Change
A trade paperback copy of Will Do Magic for Small Change by Andrea Hairston. Cinnamon Jones dreams of stepping on stage and acting her heart out like her famous grandparents, Redwood and Wildfire. But at 5'10" and 180 pounds, she's theatrically challenged. Her family life is a tangle of mystery and deadly secrets, and nobody is telling Cinnamon the whole truth. Before her older brother died, he gave Cinnamon The Chronicles of the Great Wanderer, a tale of a Dahomean warrior woman and an alien from another dimension who perform in Paris and at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The Chronicles may be magic or alien science, but the story is definitely connected to Cinnamon's family secrets. When an act of violence wounds her family, Cinnamon and her theatre squad determine to solve the mysteries and bring her worlds together. Publishers Weekly had this to say: "The entire work is filled with magic, celebrating West Africans, Native Americans, art, and love that transcends simple binary genders. Hairston's novel is a completely original and stunning work." (Donated by Aqueduct Press.)

A trade paperback copy of Roadsouls by Betsy James. Timid Duuni has spent her life as abused and guarded property. Blind, arrogant Raím is determined to be again what he once was: hunter, lover, young lord of the earth. Desperate to escape their lives, the two lift up their hands to the passing Roadsoul caravan, and are—literally—flung together naked. Each of them soon learns that saying "yes" to the Roadsouls is more than just accepting an invitation to a new life—it's a commitment that can't be reversed. For Duuni and Raím, nothing is as it was. Lost to their old lives, hating each other, they are swept out of their cruel old certainties into an unknown, unknowable, ever-changing world of journey and carnival, artists and wrestlers and thieves. Behind them, inexorable, pads a lion. Inexorable, too, is Duuni and Raím's inevitable encounter with it, an encounter that will change everything. (Donated by Aqueduct Press.)

The Waterdancer's World
A trade paperback copy of The Waterdancer's World by L Timmel Duchamp. Humans have been struggling to live on Frogmore for almost five centuries, adapting themselves to punishing gravity and the deadly mistflowers that dominate its ecology. Financier Inez Gauthier, patron of the arts and daughter of the general commanding the planet's occupation forces, dreams of eliminating the mistflowers that make exploitation of the planet's natural wealth so difficult and impede her father's efforts to crush the native insurgency. Fascinated by the new art-form of waterdancing created by Solstice Balalzalar, celebrating the planet's indigenous lifeforms, Inez assumes that her patronage will be enough to sustain Solstice's art even as she ruthlessly pursues windfall profits at the expense of all that has made waterdancing possible. (Donated by Aqueducut Press.)

 Hwarhath Stories
A paperback copy of Eleanor Arnason's Hwarhath Stories. A collection of a dozen Hwarhath tales with commentary by their translator. As the translator notes, "Humanity has encountered only one other species able to travel among the stars. This species, who call themselves the hwarhath, or 'people,' are also the only intelligent species so far encountered." Reviewing for Strange Horizons this September, Kelly Jennings said "This is a powerhouse of a collection. It is not to be missed." Includes stories nominated for the Nebula, Sturgeon, Tiptree and Locus Awards. (Donated by Aqueduct Press.)

Flesh & Wires
A trade paperback of the Locus Recommended first novel for 2015, Flesh & Wires, by Jackie Hatton. Following a failed alien invasion the world left is sparsely populated with psychologically scarred survivors, some of them technologically-enhanced women like Lo, leader of the small safe haven of Saugatuck. A book Publisher's Weekly calls "a promising work of feminist science fiction." (Donated by Aqueduct Press.)

Two Travelers
A trade paperback copy of Two Travelers by Sarah Tolmie. In "Dancer on the Stairs," a woman wakes up on a stone staircase in a baroque palace, not speaking the language of the place and lacking the chemical signature that allows people to identify each other within a complex social hierarchy. Unable to communicate in words, she resorts to dance. In "The Burning Furrow," a man who runs a diner in present-day America is also a freedom-fighter in the northern, courtly realm of Dinesen. His people are abused foreigners at home, the servants of strangers, bound not by their overlords, but by their world itself, through a ritual known as the burning of the furrows. Only he and his family are free—for a time. Now that time is ending. (Donated by Aqueduct Press.)

