FanX18

FanX18 was this weekend, and I attended all three days. There was a zombie panel that I wanted to attend but unfortunately I was quite worn out. I’ll go ahead and collect the book titles I want to read after these panels at the end of the post.
I also apologize for the multiple twitter threads. My phone was malfunctioning for the whole con (touch disease).
The panels I attended were as follows:

So, this isn’t my first FanX, but I went two or three years ago and I hadn’t actually gone all three days because there were so many people and I was generically overwhelmed.

I won’t belabor the points of each one as that’s what the twitter one was for.

My take away from the Books panel was that apparently people consider having different fantasy races, such as elves and orcs, fulfills the diversity requirement. This is not diversity and was a little on the insulting side, I thought.

I will say that I was deeply disappointed with the Avatar panel. One of the panelists literally introduced herself as someone who enjoys hating on things so I don’t feel bad calling her a hater. I just have to ask….why would we have someone who was so frank about her negativity be on a panel titled “Why We Love Avatar”?

Also, Korra and Aang I believe are fundamentally misunderstood. There was definitely a different vibe towards Aang than what I’ve encountered online but what they said about Korra matched a lot of the misogynist online discourse I’ve seen. The hater literally said she wouldn’t want to kill Korra but rather watch her struggle. I imagined the brutality of the fight in season 3 and wondered how much joy or satisfaction that particular panelist felt seeing that and it honestly made me feel ill to my stomach.

They condemned her so much for being so confident in her abilities and said she had an ego. Maybe she did in the beginning–but so did Aang and they didn’t say a thing about that. Aang was always showing off–not just in childhood but probably in adulthood as well.

That panel did not sit well with me at all, and it’s one of the reasons I avoided panels about fandoms and pretty much just stuck with the writing ones.

Lucy Lawless did her war cry and it was freaking awesome.

One of the things I really took away from Makers of Stories was the idea to make a pitch first and then write the novel. I will need to do more research and do it for the novels I’m currently in progress for, as well as for Eat Your Green even though the first draft of that is already written.

The other take away was that I don’t think setting daily word counts or write x hour of the day work for me. Particularly the latter because I do tend to work overtime and that can turn into a scheduling nightmare for me. However, now that I’m playing with Scrivener, I realized that writing a scene a day is a very, very achievable goal. So, that’s what I’m going to start doing now.

The other panel that deeply disappointed me was the LGBT panel. I felt like there was not an established direction. One of the panelists rubbed me the wrong way right away when she mentioned she didn’t want it to get political, and then said how she came close to blows with another panelist at a previous con when it came to whether or not Asexuality fell under the LGBTQ umbrella.

For those who don’t know, there is a LOT of discourse regarding this particular opinion, and I have friends whom I respect on both sides of this. As an asexual person myself, I no longer engage with this discourse because I ultimately find it extremely unpleasant, and I think that there are just too many real life variables that can affect how someone is systematically affected by being ace. So what turned me off this particular panelist is because she really just seemed to trivialize it and it just seemed extremely inappropriate to bring it up as no one else was allowed to have a voice (I mean…she did dominate almost the entire panel in a most unpleasant, bordering rude way so).

The other part that bothered me was the respectability politics. I completely agree that fandom sending death threats to creators, sending Sterek cookies, etc. is completely inappropriate and wrong. However, this particular panelist literally just said just ask for more representation in a way that rang eerily of Oliver Twist lifting his empty bowl of porridge and asking, ever so politely, “Please sir may I have some more.”

I don’t think I need to get into the systemic metaphor but I just couldn’t believe it honestly because there is a time and a place for anger. I think some of the other panelists didn’t feel the same way but they did not have a lot of time to share their own opinions, and she literally told another panelist to wrap it up because of the time even though there was still a few minutes before the end.

The most useful panel for me was Publishing Your Work. I got a lot of ideas for getting myself out there, along with a renewed desire to go to the Writer’s League. I need to start making time for this part of the writing process, and developing that part of myself. I also need to start thinking specifically about my audience.

