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Monday, August 16, 2004

Book review: Mission Child, by Maureen F. McHugh

A colonized world develops a unique identity and culture. Years later, one of its citizens develops a unique identity as well, adapting to her culture by taking on the identity of a man. Soon, she finds that her gender-blurring actually appeals to her in ways beyond what her situation demands of her.

I love Mission Child as much as McHugh’s more popular novel China Mountain Zhang, which received the James Tiptree, Jr. Memorial Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and the Locus Award for Best First Novel.

McHugh is a great writer who can involve readers in any scene, regardless of how much or how little action that scene contains. The language seems descriptive to an extreme, but she still manages to tie those descriptions into the thoughts and feelings of the characters.

Before reading her work, I read reviews that included complaints about her supposedly not focusing on plot. Readers can find countless formulaic, plot-driven science fiction and fantasy novels, but they won’t find many original and evocative writers of McHugh’s caliber.

McHugh’s other novels include Nekropolis and Half the Day Is Night.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Gay mayors, governors?

In “Mirrors: A Blackmail Letter,” one of the tales from my story cycle The Acorn Stories, the closet-case mayor of a Texas town launches a “family values” crusade that targets an artist with whom he had a gay sexual encounter. Please don’t confuse the mayor of Acorn, Texas, with the governor of Texas, or with any other real person. A gay mayor is one thing, but no one would believe the idea of a gay governor! Come on, this is Friday the 13th, not April Fools Day!

The International Herald Tribune: Governor steps down after disclosing gay affair
SignOnSanDiego.Com: New Jersey governor resigns and admits gay affair
New York Post: N.J. Governor Resigns Over Gay Affair With Aide In $5m Blackmail Flap
The Independent Media Center: "It's OK to be Gay, Governor Perry"
The Texas Triangle: Perry Winkles
The Austin Chronicle: Naked City: The Real Sins of Gov. Perry

Monday, August 09, 2004

The cover image from The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer is the current group photo for the Yahoo! Group An All Around Writing site. An excerpt from the group’s description follows: “Here, writers of all kinds can get together and discuss their books, poetry, lyrics, things read, and even get a chance to meet with some publishers and agents.”