Life-sized ugliness: a mirror for right-wing politicians

I'm in Port Townsend again, writing. Reading essays is one part of my daily routine here. No matter what I read, serendipity always comes into play, and what I read helps me think about the fiction I'm working on. This morning's reading, though, resonated so powerfully with the violent political theater that this year's presidential campaign season has devolved into that I'm going to share a bit of it with you here (with the hope that the distraction from my work will then pass). My current reading is bell hooks' Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations, which is a relatively old book-- Routledge first published it in 1994. It's a collection of essays that includes a 1993 interview conducted by Marie-France Alderman, chiefly discussing films of the day. The films they discuss are likely unfamiliar to many people now, but the discussion itself doesn't strike me as in the least out of date. Here is the resonant passage:
You know a film I saw recently that was very moving to me--and I kept contrasting it to Menace II Society-- was the film Falling Down. There is a way to talk about Falling Down as describing the end of Western civilization. Black philosopher Cornel West talks about the fact that part of the crisis we're in has to do with Western patriarchal biases no longer functioning, and there is a way in which Falling Down is about a white man who's saying, I trusted in this system. I did exactly what the system told me to and it's not working for me. It's lied to me." That doesn't mean you have the right to be so angry that you can attack people of color or attack other marginal groups. In so many ways, though, that's exactly how a lot of white people feel. There's this sense that if this white supremacist capitalist patriarchy isn't working for white people--most especially for working-class white men, or middle-class white men--it's the fault of some others out there.
Sound familiar? 1994 was the year the Newt Gingrich cohort took over the House of Representatives with a take-no-prisoners approach to holding the federal government hostage (a tactic that has since become a standard arrow in the far-right wing's quiver), that a few years later resulted in the virtual elimination of welfare assistance. And then of course, later, came the even more extreme Tea Party faction, which, though it is a minority, has successfully imposed a state of apparently permanent gridlock in Congress. Gingrich and the Tea Party politicians share most of Trump's values and attitudes. So why are some of these same far-right politicians now so dismayed by Trump's performance? Can it be that they are horrified to see the embodiment of some of their most cherished attitudes and values? (Never have their opinions and values looked as ugly as they do when expounded by Trump, whose primary form of disguise is to claim after he's said something more than usually outrageous he said was joking.) That makes more sense to me than the mainstream media's argument that they're fearing that Trump's boasts targets the kind of women their wives and daughters are. They've certainly never before opposed the language of rape culture. (And in fact, yesterday Rudy Giuliani got laughs at a Trump rally by joking about "locker room talk," which is how Trump characterized his boasting about his adventures sexually assaulting white women.)

Later in the interview, hooks muses on the reactions of many people to women presuming to speak in the public sphere (which in 1993 belonged solely to men--witness the Anita Hill hearings and Alan Simpson's rebuke of then president of NOW Molly Yard for what he called her "tiresome arrogance" in presuming to speak before Congress):
I was just home recently at a family reunion, and people said such mean and brutal things to me that I started to think, "What's going on here?" And my brother said that a lot of what's going on here is envy. [Envy for hooks' success as a well-published author.] ....We hear all these statistics about how many women are raped and beaten every so many seconds yet when we talk about having fear in patriarchy, we're made to feel that that's crazy. What incredible women today--especially those who are feminists--aren't talked about in many contexts as mad?
      Trump keeps playing the crazy card because the crazy card worked just about every time it was deployed against a woman for most of the twentieth century in the US. (I can recall numerous instances in personal life where the conclusion, on a woman's behaving willfully, which is to say, without regard for what the dominant man in her life was insisting on, was that she was "crazy.") These days, this trope doesn't work all that well with younger generations. Targeting Clinton as a woman out of control (crazy and criminal in the same breath--in any case, needing silencing and institutionalization of one sort or another) does work with people who share what hooks calls "this sense that if this white supremacist capitalist patriarchy isn't working for white people--most especially for working-class white men, or middle-class white men--it's the fault of some others out there."

Okay, having vented, I can now get back to work.