Book Title Recommendation List:

  • Wool – I missed author so not sure which book he was referring to
  • Pack Dynamics – I missed the author so not sure which book he was referring to
  • Save the Cat (yeah I know I’m late to the party)
  • Write Your Novel From The Middle
  • Not Your Sidekick
  • A book by Elmore Leonard because apparently he’s a master at dialogue

My plan of action for my own work:

  • Read the books I bought (Not Your Sidekick and Unleashed)
  • Write more scenes — and write more prolifically esp with fanfic
  • Start going to the writer’s league
  • Attend the lesbian meetups I joined several years ago but never went to…if anything, I at least know lesbians are my audience so time to start making connections in that community.
  • Start visiting local bookstores and getting to know the employees
  • Start visiting the library and making friends with the librarians
  • See if I can get my business cards posted at the coffee shop the league meets up and some other local coffee places.
  • Start researching newsletters? Apparently that’s a thing I should have as a new author.

We’ll see what happens. Baby steps first.

 

 

Reading Corner: Perched on Olympus

My first introduction to Percy Jackson was not finding the books in the library or even the movie trailer, but rather the studio’s incredibly long and lengthy file name joined by (what felt like) a thousand other long and lengthy file names all beginning with PercyJackson, or in some unfortunate iterations, Percy_Jackson. The differentiations as the file name made its way onward towards its final destination of OV (preferably) or VF (god no) were no less subtle and far more aggravating.

Percy Jackson quickly became a gigantic pain in my ass and my least favorite person ever.

As an aside, I am referring to the second Percy Jackson movie. I can only assume I actually had seen the preview for the first feature prior to my exposure to the monstrosity naming conventions of the second, but the entirety of 2010 remains an extremely hazy memory.

Anyway.

Time has since passed. Wounds have since healed. I would occasionally remember that I maybe wanted to read the books. That I was, let’s just say, mildly curious about Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

My friend gave me most of the first series for Christmas.

I devoured them. I wanted to write a blog post about how #awesome it was that the last Olympian was Hestia, the importance and prioritization of hearth and home, but I had since found out about Heroes of Olympus and who has time to write a blog post when there are those books to read.

And so I read Heroes of Olympus, and that was when Nico Di Angelo crushed my heart in a stealth attack of feeling.

I seriously enjoyed these books despite the fact they were straight–seriously straight. I would use the “straight as hell” metaphor but it would be inappropriate to do so in this context.

But that’s okay. I’m used to my content being straight except when authors pull a surprise! We’re gonna reveal that Nico’s gay! Because he’s being forcibly outed! By Cupid!

Ouch????

I’ve been lucky. I’ve never been forcibly outed–only casually accidentally outed because the person involved didn’t realize I would prefer to Not, y’know? But she thought I was out and probably didn’t think about how gay people have to out themselves to every new person they meet so I don’t count it.

But like–what happened to Nico? Ten times worse. Being forced to confront his love for Percy in front of a person he doesn’t really trust that because Nico doesn’t trust anybody.

Again let me just say–ouch.

Honestly, this isn’t really a good start.

I was desperate for Nico to find happiness and, at the end, Riordan indicates that he might be able to find young romance with some guy named Will.

I had forgotten who Will was. I had to interrupt my reading to google, Will Solace Heroes of Olympus.

Oh. That guy.

Wait. What guy?

You see.

The whole “dynamic” was shoehorned in. It was like Riordan knew enough to not let Nico end up alone, but didn’t know enough to understand that Nico ending up with the equivalent of some Rando would be really unsatisfying.

I know that Nico was never one of the Seven (an observation noted by Nico himself that did not fail to make my heart ache) but all the other seven kids had major pairings with people who actually had their own point of view chapters through multiple books–right?

No, they didn’t! Time to talk about Leo Valdez!

Leo was shoehorned into a romance with Calypso, a plot line that was entirely unnecessary and served primarily to give Leo a girlfriend instead of a boyfriend named Nico.

