ann_leckie: (AJ)

Hey, you! Yeah, you. Wanna read an excerpt from Provenance?

Yeah, you can do that right here.

It’s round about the first half of the first chapter, actually.

I hope you enjoy it!

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

ann_leckie: (AJ)

So, I’ll start this out with a disclaimer: Adagio contacted me and offered to give me some tea for free if I would review it on Twitter. I am not one to turn down free tea, and I already buy tea from Adagio more or less regularly. And they’re the home of the Imperial Radch Tea Blends, so.

I had a gift certificate to work with, so I actually got three things–one that’s already a favorite, one that wasn’t the sort of thing I usually get but what the heck, and one that I threw in on impulse before I checked out.

I’m not much of a white tea fan. I mean, I don’t dislike it, but it’s usually been not my fave–usually it just tastes like faintly leafy hot water to me. But I got a sample of a white tea with my Manual Tea Maker No 1, and either that tea was particularly good and/or the gaiwan style brewing really brought some nice flavor out. So I’d been meaning to try another white tea in the Manual and see what I thought.

This is Adagio’s White Symphony. The flavor is very delicate–I found I got best results using a touch more than I would have for another kind of tea. I tried it just in an infuser for 3 minutes, and then I tried it in the Manual. It definitely stands up to multiple steeps, but it wasn’t noticeably more interesting in the Manual. This is also the first tea that I’ve found doesn’t do well with my tap water. I was unhappy with the first cup, which was the old “faintly leafy hot water” thing. Then I tried using filtered water and the results were much better. It tasted like a very delicate tea, instead of hot water pretending to be tea. Seems like my problem with white tea might be more about my tap water, and I’m looking forward to drinking more of this one.

This is the sort of thing you’d sip and think about how it tastes. It is not, IMO, a great choice for a hearty cuppa, or for waking up in the morning.

This is Adagio’s Fujian Baroque. It’s a reliable favorite of mine. It has a sort-of-maybe sweet, faintly almost-chocolatey flavor, with no astringency. If you find ordinary grocery store orange pekoe or black tea too bitter or astringent, you might want to give this a shot. This is one of a couple of black teas I try to keep around. (The other is PG tips, because sometimes you just want a strong milky hit of tea.) I personally wouldn’t put milk or sugar in this, but I do find that it’s a good first-thing-in-the-morning tea.

And the third tea!

This is Chestnut flavored tea. I was clicking around and saw some reviews for this. The idea struck me as somewhat improbable, and by and large I’m not that much into flavored teas, but the reviews were good, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong throwing a sample package into my order. It’s really nice! It has a sort of toasty, nutty flavor that complements the black tea really well. I will certainly add this into my regular rotation, because I like it a lot.

(Adagio has one or two improbably flavored teas–I ordered some Artichoke back when it was available and…it was odd. But I read the reviews–it had its fans. Also Cucumber White, which I used in one of my blends. That was interesting, and actually maybe I need to revisit it now that I’ve discovered that white tea is better with filtered water.)

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

ann_leckie: (AJ)

So, there’s a thing I’d been kind of thinking about for the past couple weeks, and it seems to me that it’s kind of become relevant in a really horrible way.

At one point, a few weeks ago, someone in my hearing made the observation that the Nazis had so utterly failed to have human empathy that they might be considered more human-shaped machines than real human beings. I took polite issue with the statement at the time. I will take more public, emphatic issue with it now.

Here’s the thing–the Nazis? Those concentration camp guards, the people who dug and filled in mass graves, led prisoners to gas chambers, all of that? They were not inhuman monsters. They were human beings, and they weren’t most of them that different from anyone you might meet on your morning walk, or in the grocery store.

I know it’s really super uncomfortable to look around you and realize that–that your neighbors, or even you, yourself, might, given circumstances, commit such atrocities. Your mind flinches from it, you don’t want to even think about it. It can’t be. You know that you’re a good person! Your neighbors and co-workers are so nice and polite and decent. You can’t even imagine it, so there must have been something special, something particularly different about the people who enthusiastically embraced Hitler.

I’m here to tell you there wasn’t.

I’m quite certain those people who committed terrible atrocities were very nice to each other! Super polite and nice to other good Aryan citizens of the Reich, and certainly to their families. Of course they were! They were perfectly nice human beings.

It wasn’t that they were incapable of empathy, of any human feeling. It was more a matter of where they drew the boundaries of that empathy.

Remember that the next time you find yourself saying “I’m not racist, it’s just…” or “I’m not racist, but…” because that just and that but are where the borders of your own empathy lie. And maybe you’re okay with those being the boundaries–but, look, when someone calls you on that, don’t try to pretend it’s not there.

We’ve most of us learned the first part of the lesson really well–the Nazis were horrible! Racism is bad!–without having learned the next part of the lesson: no one thinks they’re a villain, not even Nazis. After all, those Jews were a real threat to the Aryan race! They had to do what they did.

No one thinks they’re racist, because racists are bad, and I’m not bad! I’m a good, decent person. It’s just that….

