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We're happy to welcome Elizabeth Fitzgerald to Lady Business today to give us the rundown on all the amazing women writers who helped carve out space in the literary scene of Australia and the women currently writing today. Thanks, Elizabeth!

Australian Women Writers


What makes a good list? On episode #44 of Fangirl Happy Hour, you probably heard special guest Gin Jenny of Reading the End offer her criteria: time period, tone, race, and gender. I have one other that I like to add to that: nationality. Being biased, this usually means I’m looking for Australian authors.

Being an Australian reader and fan is an interesting thing. We have such a strong SFF scene and I find it disappointing how little that gets recognised on an international scope. As a book blogger, I try to counter this by keeping a focus (mostly) on home-grown work, and I always keep an eye on Australian representation in award nominations and recommendation lists.

So when I recently ran across a list of 100 SFF novels written by women, I scanned it eagerly for familiar names. After all, Australia has an excellent tradition when it comes to female SFF writers—particularly in fantasy, as author and critic Tansy Rayner Roberts has noted. I was disappointed to see that in this list of 100 there were just two: Juliet Marillier and KJ Bishop. Both are brilliant authors (and Kirsten is an amazing sculptor to boot), but there were dozens of deserving names that could be added.

I realise no list can be definitive. More than anything, they should serve as a starting point for further exploration of a topic. With that in mind, I offer you my own list.

If you’re a reader looking for a general introduction to Australian women SFF writers, the Twelve Planets series from Twelfth Planet Press is a good place to start. These are short, single-author collections by some of Australia’s finest writers. Each book contains four stories and are a great way to dip in and get a feel for whether this author is for you.Read more... )

20/08/16: Minor corrections have been made to this post since it went up. Trudi Canavan's fantasy is not YA as previously stated, and Lisa Hannet's "Lament For The Afterlife" is a novel not a collection of short stories.
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[personal profile] helloladies
Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the author of Signal to Noise - one of Jodie's favourite books of 2015 so far. Today she joins us to talk about how Mexican soap operas have influenced her writing.


Periodically people ask me where I get my ideas, how my Mexican background influences my writing and the role of music in my life. And by periodically I mean only for the past few months because my debut novel Signal to Noise – about teenagers who learn to cast magic spells using vinyl records in 1980s Mexico City – came out this year and I’ve done some interviews on this topic.

Now when someone asks you to lists your influences and cultural background there’s a classy way to do it, which involves mentioning some of the great writers you read. And then there’s the dark underbelly of my childhood, the 1980s monster lurking under the bed: the intros to Mexican soap operas.

Read more... )
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[personal profile] helloladies
Today we bring you the second post in our Women in Authority theme week. Our next guest post is from Jenny one of the bloggers from popular site Reading the End (she's known as Gin Jenny over there).


I cheated a little bit on this assignment. (Don't tell the ladies of Lady Business; I want them to invite me back.) When they proposed this week of guest posts about lady bosses, I promptly volunteered to write about one of my favorite books of all time, The Color Purple, even though they were thinking of Heads of Corporate Conglomerates, and I wanted to write about a small business owner. (It is not like I need much excuse to write about The Color Purple. If I could write about The Color Purple once a week without boring y'all stiff, I'd do it.)

Read more... )
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The guest posts keep coming! We knew no one could resist the chance to throw out hundreds of words about female villains. Next up is Amy who lives in Southern California and occasionally maintains the blog My Friend Amy which recently turned eleven! She loves stories in all their forms, arguing about sports, and over committing herself to various projects.


Psycho is one of the best known horror films of all time and the actual psychosis behind the actions of Norman Bates in the film continue to intrigue. So much so that a few years ago, A&E greenlit a backstory to the film in the form of a TV show—Bates Motel Despite the eye rolling that was to be done over Hollywood’s lack of original ideas, the concept was fresh in some ways. The story was to be set in present day. And even more interesting was the prominent role Norman’s mother would play. The real flesh and blood mother before she became nothing but a corpse in the fruit cellar.

Read more... )
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[personal profile] helloladies
Our next guest post comes from Lady Business regular, Memory Scarlett. Memory writes about books, television, and more at her blog, In the Forest of Stories. You can also find her moaning about her taco addiction and her various fictional preoccupations on Twitter as @xicanti. She’s currently trying not to dive straight into an epic BTVS rewatch; when she loses the battle, Twitter will be the first to know.


