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[personal profile] lightreads reread Children of Morrow and Treasures of Morrow by H.M. Hoover, and I commented
There was a time when eugenics was all over SF written by women. And I was reading SF during that time, but I was a kid, and didn't notice it.

I am curious about it now, and I wonder:

What time period was that, exactly? [I'm thinking of the seventies]
Is my sense that it was more common in books by women than by men correct? If so, why?
What were they thinking?
Why did it stop?

Would you say that these are books I should include if I make an investigation of the phenomenon?

Can you think of any books I should include if I want to take a broad look at eugenics in SF? When I say eugenics I mean an attempt to improve the human race through selective breeding, not genetic engineering. And for this I'm not interested in books about breeding for The Perfect Child that has been foretold unto us, who will save the world; that trope is also creepy, but different.

Two Paths

Jan. 18th, 2016 12:59 am
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The top left card represents the first possible outcome. Strength: Raw power. Health and physical fortitude. A surge of tremendous force. Recovery from sickness. Victory after apprehension and fear. The ability to face and overcome opposition brings the inner qualities of strength and forbearance. Delays and setbacks will be overcome.

The top right card represents the second possible outcome. The Tower, when reversed: Unexpected upheaval leading to a positive change in life. Catastrophe survived or narrowly avoided. A new lifestyle and enlightenment. May indicate a broken relationship, divorce, or failure in business or career.

The middle left card represents the force drawing you towards the first possible outcome. Queen of Wands: The essence of fire behaving as water, such as a rainbow: The natural embodiment of passion and sensuality, who is always the center of attention. One who reflects the desires and ambitions of others, and ignites them. A radiantly vital person, cocky and charismatic, who sees what she wants and goes after it.

The middle right card represents the force drawing you towards the second possible outcome. Ten of Wands (Oppression), when reversed: Refusing to take on burdens greater than you can carry. Noble leadership restrained from transforming into tyranny. Bearing the weight of ultimate responsibility without being crushed. Through careful conservation of their fuel, the engines of creation continue onward.

The bottom card represents the critical factor that decides what will come to pass. The Moon: Cyclic transformation covering the mysterious forces of the night. Feminine beauty and the intoxicating vitality of youth. The metamorphosis from beauty to beast and vice versa. Occult forces, sensitivities and intense dreams. Dangerous situations and perilous times.
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• What are you reading?

A Stranger in Olondria, by Sofia Samatar, for SF book group, which is my favorite book group because 1. I like a really good proportion of the books we read, and 2. I can get loud and funny there and people still like me, even if I'm saying something mean about a book they like.

• What did you recently finish reading?

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, for a new book group, which would be my fourth. It's a roundtable discussion of classics, led by CSU grad students, hosted in a very interesting small press/bookstore/coffee shop/community space. There were seventeen people at this first meeting. The discussion was good. Everyone got to talk. I said that while I was reading about Hester Prynne on the pillory, I was thinking about 21st century victims of public shaming. When I was seventeen, I thought that we could throw off our hypocrisies, be honest about who we loved, be honest about who we were, and eliminate shaming! Nope.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

Something I've got checked out from the library, I hope.
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The first card, the significator, is placed in the center of the cross. This card represents the prime energy manifest in your life. The Hierophant: Ritualism. Mercy. Kindness. Forgiveness. Inspiration. Compassion. Servitude. Inactivity. Timidity. Captivity to ones own ideas. Tendency to cling to outdated ideas and principles. Conformity. A religious or spiritual leader.

The second card, placed above the significator, represents Air. It describes your spirit, process of thought, and the influence of reason. Knight of Clubs: A journey. Advancement into the unknown. Alteration. Fight. Absence. Change of residence.

The third card, placed to the right of the significator, represents Fire. It describes your motivations, creative energies, and the influence of passion. Two of Coins (Change): Difficulty in launching new projects. Difficult stations. New troubles. Embarrassment.

The fourth card, placed below the significator, represents Water. It describes your emotions, meditations, and the influence of love. The World: Attachment. Completion. Perfection. Ultimate change. The end result of all efforts. Success. Synthesis. Fulfillment. Capability. Triumph in undertakings. The rewards that come from hard work. Eternal life. Admiration of others.