Their names even rhyme how could Riordan have resisted such a temptation? To this day, nearly 24 hours after finishing the last book, I do not know. I can only shake my head and tsk my disappointment his way.

Leo (very vocally) likes girls, but I don’t think it would have been so unbelievable that Leo could have liked boys too.

Leo’s insistence on his attraction to the ladies is the embodiment of overcompensation. His attitude reminds me of me when I was his age: I’m going to get married to a man! And this man is going to take care of me! And we’re going to have so many babies! And I’m going to be so happy in my nuclear family!

#classic

A lot of times in the LGBT stories that I’ve been exposed to, there will always be the person who is Out and the other who is Not. It’s so ingrained. The conflict of such a relationship always seems to be a driving point.

It’s so tiring.

I would have loved to have seen Nico, struggling with the fact that he’s gay, becoming close with Leo, who is struggling to realize that he likes guys too. And together, they would realize that they liked each other.

Instead of the ridiculous Hazel-Frank-Leo half-hearted love triangle, we could have had that.

Instead of Leo finding his way back to Calypso’s island to keep Percy’s promise, we could have had Nico meeting Leo in the underworld after he died. We could have had Nico promising Leo that he would see him on the other side just before Festus injects him with the cure to bring him back to life.

C’mon this is the stuff of romance.

So in the Last Olympian, a character dies. Not a major one, but a character dies. A lot of minor characters die off page in Blood of Olympus, but overall, practically everybody lives, and this makes me happy.

I am so glad nobody I loved or particularly liked died. I am tired of heartbreak in my consumable fiction so it was nice to know that they all ended up okay because I stayed up way past my bedtime to make damn sure they would be okay.

So I thought that was a good beat to end it on–with everyone alive, everyone finding love and a home.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be over the missed opportunity for Leo and Nico, but I was also thinking about the actual writing of the novels.

I would hardly say that it was anything to write home about, but it was so readable. It was consumable. And I wish that I could find a way to balance my artsy-fartsy writing with readable, can’t-actually-put-it-down writing.

But I do recommend the books and I do intend to read more of the author. Started the Apollo book just today, actually, though I have to wait until May for book 2 and who knows how long after that for the rest.

Reading Corner: The Postman Always Rings Twice

This year, I want to broaden my literary scope. Instead of just reading Sci-Fi with a non-fiction book thrown in everyone once in a while for good measure, I want to start reading all the genres.

So I started with one I normally wouldn’t glance at in a million years: noir.

The Postman Always Rings Twice was on a list of top noir books, and the title intrigued me so I started with that one. After I finished the book I googled why it was called that because the novel itself featured zero postmen. There are several theories of course, which you can find on wikipedia, but I think my favorite one was the inescapable aspect of death. It reminded me of Roxy in Dead Like Me, who was actually a meter maid (I remembered belatedly), but still it would have been cool if one of the reapers had been a postman, wouldn’t it? Like, that seems like a thing that Dead Like Me would have done.

Noir is not my favorite genre. It’s an unhappy genre (at least in my very limited experience), and I don’t think that Cain’s novel was an exception to the rule. It began unhappily and it ended unhappily.

However, Cain’s prose is gorgeous. It was some of the most gorgeous prose I had ever read. The voice of the narrator came through so clearly, so intimately. One day, I hope to write so skillfully–which is why I must practice.

I have another noir book waiting for me on the library hold list. Unfortunately, I don’t remember which one it is because it’s in an anthology called Books to Die For. Perhaps I’ll read another book than the one I wanted, which is one of the reason I sprung for the anthology.

Who doesn’t love a good anthology?

Reader’s Corner: King & Riordan

When I was a kid, I used to read several books at a time. I blame this on my home school education,  tv was a limited amusement, and that we used to belong to the Pizza Hut reading program: read x number of books and you get a free single-serving pizza.

