Monthly Archives: June 2012

3 Ways to Cope with Being Stuck in Transition

Have you ever felt stuck between two stages of life? Maybe you’ve graduated college/university but haven’t found a job yet, or you’re working on making a dream happen but it’s still a ways off?

That’s where I am right now. I’m about to move into my first house — an exciting stage to be sure, but it’s taken a long time to get here and still isn’t quite here — and I’m having a little trouble finding balance.

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Women in A Game of Thrones

One of the strengths of George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, is its gritty realism. His writing doesn’t pull its punches. Among other things, that sensibility extends to his society-level worldbuilding. Today we’re looking at his treatment of women through that lens.

(Note: I’ve read the first two books, A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings, and haven’t yet watched the HBO series. There will be spoilers for both books. If you’d like to chime in, you’re most welcome, but please limit your discussion to the first two books/seasons.)

Cersei Lannister

Cersei Lannister. Image credit:

Martin’s world is a classic medieval fantasy world, based on a feudal society where women are bargaining chips and their possible futures are severely limited. Many fantasy writers working in similar worlds take some liberties here to allow their female characters more autonomy and a greater range of options. Martin has chosen to stick with historical realism. This isn’t a bad thing in itself — science fiction and fantasy author Lois McMaster Bujold wrote an extremely strong noblewoman in Paladin of Souls under the same constraints. Let’s look at how well Martin does.

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Friday Links: RIP Ray Bradbury

You’ve probably already heard the news that Ray Bradbury passed away this week. To me, he was a master of the twist ending, of combining science fictional ideas with beautiful prose. I remember being shaken by “The Veldt” and “All Summer in a Day” and “There Will Come Soft Rains” — I thought the endings were horribly sad, but I also never forgot them. Fahrenheit 451 also made a great impression on me, with its mingled dystopia and destruction and hope and sense of wonder. He was truly a giant.

Here’s a collection of remembrances and other related things from around the ‘net this week.

Neil Gaiman posted two tributes, one on his blog and one in the British newspaper The Guardian.

Gaiman also posted an audio file of himself reading a beautiful short story called “The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury”. This is what finally made me cry. (Side note: even if you’re not big on audiobooks, if you haven’t heard Gaiman reading, go listen! He’s brilliant at it.)

SF author John Scalzi posted a tribute on his blog.

The New Yorker published a piece by Bradbury himself (via Better Know a Book).

Long may he be remembered.

Link: That Could Have Been Me

This week, my Wednesday post is over at Turtleduck Press, the indie publisher I co-run. Here’s part of the post…

Last weekend, a man walked into a crowded food court here in Toronto and pulled out a gun. He had a target, who was killed. Six others were hurt, many others traumatized.

Here’s the part that makes it really scary for me. I go to that mall, Eaton Centre, at least once a month. I’ve eaten in that very food court many times. It’s not going to look the same to me anymore.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear about violence in my city, I rationalize.  That was a gang killing, or a bad area of town, or an argument at 3 AM outside a club. I know better than that. It wouldn’t happen to me.

Except…it could.

To read the rest, head over to Turtleduck Press. We’d love it if you’d leave a comment there, too!

If you liked this post, you might also like Norway: A Murderer’s Trial and a Royal Wedding.

Response: The Avengers

The Avengers movie posterI’m a lightweight fan when it comes to movies about comic-book characters. I usually enjoy superhero movies, but all the backstory and history and in-jokes go over my head because I’m not a comic-book reader. That goes double for The Avengers, because I managed to miss all the lead-in movies except for the first Iron Man. After The Avengers became the next must-see movie, I read enough online to pick up the gist of who most of the characters were, but for the most part I was flying blind.

So how well does The Avengers work for a complete and utter newbie?

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Friday Link: Art Deco House for Inspiration

Here’s a feast for your eyes: a house tour of a beautiful art deco house in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.

Tudor house in Carmel-by-the-Sea

See the rest here.

(Found via the wonderful Domythic Bliss, a blog that features all sorts of art deco and Arts and Crafts and Pre-Raphaelite and fairytale-inspired decorating.)

That’s it for the blog this week. Happy weekend, and I’ll see you back here on Monday!