The fifth card, placed to the left of the significator represents Earth. It describes your physical presence, position in life, and the influence of the material world. Eight of Cups (Indolence): Discontinuance of effort. Disappointment. Abandonment of previous plans. Shyness. Modesty. Abandoned success.

At this point the cross is complete and the triangle is formed. The sixth card, placed on the bottom left of the triangle represents one of two opposing forces. Queen of Clubs, when reversed: Jealousy. Deceit. Possible infidelity. Unstable emotions. Fickleness. Resistance. Opposition.

The seventh card, placed on the bottom right of the triangle represents the force that opposes the bottom left card. These forces may be external, but they are frequently one's own inner archetypes in conflict. Six of Clubs (Victory): Conquest. Triumph. Good news. Advancement. Expectation. Desires realized as a result of efforts.

The eighth card, the reconciler, is placed below the cross in the third vertex of the triangle. This is the force that will resolve the conflict between the bottom left and bottom right cards. By meditating on this force and bringing more of it into your life, you can bring the matter at hand to a swifter conclusion than would naturally occur. Knight of Cups, when reversed: Subtlety. Artifice. Trickery. A sly and cunning person. A person capable of swindling.

The ninth and final card, placed in the center bottom of the triangle, represents the final outcome unless you change course. The Hanged Man, when reversed: Lack of sacrifice. Unwillingness to make the necessary effort. Failure to give of oneself. Egotism. False prophecy. Useless sacrifice.
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I have 23 items checked out from the library:

This year you write your novel / Walter Mosley.
Barn owl / David Chandler.
Making origami masks step by step / Michael G. LaFosse
The checklist manifesto : how to get things right / Atul Gawande.
Age of contradiction : American thought and culture in the 1960s / Howard Brick.
Bad feminist : essays / Roxane Gay.
A paradise built in hell : the extraordinary communities that arise in disaster / Rebecca Solnit.
The gift : creativity and the artist in the modern world / Lewis Hyde.

Hotel du Lac / Anita Brookner.
Dead to me / Cath Staincliffe.
Persona / Genevieve Valentine.
Deathless / Catherynne M. Valente.
Ancillary sword / Ann Leckie.
Watership Down / Richard Adams.
Ex Machina. Book One / Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris.

Californication. The second season
Silicon Valley. The complete first season
The theory of everything
Borgen. Season 1
Deadwood. The complete second season [
Boy meets girl
Clouds of Sils Maria

Plus 2 items on my Overdrive account:

What's a dog for? : the surprising history, science, philosophy, and politics of man's best friend / John Homans
The scarlet letter [electronic resource] / by Nathaniel Hawthorne

18 items on my hold list, of which 6 are fiction, 4 are non-fiction, and 8 are movies or TV shows. 1 is ready for pickup, 11 are frozen, 6 I probably should freeze even though their waitlists are really long.

That's close to normal fiction/nonfiction ratio for me. I don't read nearly as much nonfiction as fiction, but I keep them a lot longer. Even so, half of those are probably going to go back unfinished. This is the second time I've had A Paradise Built In Hell out, and it's going to go back unfinished again, and I'll cycle through the waitlist again. I should just buy it, but then it would keep getting bumped by books with time pressure.

It's Nixie who's reading The Gift, not me. Only 24 of those items are mine!

4 of them are for book groups. 3 of them are books I already own, but I can't find them right now and I need to read them right now. I have no idea how that situation with the TV shows happened. No idea.

What does your to-read pile look like?
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This book sounds so wonderful I don't ever want to read it no real thing could live up to this description: Welcome to Mars, by James Blish.


Dec. 30th, 2015 10:20 pm
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The thing is, I don't really want fanfic for Jane the Virgin, not yet anyway. But [personal profile] musesfool recommended this, and it's metafiction, and it's about Rogelio. I still don't want fanfic for Jane the Virgin that is even a little bit off, but all the voices in this are right on.

Fandom ships Rogelio with Esteban, his rival, because of course they do. Rogelio's response is quintessential Rogelio.

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Mungo asked me to show him how to make Big Molasses Ginger Cookies, so we did that today. To get the best texture,
1. Use Crisco
2. Keep the dough cool until it goes into the oven (I know that's not easy when she has you rolling the dough into balls with your hands)
3. Remember that they'll keep cooking on residual heat after you take them out of the oven, so take them out before they're done.

