The fantastic, unique Joanna Russ passed away last week. Her influence on science fiction was tremendous and helped paved the way for other women to break into the male dominated genre. Timmi Duchamp has a lovely post, Remembering Joanna, about Russ that is both moving and fascinating.
Then head on over to i09 for their retrospective on Russ' work, How to remember and discover Joanna Russ.
Over at the Orbit website, Kate Griffin has a post up about Feminine Fantasy and her tendency to write heroes, not heroines. Particularly interesting to me was this: As I said, I tend to write mostly heroes, a decision I made fairly early on when, as a kid I attempted to write heroines and discovered, to my dismay, that all my strong female leads were turning out as smarter, wiser, funnier, stronger, more sexy versions of how I wished myself to be, and were consequentially making for utterly uninteresting characters on the page. Griffin is not the only writer to have this problem but she's one of the few smart enough to recognize it. There are a lot of wish fulfillment heroines out there. I don't always mind them, wf heroines can be very entertaining when written well but, - ooh boy - when they're bad, well, they're just silly and even worse... boring.
Looking for some YA books with strong female protagonists? Check out this list over at Kirkus Reviews. Tough Teen Heroines of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Hematic themed perfume - for those sexy nights when only smelling like blood will do...
At Persephone Magazine, Ailanthus-Altissima tells us Five Things She's Learned from Romance Novels
I'm looking forward to Devon Monk's new steampunk series, Dead Iron: The Age of Steam. She's got an excerpt up at her blog.
Boo! Amazon has been removing yaoi titles from the Kindle store. Boo Amazon! Although many of these books are still available in print form apparently they are Too hot for Kindle. Yet another reason why I refuse to get a Kindle. I don't need Amazon deciding what I can and can't read. I've read some yaoi, not a lot but some, and most of it's fairly tame compared to mainstream romance. Maybe I'm taking a wild leap here but I suspect it might be teh gay.
Speaking of teh gay, Katiebabs has an interesting piece up on the Rise of M/M Secondary Romances in Mainstreeam Straight Romances. You know, I don't get folks who refuse to read (or publish), same sex romances. A lot of the excuses I've seen usually boil down to something like, "same sex romances are not part of my own fantasies and that's why I don't read it" and I wonder, do most people only read books that reflect their own fantasies? I remember reading a hardcore BDSM novel by Morgan Hawke that was a bit extreme for my tastes and yet, it was so well written that I ended up enjoying it enough that it's now on my keeper shelf. I love it when an author can write a story that sucks me in even though the theme or tropes used normally don't rev my motor. Besides hot sex is hot sex. As long as it's between consenting adults (and even on some occasions when it's not), I'm ok with it. I'm also a firm believer in YKINMKBYKIOK. (Your Kink Is Not My Kink But Your Kink Is OK)
Reminder: Saturday, May 7 is Free Comic Book Day!
And finally, not book related but cool nonetheless, here's a roundup of pictures from the May Day protests that occurred around the world.