I would read books that were beneath my reading level so I could chow through them in a single day, satisfactorily log it, and then read another one. Normally, I was reading other books that were not considered pizza fodder, though I took great satisfaction in logging those too.

Then I grew up. Got a major case of The Depression, and stopped reading!

I know, what a bummer.

I’ve actually been reading again for a while but not like I used to. Not like I did as a kid.

I’ve been starting small, again reading books below my age. For example, my coworker gave me the Percy Jackson books for Christmas. You’ll have these read over the weekend, right? She asked me.

Uhhhhhhh, I said, very intelligently.

To be honest, I was feeling the pressure. My mom had also given me two books that she wanted me to read, one of which was sitting on my shelf for over a month, the other languishing in my kindle for even longer. I also had my own list of to-reads which I had yet to get to–Amazon asks me how many stars I want to rate a book I’ve purchased but yet to read, and the guilt sets in.

I did not have the Percy books read over the weekend, but I did go through them at a good pace despite working full time, writing, being dog tired, and reading other projects.

Yes, I am back to reading multiple books at a time!

The primary book that I read while reading Percy Jackson was Joyland by Steven King. I chose to read Joyland to expand my genre horizons beyond science fiction and fantasy.

I consumed Joyland in a day and a half. Stephen King is a pretty good writer, obviously. His On Writing was one of the first books I read about the craft, though my thoughts are mixed on it now as an adult. I really enjoyed Firestarter, but couldn’t get into some of his more “heavier” stuff. Basically, I don’t read a lot of Stephen King for several reasons, and I started IT though stopped when I discovered what happens at the end of the novel.

I’ve never read any of Rick Riordan’s work before and, even though they are different genres written for different audiences, I couldn’t help but compare the two to each other craftwise.

One of the things I immediately noticed about Joyland was that it was not structured into chapters. The other thing I noticed is that, even though I could remember what happened as I was reading, the drama was written so smoothly it was sliding melted butter over bread. It’s the juxtaposition of feeling where you remember what happened–but you also don’t. The same sort of feel when you try to remember exactly what filled your hours on a weekend, but you can’t. The day was there, and it wasn’t. There’s just the feeling you had–that it was great or good or satisfying or bad.

I’ve always had this feeling when I’m immersed in a well written book. It reminds me of the feeling I get when I’m trying to write: how am I going to fill these pages when hardly anything is happening, when the plot is a slow boil? And here is Stephen King doing just that, nearly effortlessly.

I’m not sure if I’m explaining it right. Maybe if I finally bring in my point about Percy Jackson:

With Percy Jackson, I have the opposite feeling. I remember what fills the page because it feels very much like a video game. Each obstacle is like a punctuation mark. Again, this is probably because this is aimed at a (much) younger audience than myself.

But it also got me thinking about different writing styles, and the audience. Of course, you’re going to be changing your form and style as necessary, but I couldn’t help but feeling that my most mature writing is more like Riordan’s than King’s.

And there really is nothing wrong with that! But, especially since I am not writing for a younger generation, I want my writing to read more like King’s. Not in his voice, just the way people read the words without noticing the plot structure or other writing devices because they are so well hidden in the actual story.

It’s something that I’ll be aiming for in the coming months.

Reading Corner: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

I’ve been struggling with reading, primarily because real life demands in my life take a lot of energy from me, and I have a difficult time finding time to read when I do so. I am trying to make reading more of a priority to me and, since I’m currently still on a Star Wars kick from The Force Awaken’s release back in December, I thought I would start with a Star Wars novel. I also decided to start with Star Wars because I would love, love, love to one day be invited to write one (but that is dependent on me actually, I don’t know, writing, finishing things, etc).

I started with Lost Stars by Claudia Gray.

