Cover image for The geek feminist revolution / Kameron Hurley.
Title:
The geek feminist revolution / Kameron Hurley.
ISBN:
9780765386236

9780765386243
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Tor, a Tom Doherty Associates Book, 2016.

©2016.
Physical Description:
286 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Contents:
Welcome to the revolution -- Persistence, and the long con of being a successful writer -- I'll make pancakes : on opting in, and out, of the writing game -- What marketing and advertising taught me about the value of failure -- Taking responsibility for writing problematic stories -- Unpacking the "real writers have talent" myth -- Some men are more monstrous then others : on True detective's men and monsters -- Die hard, hetaerae, and problematic pin-ups : a rant -- Wives, warlords, and refugees : the people economy of Mad Max -- Tea, bodies, and business : remaking the hero archetype -- A complexity of desires : expectations of sex and sexuality in science fiction -- What's so scary about strong female protagonists, anyway? -- In defense of unlikable women -- Women and gentlemen : on unmasking the sobering reality of hyper-masculine characters -- Gender, family, nookie : the speculative frontier -- The increasingly poor economics of penning problematic stories -- Making people care : storytelling in fiction vs. marketing -- Our dystopia : imagining more hopeful futures -- Where have all the women gone? Reclaiming the future of fiction -- Finding hope in tragedy : why I read dark fiction -- Public speaking while fat -- They'll come for you ... whether you speak up or not -- The horror novel you'll never have to live : surviving without health insurance -- Becoming what you hate -- Let it go : on responding (or not) to online criticism -- When the rebel becomes queen : changing broken systems from the inside -- Terrorist or revolutionary? Deciding who gets to write history -- Giving up the sky -- What we didn't see : power, protest, story -- What living in South Africa taught me about being white in America -- It's about ethics in dating -- Hijacking the Hugo Awards -- Dear SFWA writers : let's chat about censorship and bullying -- With great power comes great responsibility : on empathy and the power of privilege -- Rage doesn't exist in a vacuum -- Why I'm not afraid of the Internet -- We have always fought : challenging the "women, cattle, and slaves" narrative -- What are we fighting for?
Abstract:
"The book collects dozens of Hurley's essays on feminism, geek culture, and her experiences and insights as a genre writer, including "We Have Always Fought," which won the 2013 Hugo for Best Related Work. The Geek Feminist Revolution will also feature several entirely new essays written specifically for this volume."--Amazon.com.
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Summary

Summary

The Geek Feminist Revolution is a collection of essays by double Hugo Award-winning essayist and fantasy novelist Kameron Hurley.

The book collects dozens of Hurley's essays on feminism, geek culture, and her experiences and insights as a genre writer, including "We Have Always Fought," which won the 2013 Hugo for Best Related Work. The Geek Feminist Revolution will also feature several entirely new essays written specifically for this volume.

Unapologetically outspoken, Hurley has contributed essays to The Atlantic, Locus, Tor.com, and others on the rise of women in genre, her passion for SF/F, and the diversification of publishing.


Author Notes

KAMERON HURLEY is an award-winning writer of essays and SF/F fiction. She is the author of the Hugo Award-winning "We Have Always Fought," as well as the Worldbreaker Saga, the Gods' War Trilogy, and numerous short stories.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Hugo Award-winning writer Hurley (Empire Ascendant) places some of her best previously published essays and nine new pieces into a collection that loudly highlights the limiting, raw deal women get in the science fiction and fantasy genre as authors, readers, and characters. She points out the dangers of trying to subvert gender norms rather than overturning them, and the impact that the science fiction writing tropes of the 1980s still have on today's popular imagination, while encouraging writers to create, and readers to demand, stories that really push the edges of what we can imagine. She writes in an exquisitely crafted yet deceptively casual, profanity-laced style, linking her experiences to universal issues with rousing conviction. Hurley is certainly not the first to point out the deep misogyny in 21st-century popular culture, but she articulates the problems in an incisive, opinionated, and demanding blend of analysis and personal storytelling that will inspire her readers and peers in the science fiction community to work toward change. Agent: Hannah Bowman, Liza Dawson Associates. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


