Today I have three news items that I want to mention:
RIP Diana Wynne Jones
First, Diana Wynne Jones passed away on Saturday after a long battle with cancer. She’s the author of the beloved classics Howl’s Moving Castle, the Chrestomanci series, and many other young adult fantasies. I loved her books growing up and I’m greatly saddened by the loss of such an amazing storyteller. Here you can read a news article, Neil Gaiman’s Tweet, and a wonderfully heartfelt post over at Things Mean A Lot.
YA story pulled from anthology for having same-sex romance
Now this I just find disappointing. Author Jessica Verday was told her short story couldn’t be included in the anthology Wicked Pretty Things unless she changed the main characters’ male/male romance into a male/female romance. Read more about it on her blog, including an incredibly ridiculous explanation from the editor as to why she felt the story needed to be pulled. As far as explicitness, the story contained three very tame kisses, one implied and two direct (Verday states the exact quotes in a comment on her post).
This speaks volumes about our culture. For all that Americans purport to love freedom and individuality, we are a society of homophobes that blatantly discriminates against same-sex love and regards anything that defies the heterosexual norm as aberrant. This is so disappointing to me, though I guess not surprising. I think the comments from authors Courtney Milan and Holly Black sum it up pretty well, and Katiebabs posted a great (and well justified) rant on her blog Babbling About Books and More. Also, here’s an excellent post on the subject from The Book Pushers.
More WTFery headed your way from the YA community. According to this post by Becca Fitzpatrick, the author of Hush, Hush, aspiring YA authors can hurt their chances of being successful if they write negative reviews of other YA authors’ books. That led to a flurry of posts concerning the existence of a so-called "YA mafia." As author Holly Black states on her blog, the YA mafia is "a cabal of writers who give one another blurbs, do events with one another, and like each other’s books… They also, apparently, can ruin your career." Black goes on to refute to existence of such a group, saying, "[T]here is no group of people out there planning any of our dooms. And even if there were, it wouldn’t work."
Author Justine Larbalestier also offers her opinion, echoing Black’s belief that the YA Mafia does not exist. But the point, Larbalestier says, is that bloggers are being made to feel like they can’t give books negative reviews. Here’s a great post from Smexy Books, and another from The Book Pushers on the YA Mafia and how authors and bloggers should handle negative reviews. Once again, Katiebabs sums it up quite well in her post on the publishing community.
Since most of the news today is kind of depressing, I’ll end with a quote from this hilarious post by author John Scalzi. In an effort to disprove the existence of the YA Mafia, Scalzi imagines the following scenarios:
STEROID SCALZI MEETS WITH HIS EDITOR:
Me: There’s this writer who I hate with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns. Never ever publish her. I am Scalzi. You must heed my words.
Editor: Well, I will take that under consideration (makes mental note that I have finally crossed the line from “reasonable human” to “text-extruding asshole who must be managed”).
STEROID SCALZI MEETS WITH OTHER WRITERS:
Me: There is a writer whom I wish to destroy. Join me in my quest to smoosh his career like a grape caught under a high school cafeteria table wheel.
Other writers: Send us an e-mail about that (make mental notes to avoid me in the future, because I am clearly a mean drunk).
STEROID SCALZI MEETS WITH A REVIEWER:
Me: If you do not give this writer whom I despise a soul-shriveling review, then never again will I have my publicist send you advance copies of my work. EVER.
Reviewer: I’ll remember that (crosses me off the list of people he reviews, reviews someone who is not a dick instead).
STEROID SCALZI COMMUNICATES WITH THE INTERNET:
Me: ARRRGH MINIONS MUST SMASH POOPY WRITER WHO POOPS DO MY BIDDING YOU DARK LOVELIES
Internet: Dude, you’re kind of a prick.