Read More »

While Reading The Price of Salt

One of the passages that really spoke to me as a lesbian who had been married to a man in the Price of Salt were the following:

She had known from his first step toward her that he was going to ask her [to stay the night]. Now she felt miserable and ashamed, sorry for herself and for him, because it was so impossible, and so embarrassing because she didn’t want it. There was always that tremendous block of not ever wanting to try it, which reduced it all to a kind of wretched embarrassment and nothing more, each time he asked her. She remembered the first night she had let him stay, and she writhed again inwardly. It had been anything but pleasant [. . .] and the second time had been even worse, probably because Richard had thought all the difficulties had been gotten over. It was painful enough to make her weep, and Richard had been very apologetic and had said she made him feel like a brute. And then she had protested that he wasn’t.

[. . .]

“Why [can’t I stay]?”

“Because. Because I can’t,” she said, every word agony. “Because I don’t want to sleep with you.”

“Oh, Terry!” Richard laughed. “I’m sorry I asked you. Forget about it, honey, will you?”

[. . .] But I can’t, she thought. I’ve got to think about it sometime, because you think about it.

I finished this series of passages and I was like, wow. This is me. I remembered crying myself from the pain and the shame of not wanting sex with my husband like I was supposed to. I remember the embarrassment of it all as I cried hot tears that made my husband uncomfortable–not because it wasn’t good for me but because I was crying so much.

And I hate Richard so much in these passages. I hate how happy he is and I hate how little he cares for Therese. I hate how Therese is pressured to be in this situation when throughout the previous pages, she is clearly drawn to women, even before she meets Carol.

There is a trauma that happens when women who love other women are forced in this kind of situation. It’s so long lasting and men like Richard just laugh.

Reading Corner: On Writing by Stephen King

I finished reading On Writing by Stephen King for the second time of my life. The first time I read it I was an eager adolescent–a teenager I believe–who wanted to be a writer more than anything in the whole world.

I don’t know what happened after I finished reading it for the first time. I know that crushing depression and a bewildering experience with my professor in my college’s creative writing program made it difficult for me to write. I didn’t write for years after I graduated college due to one thing or another, and when I did start writing again, it was fanfiction. I have an account somewhere on the internet that documents over 100 works of fanfiction, some of them over fifty thousand words.

I don’t think Stephen King would have much use for fanfiction, but for me it helped rekindle not so much love but at least a feeling towards writing again.

And it had been such a long time since I had felt anything towards writing that I welcomed it, and hung on to it, and kept writing it even though I didn’t write the stuff that got a lot of notes and attention from the fandom corners in which I lurked.

Stephen King talks a lot about reading and writing daily. I’m ashamed to say that I still don’t write every day. I’m ashamed to say that I don’t read seventy to eighty books every year. I read still, but not a lot, and again not every day. Stephen King is very hard on television and I do tend to veg in front of netflix after a long day’s work. I find it difficult to wake up in the mornings and no matter how determined I am to Accomplish Things and Write Stuff in the mornings, it rarely happens.

I’ve been vaguely aware of this untenable state of affairs for a while now. Re-reading King’s words of wisdom was simply a fog horn telling me to stop diddling around on the internet and to actually Do Something.

In the latter pages of this book, Stephen King talks about the joy of writing, and how he never did it for the paycheck. I don’t have that joy. I haven’t had fun playing around with words for a long time. I want to survive on my writing, and I don’t want to go back to my job because working is like being in Azkaban.

So I think first and foremost I need to find that joy again as well.

I don’t know how I’ll do that, but I do know that I won’t find it by waiting for it to come to me. I know that I enjoy writing. Even when I don’t enjoy it until I start (much like cardiovascular activities), eventually I get in the zone and I feel love for the words I’m putting on the page, and I love the way I’ve put them together, and I love writing.

So I know it’s there. It just needs to be rekindled. It’s been untended for far too long–first because of brain and heart sickness, and then discouragement and the lack of ability to tell a story–to even think of a story.

Stephen King said that he had an Ideal Reader in mind, someone you wrote for. I don’t think I have one of those yet. My Mom and my Dad are good people but there is a lot of bad stuff between my mom that I don’t feel comfortable having her be my ideal Reader. Also, she doesn’t have the time and has her own circle of people towards whom she bears emotional responsibility.