New York Review of Books Review

IT'S EASY TO GET LOST in the kaleidoscopic world-building of NINEFOX GAMBIT (Solaris, paper, $9.99), the first novel by the well-regarded story writer Yoon Ha Lee. Lee submerges readers without explanation into the hexarchate - a star-spanning far-future society whose culture relies on advanced mathematics to produce "exotic effects" that are nigh magical. A sort of unearthly physics, these can make select individuals functionally immortal, even as exotic generators churn forth monstrous vector-scrambling storms that disintegrate enemy soldiers down to component atoms. At the core of the technology is the high calendar. More than just a measurement of time, this calendar shapes the mathematical base of the exotic effects. Yet by changing the calendar and thus the underlying math of reality, dissidents can cripple hexarchate technology - a heresy to those in control, who punish dissenters by destroying them whole planets at a time. The disproportionate reprisals inevitably beget more heresy, so the hexarchate exists in a perpetual state of war in which it is too beneficially invested ever to end. Amid such brutal calculus, Lee (himself an Ivy League-educated mathematician) fortunately doesn't stint on character development or plot. The protagonist is Kel Cheris, a young soldier gifted in number theory, who is summoned from the battlefield for a strange new mission. She must partner with the disgraced General Jedao, possibly the only person in the hexarchate who can help reclaim the strategically critical Fortress of Scattered Needles and stop the looming threat of calendrical rot. Problem: Jedao has been dead for centuries, executed after he went mad and slaughtered thousands of his own people. Cheris must become host to this unstable genius's "ghost," or preserved personality - and once she does, she must immediately learn how to navigate her way through politics more ancient than the hexarchate itself. Meanwhile, if she slips even once in her self-control or calculations, her ghostly ally will drive her mad too. Or worse. The story is dense, the pace intense, and the delicate East Asian flavoring of the math-rich setting might make it seem utterly alien to many readers - yet metaphors for our own world abound. Mathematics is often lauded as a universal language, but this is blatantly untrue; for universality to work, adherents must believe in the same basic truths, or principles, to the same degree. Lee's quasireligious treatment of mathematics, and Cheris's need to simultaneously exploit and rely on Jedao, both serve as metaphors for colonialism. (As does the quiet, oblique rebellion taking place in the background amid the hexarchate's artificially intelligent servitors.) And the lesson of colonialism applies as well: Brute-force domination gets you only so far. For stability, trust is key. Readers willing to invest in a steep learning curve will be rewarded with a tight-woven, complicated but not convoluted, breathtakingly original space opera. And since this is only the first book of the Machineries of Empire trilogy, it's the start of what looks to be a wild ride. IN 2014, KAMERON HURLEY won a Hugo Award for her essay "We Have Always Fought: Challenging the ?Women, Cattle and Slaves' Narrative." The essay, in which Hurley processed her own reaction to realizing that women historically have made up significant percentages of revolutionary armies, tacitly pushed back against a common misapprehension in geek social circles that women (and by extension people of color, the disabled, transgender/nonbinary people and other marginalized groups) are somehow a recent and alien addition to geekdom. Hurley dismantled this misapprehension easily, with the judicious application of historical fact. Her point was clear: Women have always belonged within and contributed to spaces commonly thought of as "men's," and our societal failure to recognize this truth is an artificial and sometimes conscious erasure of reality. In her new essay collection, THE GEEK FEMINIST REVOLUTION (Tor/Tom Doherty, cloth, $26.99; paper, $15.99), Hurley expands on this initial conclusion, exploring life as an American woman and writer through personal anecdotes, plain-language feminist theory and further misapprehension-puncturing. The focus of these essays remains firmly fixed on geeky literature and media, though Hurley suggests - indeed, demands, in an introduction titled "Welcome to the Revolution" - that readers should see the genre as a microcosm of American society and even global politics. In token of this, Hurley ties together similar culture wars in gaming, fiction, health care, comics, even the comments sections of popular news outlets like The New York Times. The big picture of the essays coheres slowly but clearly: These culture wars are real, life-and-death matters, whose soldiers (of all genders) suffer lost opportunities, death threats and worse. More important, the existential struggles of fans and writers in the geekosphere are part of a battle for the Zeitgeist - for control over the stories that shape reality, over who gets to be treated as "people" in art and life, and over what constitutes true quality and mastery in any craft. These essays are funny; they are poignant; they are powerful. Many of them first found life on Hurley's website or other media venues like The Atlantic, so it is somewhat disappointing to find only nine new ones written for this collection. Still, those interested in a deep examination of subculture, womanhood and art through the lens of speculative fiction will be highly entertained. AMID THE CROWDED bustle of a present-day Kolkata night, Alok Mukherjee, a meek historian, is drawn into a discussion with a nameless stranger. The stranger spins him a meandering tale of shape-shifters who prey on humans, hidden in the shadows of society since the Greek myth of Lycaon. Mukherjee is skeptical, because the stranger insists the tale is true, but he is intrigued enough to ask for more. The rest of this tale is presented to him as translated ancient journals written on scrolls made of human skin. Thus begins Indra Das's THE DEVOURERS (Del Rey, $26), a chilling, gorgeous saga that spans several centuries and many lands, though the bulk of the tale is set in India of the Mughal Empire and today. The tale begins with cruelty: A shapeshifter, weary of his inherently destructive existence (they devour human souls to extend their own lives), commits the taboo of raping and impregnating a human woman out of the twisted urge to create something. The woman, enraged by the assault, seeks out other shapeshifters in her quest for vengeance, persuading them to help rather than devour her. The incident proves to be a watershed event for shapeshifter-kind, who have begun to dwindle amid the unsustainability and nihilism of their existence - and thus it is the half-human, half-shapeshifter product of this rape who must find some way to negotiate a new path between the magical brutality of his father's kind and his mother's beautiful mundanity. The frame tale of the professor and the nameless stranger is by no means the least important part of the saga, wending through the older story and eventually bringing both tales to a heartbreaking conclusion. Themes of hunger and hiddenness recur in all three narratives: the shape-shifters' yearning for human connection apart from violence; the self-protective camouflages of multiracialism and nonbinary queerness and womanhood amid patriarchy; the desperation of traditionalists when faced with inevitable change. Das imparts these messages delicately, as filigree on a story already gilded in rich imagery and harrowing conflict. The language is the true treasure here, though, as Das imbues even grotesque scenes of cannibalism with a disturbing yet sensuous weight. The all-too-human characters - including the nonhuman ones - and the dreamlike, recursive plot serve to entrance the reader as well. Push past the slightly disjointed beginning; it has a purpose, but this does not become clear until much later in the book. Once the stranger presents the human-skin scrolls, however, there's no escaping "The Devourers." Readers will savor every bite. N.K. JEMISIN'S new novel, "The Obelisk Gate," will be published this week.