I gave
seasons 5-7 of Buffy, to Nixie
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, to Mungo
Sorcerer to the Crown, to Neal
Fly By Night and The Cloud Roads, to my nieces.

Nixie gave me a beautiful mask she made. Mungo gave me Redshirts and The Goblin Emperor. Well done picking books that I enjoy... which I know because I have already enjoyed both those books. I efficiently regifted The Goblin Emperor to Mungo. He found my description of Redshirts less appealing, so we're going to go exchange it tomorrow. Neal is making me a Thing for the kitchen, a piece of granite countertop, set an inch lower than standard kitchen counter height, with storage underneath, the whole thing on casters. It's going to be so heavy.

Then we had dinner with Neal's girlfriend, who had spent the earlier part of the day with her other not-genetically-related family (her former in-laws). Nixie is still struggling with painful feelings about her parents' not being a couple anymore, but we all behaved well.
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I read "Upgrade", by Rohinton Daruwala, for the December Strange Horizons poetry podcast. You can read it here or listen to me read it here.
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Amazon just sent me "Because of your recent purchase from, you are receiving a promotion code redeemable for a free digital HD copy of Kung Fu Panda. The code will cover the full cost of this item."

I am not sure why they thought I would like to own a copy of Kung Fu Panda. Assuming I can give it away -- which the email doesn't say I can't -- if you would like to own a copy of Kung Fu Panda, comment below and I will forward it to you.


Dec. 12th, 2015 10:20 pm
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We got five inches of fluffy white snow today, which makes it very noticeable how not white the white dog is, and how tiny the tiny dog is.

My neighbors have a new baby, five weeks old and eee! even tinier than the tiny dog! But that doesn't last. I'm trying to remember how old his big sister is, and wishing LJ had a useful search function.

I took Aiko to the vet for a blood draw to make sure he can still take his arthritis drug. There were puppies in the waiting room, nine weeks old, with soft puppy fur; at 16 pounds and 13 pounds, already bigger than the tiny dog, and destined to get bigger than Aiko. The vet wanted a urine specimen too, which Aiko did not provide, so they sent me home with a specimen collection kit: one small styrofoam bowl, to hold in the way of the stream; one specimen cup; one plastic pipette, to transfer the specimen from bowl to cup. 'Specimen' is one of those words I always misspell. Every time I typed it in this post it came out 'specimin'.
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I've got two nieces, 10 and 13, both read a lot. The last time I saw them, I gave the 13-year-old A Natural History of Dragons. Turns out she *loves* dragons, so I lucked out there. The book she was reading was The Life of Pi. I gave the 10-year-old The True Meaning of Smekday, which I was worried might be a little young for her, but I love that book so much I wanted to share it, and it turns out that like most avid readers, she enjoys things intended for older and younger people.

So I'm casting my mind around for Christmas presents. I haven't read Uprooted, but it seems very popular among my reading list. Maybe Seraphina, but a kid who loves dragons has probably read it already. The Cloud Roads wouldn't be too mature for a kid who chose to read Life of Pi, right?

Do you have any suggestions?
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My last two bags of Wellness dog food had a problem with the zip-lock closure coming unstuck from the side of the bag, so they couldn't be sealed. I complained, so Wellness sent me three $5 coupons for any Wellness product, so these could also be cat food coupons! They expire March 2016. I get dog food delivered by Amazon, so I can't use them, except that sometimes I run out of dog food before I run out of month, so I'm going to keep one in case. Would you like the other two? First ask gets. Comments are screened, so you can leave an address.

past it

Dec. 2nd, 2015 11:44 pm
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I am 23 minutes into watching Hope Springs. I am crying and I am so angry. When I picked it off the library shelf I thought, hey, Meryl Streep! I did notice that it was about an older couple going to couple's counseling, but I didn't think it would bother me. I'm over that. That part of my life is over.