Glory, seated in chair with stick


I love a good villain as much as the next person, but I usually draw a blank when people ask me about my favourites. So many of the evil folks I latch onto are really antiheroes; the sort of characters who could just as easily switch sides, if they thought it might be to their advantage. They do ghastly things, but since they can also be sympathetic there’s always that small hope they’ll recognize the error of their ways and, like, stop being evil. It’s rare for me to get truly excited about an out-and-out villain.

Glory, the antagonist of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s stellar fifth season, is the exception. She is an unequivocal villain, and I love her to death.

Prior to Glory’s arrival in Sunnydale, the Scooby Gang deals with an assortment of down-to-earth villains including vampires who want to eat all the humans; unsouled ex-lovers with psychological torment on their minds; immortal sorcerers who lust after demonic levels of power; and governmental agencies bent on scientifically qualifying magic. They’re great villains, yeah, and they pose a real threat to the Scoobies, but not a one of ‘em is on the same level as Glory. She might deign to wrinkle her nose at them, or shoot a snarky comment their way if they’re particularly lucky, but that’s about as far as Glory would ever involve herself with that sort of rabble.

Because Glory is a god. Literally. And she’s not just any old god--she’s a mad, banished hell god determined to return to her realm at any cost.

She’s the worst, and that makes her the best.

Read more... )
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[personal profile] helloladies
'But what of female villains? Perhaps I’m just not reading the right meta, but it’s always seemed a bit glaring to me that, whereas (for instance) there are endless paeans to the moral complexity and intricate personal histories of the Buffyverse’s Spike and Angel, their female counterparts, Drusilla and Darla, never seem to merit the same degree of compulsive protection.' (Gender, Orphan Black & The Meta of Meta by Foz Meadows)

Jodie has emotions about Morgana Pendragon approximately five times a day. So, when Foz Meadows mentioned the need for more meta examining the moral complexity of female villains Jodie got to scheming.

Months later, our Female Villains theme week is finally here! Get ready to go Metaphysical, party with ladies who start fires and share all your love for female villains. We begin with a guest essay from Foz Meadows herself; the author of Solace and Grief and The Key to Starveldt, and editor of Speculative Fiction 2015.


I have gone out, a possessed witch
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.1


Bad women disobey.

This is the crux, the core truth, of our historically gendered ideas about villainy. Bad men are complicated: they have tragic pasts and hidden agendas, fascinating pathologies and extenuating circumstances; they are political animals, mavericks, monsters, kings and brigands and renegades. They differ from each other in innumerable ways, but while some of them might be misogynists or hypermasculine zealots, the thing that makes them bad is never their gender itself, but only their particular means of expressing it. Bad men are not representative of all men – not culturally, anyway; not at the level of shared narratives – but for centuries of storytelling, bad women have been representative of all women. Our villainy is a stain we brought upon ourselves and which, like Lady Macbeth's damned spot, refuses to wash clean.

And bad women disobey.

Read more... )
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[personal profile] helloladies
Today we're excited to welcome [tumblr.com profile] justira back to to Lady Business to talk about Mockingjay Part 1. Ira is an awesome illustrator, writer, and web developer who gained their powers by consuming the bones of their enemies. They make art, comics, and writing when they are not distracted by way too many video games. You can find more of Ira's work at their tumblr.





Mockingjay's recent release to DVD has reignited my ambivalence towards the movie— don't get me wrong, it's great having another female-led spec fic film, especially one with Natalie Dormer running support. But the film suffered a critical lack; the ghost of the movie it could have been hovered over the film for me: the film lacked confidence. The story — the book — is, at its core, part social commentary and part inspection of PTSD. But the film adaptation lacked the boldness to pull a full genre shift, or make up for Collins's shortcomings as a writer. Spoilers for the books and movies up through Mockingjay Part 1 and its equivalent part of the book follow.

What the movie should have done was listen to its own message more. It should have listened to Haymitch.

Haymitch explains how to use Katniss effectively.

Haymitch criticized Plutarch's effort at making Mockingjay propos: they were falling flat and felt artificial. What they needed to do — what the movie needed to do — was get inside Katniss's head, inspect the authentic intersection of her internal world and the world around her. Katniss's commodification had to be contingent upon her authenticity in order to function as intended. That's when the propos were the most genuine and effective. That's when the movie shone. Read more... )
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[personal profile] helloladies
Still waiting for an invite to the short fiction party? Well let us dispense with the formalities, sweep you inside and get you the beverage of your choice!

Today, Short Business features blogger and short fiction enthusiast forestofglory who's keen to tell you all about her favourite short fiction of 2014. Whether you're planning to nominate short work for the Hugo Awards or just looking for a great story to read, let this post guide you through a variety of excellent options.