Stephen King’s Ideal Reader is his wife but I have been single for eight years and I do not see that changing anytime soon.

I can’t let not having an Ideal Reader stop me. I know that writers don’t do well alone–that they do need a community of some sort.

So in addition to recommitting myself to rekindling that joy, I am also going to try to make a friend to be my Ideal Reader. And maybe I can be their Ideal Reader in return–anything could happen.

My isolation in terms of friendships is not good for my writing. Staying at home all the time minus trips to the movie theater, is not good for my writing. That needs to change as well. One thing that stuck in my head when reading this memoir is that Stephen King’s ideas for a novel came when he was out doing something–even something as mundane as work or driving up a highway. Even I’ve experienced this. My venture to Utah’s salt flats have shaped the background of two stories, even if I did end up putting them away for later.

Despite not having read hardly any of Stephen King’s works (I think I’ve only read Firestarter), I am grateful for this call to action, and I definitely plan to act on it. I do recall that there is a live poetry reading at a nearby coffee shop every Saturday evening that might make for a good starting place.

Reading Corner: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

I recently finished reading The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. It was one of the longer books I’ve attempted since my attention span has been negatively affected by working full time, depression/anxiety, etc.

That said, I’m glad I read it, though I don’t think I could in all honesty put it on a list of must reads.

Lynch is a master of world building. He writes this beautiful world as if the reader is part of it. He does not explain what he means when he describes the seasons, the gods, or the time of day. He does not need to. His lack of explanation makes their existence absolutely believable, infallibly real. Even objects that exist in this universe and that universe are written from the perspective of someone from Locke’s world (I’m thinking, specifically, of the word “optics” used for “glasses,” a small touch that absolutely enhanced and reinforced the world of Locke Lamora–it’s a great example of texturizing detail).

Not only that, there was just so much to the world that it was easy to realize that the single city explored in the first novel is part of something bigger, richer than itself. I don’t really get that feeling when I read a lot of modern fantasy, so to see such a reality so masterfully scripted–I was awed.

I struggle with world building. I struggle with it a lot. It’s one of the major weaknesses of my own writing, and something that I am attempting to rectify, a muscle I am attempting to train and strengthen. It is for this reason alone that I will probably continue to read the rest of the Gentleman Bastard series, of which the Lies of Locke Lamora is the first volume. I have a lot to learn from Scott Lynch.

Now that I’ve made my courtesies to the author, I have to admit that there was a lot about Lies of Locke Lamora of which I was not a huge fan, but that is mostly because our writing philosophies are incredibly different (which is no surprise seeing as we are different people with different tastes).

I find it incredibly sad and disappointing that despite the rich world that Lynch had created, there were so few women who were part of the story. I can think of five major women off the top of my head. One, a fellow Gentleman Bastard I suppose, was always referred to off screen. The other was the wife of the noble they were conning and had very few scenes of her own. The third was the daughter of the ruling gang-king who was drowned in horse urine. Then there were the twins who were accomplished fighters and they also died–and they were almost always considered as a singular entity instead of their own persons.

So, that made me feel, in a lot of ways, unwelcome to the party? And even though most of the men that comprised Locke’s gang also died, it just was frustrating that there were so few women with major roles and that so many of them died–particularly in very bloody and violent ways.

Additionally, the entire novel was comprised around this idea of vengeance and violence–I am not particularly interested in these themes, especially when they appear in collusion with the absence and death of women and are orchestrated by men as reactions to these missing women. Beyond that, I am someone who does not want violence to be celebrated or to be so taken for granted that the narrative can find no other means of absolution or resolution. All the major players, including Locke, choose a course of violence and vengeance. Sometimes it works out for them, sometimes it doesn’t.

For me personally, such stories provide me very little insight, and I bore quickly of them.

Some might say that such a stance is unrealistic, that violence is a certainty in the world and that any other course would be unrealistic. Violences, both large and small, both bloody and bloodless, are enacted today. But so is non violence.

