Category: Books

Jim Ottaviani and Leland Purvis have a new book — er, webcomic? — out!

Hooray, hooray! Fire up a new browser window, because Jim Ottaviani and Leland Purvis have a new book out! It’s the story of Alan Turing’s life, and as you may be able to guess from standing next to me for five minutes, I’m kind of nerdy about history, especially the kind of true story that involves a brilliant, driven man who helped break the Nazi code during World War II:

Our world is one of computers and secure communications, and Turing’s work is at the heart of both. He was an eccentric genius, an Olympic-class runner, a witty and clear communicator about complicated ideas, and open and honest to a fault. The secret he kept to safeguard his country could have saved him; the secret he refused to keep to save himself meant his destruction at the hands of that same country.”

At the moment, it’s serializing on Tor.com, and will update daily for its entirety.

What’re you waiting for? Go read!

My Boyfriend is a Monster

It’s been a long while in the making, but I’m excited to finally announce that I’ve got a couple of pages in a brand new book, My Boyfriend Is a Monster: He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, part of a series published by Lerner’s Graphic Universe Imprint! The story is a retelling of Jekyll and Hyde by writer Robin Mayhall, and I’m in really good company with three other talented artists: Kristen Cella, Dirk Tiede, and Jen Manley Lee. You can pick up copies through your local comics store, Powells, or Amazon.

Clockwork Game Update: 10/4/12

It’s Banned Books Week, so the Signal boost of the week goes to these lists of frequently challenged books from the ALA. It’s terrifying that we still need to defend the freedom of speech as frequently and as strongly as we do, and there’s no one closer to the front lines than librarians. Huge thanks go to the ALA for their continuing work against censorship — and if you’d like to help them out, go check out the Banned Books Week support page. The always-vigilant CBLDF is supporting the cause as well, and if you’re a comics reader, and aren’t yet a member, now’d be a great time to amend that.

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Start here:

When Writers Fail To Understand How Words Work

and then go here:

Because writing a book for fun and profit is totally just like what happened at Bataan

and then here:

Patalim

and finally end up here:

Your Broken Project is Not a War Crime

I’ve had a post about this — not this situation specifically, but others like it — brewing for a long time. I’ve used the word “deathmarch” before, in flippant context. After reading these essays, though, I’m going to stop doing so, for the reasons that Bill (whump) outlines in his post. It trivializes other peoples’ pain, it erases and disregards history, and most of all, trying to defend the use of such a word in such a context makes you look like a jackass.

The argument I have always seen against dropping the use of such words always boils down to “But I’m a word nerd, and I think I should be able to use any word I want. Not using that word cuts a hole in my lexicon, and demonizes it, besides. Also, I like that word.”

That’s not word-nerdery. That’s laziness. That’s favoring metaphor over precision, generality over specificity. A real word-nerd would keep searching until they came up with a more correct, more fitting descriptor. If the situation you’re involved in actually resembles a death-march? Then by all means, go ahead and use that word. If not? Head back to the well and drop the bucket. Surely you can come up with something better than that.

The other thing I don’t get is how people can say something like that, and when called on it (with politeness, gentleness and sincerity, I might add), to issue a half-assed “Sorry you found it offensive” and then keep using the term. This is not someone else being too sensitive. This is you being too insensitive, especially after someone stuck their neck out to point out your mistake — to educate you.

Case in point: When a kid with Downs hears someone use the r-word in casual conversation and says “I know that when you use that word you’re talking about me,” with hurt in his voice, what kind of person says “Hey, I’m sorry you were offended. But r–ed is just such a satisfying word to use!” Full disclosure: I actually used that defense once, on that same word. And then my friend told me how her brother — yes, that kid — felt. And then I stopped using it, because I was ashamed of myself for privileging my own word-nerdery over someone else’s feelings. I found a different word. It wasn’t hard, it was beneficial: looking for better words makes me a better writer.

If there’s one good thing that came out of the horrible A:TLA Racebending debacle, it’s that it led me to discover that I’m an absolute sucker for specificity, in both visual detail and in language. I don’t want generalities. I want specifics. I want to be a more rigorous writer, one who more closely examines my word-choices, my settings, my historical details — and if I make a mistake, and get called on it, (which I will, of course) I hope to God I can listen and learn and grow from it, rather than alienating — and further hurting — someone who took time and courage out of their day to be polite to me and educate me when I was off-base.

That education is a gift — a token of esteem towards you, the writer, for the hurting party feels you’ve got the capacity to learn, despite the fact that you just hurt them — and it comes free of charge to you, but not to them. Speaking up takes bravery, costs energy, and frequently earns an unwanted backlash.

So thank you, miir, littlebutfierce, whump, ephemere, ktempest and megwrites. I’m sorry that all of you had to write what you did, but thank you for taking the effort and time to do so.

Help Pam Noles support the Interstitial Arts Foundation

Work’s been kicking my butt lately, so I’m a day or two late on posting this, but this needs to get signal boosted:

Pam Noles (who is Black, Geek, and Fine With That), has quilted the most amazing wrap skirt and is donating it to an auction for the Interstitial Arts Foundation:

In addition to being gorgeous and twirly and a genuine hand-sewn work of art, it’s also inspired by a short story, “Berry Moon,” by Camilla Bruce. Those of you who know me well know how much I dearly love cross-pollination like this. Songs written for poems written for artwork based on photographs. Fabric Arts made for short stories. Dancing about architecture. You know the stuff: It’s wonderful, and inspiring, and it makes the world a much better place.

As if all that weren’t enough, Pam will custom-size the wrap-skirt’s buttonhole for you.

So what’re you waiting for? Go forth and Bid! It’s for a good cause!

Signal Boost: Project POORCRAFT

Hey, everybody: my buddy C. Spike Trotman is starting up a brand-new project and needs your help! It’s called Project: POORCRAFT and it’s going to be a guide to living frugally in urban and suburban areas, told in comics format. But don’t take my word for it; head on over to Kickstarter and hear Spike tell you about it herself.

Ohwha Tanerd Iyam

For Christmas, I bought myself a few indulgences — a couple picture books that are historical trivia/glossaries/companion pieces to the Patrick O’Brian Aubrey/Maturin books, a couple more reference books about The Turk, and this, which I found on eBay. I’m going to find a wee tiny frame for it. Does anyone else want some pretty, cancelled stamps from Slovakia? I’m not a collector myself, but if you are, speak up and I’ll send them out.

(Slovakia also struck a coin with Kempelen’s face on them, and Hungary did one with the Turk on it, and I’m chasing both on eBay right now. What a colossal nerd I am.)

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