Red, white and blue short business logo


One of the best things about my participation in the Hugo Awards is that it has lead me to realize how much awesome SFF short fiction is being published. As I’ve become more aware of SFF short fiction as the number of authors and online magazines I follow has increased. I am now much more aware of new things that I want to read. This year I’ve read an impressive amount of short fiction. I’ve read about 85 works online and 4 anthologies, plus collections which included original work. Of course I still haven’t read anything like all the of short SFF work published this year. There is just so much!

Anyways, based on what I’ve read here are my favorite short works from 2014. I’ve divided them by length based on Hugo categories. If you have nominating privileges this year I hope you’ll consider nominating some of these stories. And even if you aren’t a World Con member I hope you’ll read and enjoy some of these works.

Read more... )
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Today we're excited to welcome Ira to Lady Business to talk about Dragon Age: Inquisition! Ira is a kickass illustrator, writer, and web developer who gained their powers by consuming the bones of their enemies. They make art, comics, and writing when they are not distracted by way too many video games. You can find more of Ira's work at their tumblr.





So I suppose it's time to talk about Dragon Age: Inquisition! In the last 2-3 months I bulldozed my way through the entire DA game series, have arrived at the end of DAI, and boy howdy, I have opinions. Let's have a spoiler-free summary up here first, with spoilery details below the cut. Overall I feel like Bioware tried to add a lot of grey, particularly to issues they'd seen people getting pretty black-and-white over, and really overcorrected with the grey.
The Dragon at Emprise Du Lion

Grey for everyone!
(Image credit: Dragon Age Wiki)

Many thanks to [personal profile] owlmoose for helping me figure out some of what was bothering me and playing editor. She may not agree with all I say, but helped shape the saying.

Things I liked!
  • Cassandra Pentaghast. She is nearly perfect as a character, imperfections and all. She's determined, loyal, iron-willed, unwavering, and sees the faults in the systems she's part of. If only my lady Inquisitor could have romanced her! But overall? This is one part of DAI that gets no [disgusted noise] from me.

  • Josephine was a treat, and I appreciate the alternate approach she represents; I often find diplomatic or third-option solutions far more interesting and satisfying. Her romance is adorable, her character is great, and I just wish we weren't such a terribly, terribly underutilized gem.

  • Cullen grew a lot -- good work, buddy. Shame you're straight too.

  • It was great to see Morrigan again, with how she's matured and changed.

  • The game is beautiful and huge -- overwhelmingly so much of the time, but I think that has more to do with my sensory overload threshold than anything else. Whenever I was up to handling it, the scale and scenery were breathtaking.

  • DAI does... some... amount of work to correct some of the flaws in its inherently misogynistic worldbuilding. There are more and more varied women, gender is made less an issue of, and overall the treatment of women is improving.

  • Krem is fucking great and I will hear no words against him and his awesomeness.

  • Dagna! Scout Harding! Dwarf ladies!

Things that rubbed me a wee bit the wrong way
  • Oppression as a theme is treated with none of the care and gravity it or Bioware's own worldbuilding deserve. The mage-templar conflict is papered over with a bit too much "both sides are just as bad" hand-waving, and the elves, POC-coded as they are, are treated terribly by the narrative, painted as foolish and participants in their own demise and ongoing oppression.

  • There's a lot of tricky-to-icky racial subtext in the game, from Morrigan's blatant elfsplaining to the first Black playable female character being classist and supportive of oppressive regimes to a POC party member being a slavery apologist.

  • GSM people continue to be majority outcast or problematic in some way while straight people continue to be majority upstanding folk. The only to-date canonical gay companion romance is written deliberately as a questionable idea. One of the gay characters gets an arc about how very tragically gay and outcast they are.

  • Most returning or past characters and factions are treated poorly by the narrative. The Grey Wardens got some unbelievably bad writing, right down to a moustache-twirling villain. Characters who would have been thematically appropriate to return, such as Merrill, didn't, while characters who did show up are poorly used and executed, written into corners by worldstates.

  • The large-scale writing is poor. The antagonists were wildly uneven, culminating with Corypheus himself who, drop dead deeply satisfyingly awesome as his voice was, amounted to little more than a by-the-numbers, suitable-for-mass-consumption, uncomplicated Big Bad. The overall plot is thin and poorly tied together.

  • The Inquisitor themselves is handed some dialogue options that are homophobic and transphobic at worst, ignorant and clumsy at best. Why?

Let's just dive right in to the dirty stuff, right? SPOILERS AHOY.

Read more... )

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