But as I said, despite my philosophical differences with Scott Lynch, I will be reading the rest of the Gentleman Bastard series, if only because Lynch’s technique is so very good.

Reading Corner: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

I recently finished reading Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.

Ever since I read Gone Girl, I have been impressed with Flynn’s master command of prose, specifically in the first person voice. Dark Places was no exception to what I had come to expect from Gone Girl: a compelling first person voice, word play, and intricate unlikeable characters.

First person has always been something that I’ve not been a big fan of. Sometimes it feels like I’m reading someone’s poorly written journal (and if it’s in the present tense, I’m even more confused because I don’t process my immediate life in that way), but Flynn writes a first person voice that is utterly compelling to me. I haven’t quite figured out the secret, but I definitely want to read more of her technique, even if I’m not a huge fan of her plots.

The word play aspect is closely associated with one of the reasons her first person voice is so good. In the words of Humpty Dumpty, Flynn can make words behave. I can’t remember which writer advised this, but she is very good at using one strong word instead of writing in lavish, wandering prose. And not only that, she uses words that aren’t normally associated with what she is trying to describe, resulting in forcing the reader to view common, everyday objects in a new way that lingers with them, that gives a unique flavor and texture to the prose that is unforgettable.

Even though I’m not a huge fan of her plots, I do have to bow to her ability to write utterly unlikeable characters with whom I find myself invested. Libby Day reminded me a lot of myself. Her executive dysfunction, her depression, her meanness, her selfishness, are all things I’ve seen in myself. This kind of averageness is not something I’ve seen in a lot of the literature I’ve read (admittedly, I read primarily sci-fi — both Gone Girl and Dark Places are a bit of a departure from my normal fair) but it’s something I crave.

To be honest, I wasn’t interested in the plot at all–but then plots have always been of secondary importance to me, so it wasn’t something that bothered me very terribly. That said, I’ve noticed something in both Gone Girl and Dark Places: both narratives featured false rape accusations. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this, but it has left me feeling vaguely unsettled. I’m interested to see if the other novel I want to read by Flynn, Sharp Objects, features similar themes.

Reading Corner: The Astronaut by Andy Weir

I recently read The Martian by Andy Weir, something that has been on my radar for about a year now.

For being a New York’s time best seller, I wasn’t that terribly impressed with it.

The character itself was static in that he felt like the same person at the beginning of being stranded on Mars as he did at the end, over a year later. The author didn’t make as much use of the first person voice (through the conceit of logging how he was stranded, his day to day survival, etc)–and that surprised me because there was a lot one could do with that kind of voice in that kind of element–it was a missed opportunity to really pack an emotional punch for the reader.

I was reading part of the interview at the back, and Weir said that the character is very much like him, and he just put in what he’d say in such a situation and that, to me, explained everything about why the character sounded so weak.

There was no sense of exile, of hopelessness, of desperation–

Of loneliness

and i felt that if the character was based on just what he’d say that would explain a lot. There was such a lack of imagination there that I was actually mildly mystified that the author would choose to go in such a direction.

I also felt alienated by the author and the narrator (both, since they are apparently one and the same) in that the narrator seemed to miss women only in the sense that they could provide him sex as women were always presented in this context. I just felt really uncomfortable and like I wasn’t supposed to be the target audience of this novel.

Reading The Martian didn’t challenge my own writing nor did it get my creative juices flowing. However, the mere fact that it’s a New York Time’s best seller doesn’t necessarily mean that quality will sell.

This does give me hope because of my weaknesses in editing. I am still struggling with editing my maritime story, and I am also afraid that it is boring and it is not as strong as it could be. I’m waiting to hear some feedback and maybe I will end up trying to re-write it so that it’s stronger or do some more strenuous edits, but at the end of the day I know that I’m just going to have to accept it as it is and realize that just because it’s weak, doesn’t mean it’s the end. It only means that we all have to start somewhere.