Turns out I'm over it because I don't think about it.
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There's a weird fundamentalist church near here whose sign often manages to piss me off. Yesterday it said, "Life without God was never meant to be lived." I'm not curious enough to go inside the church to find out, but I am curious enough for an opinion poll:

Poll #17147 church sign
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 12

"Life without God was never meant to be lived" means

View Answers

it's okay to let non-Christian refugees drown
3 (25.0%)

it's okay to shoot people near a Planned Parenthood center, even the police who are only there because you are shooting
0 (0.0%)

something else which I will explain in comments
9 (75.0%)

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The Twisting Path spread provides insight into the path ahead of you and the choices you must make. This is the spread for situations where more than one pitfall may lie ahead.

The card at the lower left, represents the first decision along your path. Catone (Death), when reversed: Stagnation or petrifaction. The refusal to let go of the past. Resistance to change because of fear.

The card to the far left represents the first false path that may lead you astray. 9 Dischi (Gain), when reversed: Bad luck attending material affairs. Elitism and snobbishness. Lack of discipline resulting in the erosion of security and stability. Contempt for the exact labors that brought one to a position of refinement. Dishonesty in financial matters.

The card in the middle represents the second decision along your path. 10 Anfore (Satiety), when reversed: Dissipation, debauchery, and stagnation. Taking one's good fortune for granted. Problems in domestic and social matters. A false love or infatuation, leading to a lack of fulfillment.

The card at the lower right represents the second false path that may lead you astray. 4 Mazze (Completion), when reversed: Squandering a great and hard won victory through decadence and laziness. Failing to reward those truly responsible for an achievement. Using past accomplishments as an excuse to ignore current problems. Abandoning the very qualities that brought about initial success.

The card at the top represents one possible mask of your true destination. 6 Spade (Science), when reversed: Conceit and intellectual pride. Being stuck in a problem which has no apparent solution. Frustration and anxiety that are left unsettled. Travel and exploration are delayed.
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So I was walking my dog and this arrogant jerk in an SUV decides that he is not going to yield to me, after all SUVs are washable. After skipping back out of his way I made a gesture. Not that one. The one where you hold your hands out to your sides, waist-height, palms up, calling on heaven to witness the wrongness of what just happened. And this guy, this guy who is in too much of a hurry to slow down to permit me to finish crossing the street, this guy slows down, rolls down his window, and leans out to shout back at me, "What, lady? There wasn't a stop sign!"

"It's a crosswalk!" I shrieked back.

"There wasn't a pedestrian sign!" he yelled, still looking back at me while he was driving forward.

Obviously there are several things I can be righteously angry about here, but what most irritates me is that vocative "lady". Don't call me "lady" when you're being a dick!
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[personal profile] dingsi asked for book suggestions, and I made some even though I get anxious recommending books to people I don't know.
I want to suggest three women of color who write excellent books that haven't been suggested yet, but all these books have content that I have to warn for while recommending them. They are all fantasy, but not the kind of fantasy that escapes from the fact that if you're a woman of color, some people will treat your body as if it were their property.

What makes these books so great is that they are about living a joyful autonomous life anyway.

Redwood and Wildfire, by Andrea Hairston, is set at the beginning of the 20th century, in the swampland of Georgia and then in the theater and film world of Chicago. The protagonist is a Black woman learning to use her magic and her storytelling power. The other main character is a mixed-race Native American and white man. Warnings for a lynching, a rape, alcoholism, and the fact that there is eventually a romance between characters who became friends while one of them was an adult and the other was a child.

Nalo Hopkinson's work is multicultural, feminist, queer, and intersectional. Midnight Robber is the one I read first and still my favorite, but the protagonist is raped by her father. Sister Mine has a Caribbean family of gods living in modern-day Toronto. Warning for consensual incest between conjoined twins. The Salt Roads has three protagonists, in 18th-century Haiti, 19th-century Paris, and ancient Egypt, connected by a goddess and the struggle for freedom. Warning for slavery and prostitution.

Octavia Butler wrote some of the most worthwhile and most troubling books I have ever read. I don;t even know where to start talking about them. Fledgling is about vampires, but it will take you straight into the heart of the problem Butler never stopped struggling with: the way our biology drives us to violate other people's autonomy. She alienates the problem by telling stories in which the exploiters are a different species than the people they use, but you can't not see the light these stories cast on the way men use women, the way white people use Black people, the way fetuses use their mothers.
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The beautiful poem I mentioned last week is Swan Girls, by Theodora Goss, which you can read here:

You can listen to me reading it on the Strange Horizons poetry podcast here:


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