Apr. 2nd, 2010

manifesta: (River)

I should really cease in promising which post will come next, because invariably that's the post I get stuck on, which then puts me off of writing any new content until I become unstuck.

I've been working on a proposal for Sirens Conference in between classes, salsa practice, and running pilot tests for experiment #1. 

"Inspired by the daring adventures of women characters and compelled by the brilliant works by women authors, Sirens is dedicated to women in fantasy literature. Our conference, part scholarly examination and part networking retreat, welcomes academics, authors, professionals, and readers—and encourages all attendees to provide their perspectives on fantasy books by women, female characters in fantasy works, the market for fantasy by and about women, and how to support women in fantasy literature."
The guests of honor this year are Holly Black, Marie Brennan, and Terri Windling. Anyone can propose a topic for a presentation and there are multiple mediums (papers, workshops, discussions, etc.) availiable. I think it's a great concept, but I wish it wasn't in Vail. 90 minutes from the nearest airport in Denver. At an expensive spa resort. I see the costs stacking up there, and while I recognize that the location was chosen specifically to create a private, welcoming atmosphere, it makes me question its accessibility for people who can't afford to drop several hundred dollars on a single con.

*****

Recent book acquisitions include His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik, Carnal Innocence by Nora Roberts, Auralia's Choice by Jeffrey Overstreet, Elantris by Brandon Sanderson, and Vision in White by Nora Roberts. 3 fantasy, 2 romance. I've already finished Vision in White; while I found some of the characterization to be overdone and annoying, it was a charming story.

I reread Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small quartet over Spring Break (Tamora Pierce has become my paragon of feminist high fantasy that I go running to, sometimes screaming, when the rest of the world seems to have gone utterly batshit) and it occurred to me how much more in-depth Pierce went/was allowed to go with Keladry in comparison to Alanna from her earlier books. Alanna certainly had her share of struggles, but because she was forced to pass as a boy, others treated her like a boy, and so she was not bombarded with others' judgments of her as incapable every day. Alanna's successes enabled her to believe in herself, because when she succeeded, others also saw her succeed; with Kel, when she succeeded, others saw her fail. Kel's successes weren't considered legitimate in the eyes of the men (and some women) who wanted her to fail, and so the rugged determination borne from success in Alanna's case actually had to come from somewhere deeper for Kel. While Alanna's story will probably always be my favorite of Tamora Pierce's, Keladry's contains a more nuanced look at gender relations, particularly at the emotional level, and illustrates Tamora Pierce's growth as a writer.