Llamas, Women, and Other Stereotypes

We’ve been taught to presume the woman-warriors of myth and legend like Brunhilde, Queen Maeve, and Boudicca were unique; anomalies not representative of “real” women from the myth-making eras. Whereas, the figures of Arthur, Sigurd, Beowulf, Roland, and so on, are usually believed to be at the very least based in some part on real men. But what if, like the stories of their male counterparts, these legends of women fierce and fell were in fact representative of a woman’s typical role in warrior cultures? Roles that were degraded and suppressed because those woman-warriors gave lie to the obedient, silent, and compliant wife/mother/daughter/sister narrative of a later era. Read  We Have Always Fought, a great essay from A Dribble of Ink by author Kameron Hurley on why writing outside the stereotype matters.

 

Bad Blogger! Bad!

Wow, I’m a lousy blogger! More than two months and three books since last we met. I do have a good excuse or two. One: I was on vacation (Ireland was lovely and loads of fun, thanks for asking), and two: I was working on final edits of some of of my own stuff. So it wasn’t like I was just sitting around, watching Orange Is The New Black, eating pizza, and playing with my cats…well, not all of the time anyway.  But onto the book review (sort of).

 

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I really loved The Republic of Thieves so I want to review it, but honestly there isn’t too much I can say about why I loved this book, and the whole series, without either repeating what I’ve already written in an earlier Gentlemen Bastards review, or carelessly strewing spoilers all over the place. Instead, I’m going to rant. So if that doesn’t interest you feel free to stop reading now.

 

In a way I’m lucky; I came late to this series and didn’t discover the Gentlemen Bastards until about last January. So I’ve had the pleasure of reading the first three novels with only short, self-imposed breaks between (and as I understand it, the fourth is expected in early 2015) and wasn’t subject to any agonizingly long waits to read the next book. The same was true of  A Song of Ice and Fire. The first four were already published in paperback and e-book by the time I picked up A Game of Thrones and I only had to wait a couple of years before the fifth was available.  I consider myself as big a fan of both these series as anyone and will admit to some frustration at waiting for the next book, but the amount of really harsh criticism and outright vitriol some so-called fans constantly spew about being forced to wait is really surprising to me. Yeah, eight years is a long time. But come on, it’s not as if there aren’t other books out there to read. The world is full of books! Really, really, good books! And you know what? These authors don’t owe us a thing. Artists of all kinds create their art because they need to, and they need to do it for themselves. We, as the audience, either appreciate and enjoy it or we don’t. Painters will paint whether or not anyone sees or buys their work, dancers dance even if no one ever watches, and writers still write even if nobody ever buys a single one of their books. Maybe, I’m just more easy going than others. Maybe it’s because in my “other life” I’m an Oncology nurse and work with people who are facing literal life and death struggles every single day, and let me tell you: that has a way of keeping all the extraneous bullshit in perspective.

 

So to all the people out there calling Lynch, Martin, or whomever else they feel is making them wait too long to read a book, awful names and threatening to leave their fandom, I pose the question: when was the last time you wrote and published a sell-able epic fantasy or a “heartbreaking work of staggering genius”?

What was that?

Did you say Never?

Yeah…that’s what I thought, so maybe you should shut the fuck up.

 

Let the hate mail begin…

Other Observations: You know what would be great?

…if Arizona could stop being a giant douche-bag. First it was some pretty appalling anti-immigrant policies. Now it’s legislated discrimination in the name of religious freedom…coughbullshit.

At least that’s what I thought until I came across the scripture that says this: 

            Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination. Likewise thou shalt not bake them any cakes, nor serve them the flesh of any animal nor the fruit of any harvest. Thou shalt not dry clean, starch, nor press, their raiment. Thou shalt not pour out any libations for them nor sell unto them anything thou hast wrought with thy labor. Thou shalt not allow their children in thy schools nor clubs of any sort, nor permit them to teach the young, care for the sick, nor feed the hungry. 

…oh wait, actually, it doesn’t say that. Never mind.

Ok, yes, the above is quite tongue in cheek. I am aware there are passages in the Bible that call for ostracism of anyone violating the mandates of Leviticus, believe it or not I was once a Sunday School teacher. But it also calls for stoning adulterers, burning witches, putting all your enemies—men and women—to the sword and taking their children as slaves, and marrying victims of rape to their rapists (wow…huge ick factor there, but according to certain biblical text, that’s what God wants). Let’s see, what else? No wearing mixed fabrics or eating bacon. And don’t even get me started on the animal sacrifices! My point is this: if you’re going to choose your literal application of scripture à la carte, why not choose the things that don’t hurt other people, things that don’t lend themselves to hatred and intolerance?

Why not choose this: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; or this: Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor; or this: Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth?

Because—and pay attention, this is important—no one else’s sexual orientation abridges your religious freedom. Another person being gay—or bi, or poly—cannot prevent you from studying your Bible—or your Torah, or your Q’uran—and diligently meditating on how its lessons can bring out the best in you.  It cannot prevent you from attending the church—or synagogue, or mosque—of your choice. It cannot prevent you from praying or teaching your faith to your children. And if it can, then your faith seems a rather fragile and sickly thing, and maybe you ought to look inside yourself to find the reasons it’s so easily shaken and threatened.