Library Journal Review

This collection of personal essays, including the Hugo Award-winning "We Have Always Fought," runs the gamut from memoir to cultural criticism, with a common connecting thread of what it means to be a woman creator in the constellation of geek cultures-sf, comics, gaming, etc.-in the Internet age. Major fandom-centric controversies such as #Gamergate and the Sad/Rabid Puppies Hugo slates are addressed, as well as pop-culture icons from films Die Hard to Mad Max. Hurley is clear sighted about intersectionality and what's -incumbent on public figures facing criticism, even when they don't feel powerful. What's not here are next steps, personal or systemic, beyond not shutting or giving up that readers seeking revolution might have come for. Verdict A great introduction for geek guys seeking to understand and reassurance for women that the injustices, while real, are survivable.-Meredith Schwartz, Library Journal © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Introduction: Welcome to the Revolutionp. 13
Part I Level Up
Persistence, and the Long Con of Being a Successful Writerp. 23
I'll Make the Pancakes: On Opting In-and Out-of the Writing Gamep. 35
What Marketing and Advertising Taught Me About the Value of Failurep. 44
Taking Responsibility for Writing Problematic Storiesp. 49
Unpacking the "Real Writers Have Talent" Mythp. 54
Part II Geek
Some Men Are More Monstrous Than Others: On True Detective's Men and Monstersp. 63
Die Hard, Hetaerae, and Problematic Pin-Ups: A Rantp. 75
Wives, Warlords, and Refugees: The People Economy of Mad Maxp. 84
Tea, Bodies, and Business: Remaking the Hero Archetypep. 93
A Complexity of Desires: Expectations of Sex and Sexuality in Science Fictionp. 98
What's So Scary about Strong Female Protagonists, Anyway?*p. 105
In Defense of Unlikable Womenp. 109
Women and Gentlemen: On Unmasking the Sobering Reality of Hyper-Masculine Charactersp. 114
Gender, Family, Nookie: The Speculative Frontierp. 119
The Increasingly Poor Economics of Penning Problematic Storiesp. 125
Making People Care: Storytelling in Fiction vs. Marketingp. 129
Our Dystopia: Imagining More Hopeful Futures*p. 134
Where Have All the Women Gone? Reclaiming the Future of Fiction*p. 138
Part III Let's Get Personal
Finding Hope in Tragedy: Why I Read Dark Fictionp. 149
Public Speaking While Fatp. 156
They'll Come for You... Whether You Speak Up or Notp. 163
The Horror Novel You'll Never Have to Live: Surviving Without Health Insurancep. 168
Becoming What You Hatep. 175
Let It Go: On Responding (or Not) to Online Criticism*p. 185
When the Rebel Becomes Queen: Changing Broken Systems from the Inside*p. 194
Terrorist or Revolutionary? Deciding Who Gets to Write History*p. 202
Giving Up the Sky*p. 205
Part IV Revolution
What We Didn't See: Power, Protest, Storyp. 213
What Living in South Africa Taught Me About Being White in Americap. 222
It's About Ethics in Dating*p. 228
Flijacking the Hugo Awardsp. 234
Dear SFWA Writers: Let's Chat About Censorship and Bullyingp. 239
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: On Empathy and the Power of Privilegep. 244
Rage Doesn't Exist in a Vacuump. 251
Why I'm Not Afraid of the Internetp. 257
We Have Always Fought: Challenging the "Women, Cattle, and Slaves" Narrativep. 261
Epilogue: What Are We Fighting For?p. 273
Notesp. 277
Acknowledgmentsp. 285
About the Authorp. 287

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