Yeah. Right.

Think about that. I’m not just talking to folks who were willing to vote for a flagrantly racist, willfully ignorant, obviously unqualified and unstable narcissist for president for what they keep insisting were totally not racist reasons. I’m also talking to folks who are dismayed to see said incompetent unstable narcissist set to take office but who say everyone should calm down, it won’t be that bad. Because this is the USA, not freaking Germany.

There was nothing special about the German people, nothing supernaturally evil about Hitler. They were all human beings, and it can happen here, and it’s far more likely to happen here if we pretend otherwise, because it’s the thing you won’t look at about yourself that will lead you right over the cliff you keep insisting isn’t really there, all the while you’re tumbling to the rocks below.

Stop telling yourself it can’t happen here. (A registry for Muslims? With maybe some kind of ID so we know who all the Muslims are? Totally reasonable, totally un-racist, and after all we’re Americans, so it’ll all be fine.)

(Read that thread)

Stop acting as though calling some action “racist” is beyond the pale, unthinkably horrible to do to someone. Stop assuming that the people you know and talk to everyday can’t be racist because after all they’re so polite to you. Stop assuming that “racist” means “inhuman monster.” The end result of doing this is to make it impossible to call anyone or anything racist that isn’t cross-burning, actual lynching, Nazi-levels of racism. And sometimes not even then, as we’ve seen in recent weeks.

Which makes it impossible to do anything about racism–prevent it, address it, anything. Even in ourselves. Especially in ourselves. Which allows it to grow unchecked.

It can happen here. Flagrant racists are often very polite and decent people (so long as you’re white). The worst monsters of history were not inhuman monsters. They were all too human.

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

ann_leckie: (AJ)

So, there’s a thing I’d been kind of thinking about for the past couple weeks, and it seems to me that it’s kind of become relevant in a really horrible way.

At one point, a few weeks ago, someone in my hearing made the observation that the Nazis had so utterly failed to have human empathy that they might be considered more human-shaped machines than real human beings. I took polite issue with the statement at the time. I will take more public, emphatic issue with it now.

Here’s the thing–the Nazis? Those concentration camp guards, the people who dug and filled in mass graves, led prisoners to gas chambers, all of that? They were not inhuman monsters. They were human beings, and they weren’t most of them that different from anyone you might meet on your morning walk, or in the grocery store.

I know it’s really super uncomfortable to look around you and realize that–that your neighbors, or even you, yourself, might, given circumstances, commit such atrocities. Your mind flinches from it, you don’t want to even think about it. It can’t be. You know that you’re a good person! Your neighbors and co-workers are so nice and polite and decent. You can’t even imagine it, so there must have been something special, something particularly different about the people who enthusiastically embraced Hitler.

I’m here to tell you there wasn’t.

I’m quite certain those people who committed terrible atrocities were very nice to each other! Super polite and nice to other good Aryan citizens of the Reich, and certainly to their families. Of course they were! They were perfectly nice human beings.

It wasn’t that they were incapable of empathy, of any human feeling. It was more a matter of where they drew the boundaries of that empathy.

Remember that the next time you find yourself saying “I’m not racist, it’s just…” or “I’m not racist, but…” because that just and that but are where the borders of your own empathy lie. And maybe you’re okay with those being the boundaries–but, look, when someone calls you on that, don’t try to pretend it’s not there.

We’ve most of us learned the first part of the lesson really well–the Nazis were horrible! Racism is bad!–without having learned the next part of the lesson: no one thinks they’re a villain, not even Nazis. After all, those Jews were a real threat to the Aryan race! They had to do what they did.

No one thinks they’re racist, because racists are bad, and I’m not bad! I’m a good, decent person. It’s just that….

Yeah. Right.

Think about that. I’m not just talking to folks who were willing to vote for a flagrantly racist, willfully ignorant, obviously unqualified and unstable narcissist for president for what they keep insisting were totally not racist reasons. I’m also talking to folks who are dismayed to see said incompetent unstable narcissist set to take office but who say everyone should calm down, it won’t be that bad. Because this is the USA, not freaking Germany.

There was nothing special about the German people, nothing supernaturally evil about Hitler. They were all human beings, and it can happen here, and it’s far more likely to happen here if we pretend otherwise, because it’s the thing you won’t look at about yourself that will lead you right over the cliff you keep insisting isn’t really there, all the while you’re tumbling to the rocks below.

Stop telling yourself it can’t happen here. (A registry for Muslims? With maybe some kind of ID so we know who all the Muslims are? Totally reasonable, totally un-racist, and after all we’re Americans, so it’ll all be fine.)

(Read that thread)

Stop acting as though calling some action “racist” is beyond the pale, unthinkably horrible to do to someone. Stop assuming that the people you know and talk to everyday can’t be racist because after all they’re so polite to you. Stop assuming that “racist” means “inhuman monster.” The end result of doing this is to make it impossible to call anyone or anything racist that isn’t cross-burning, actual lynching, Nazi-levels of racism. And sometimes not even then, as we’ve seen in recent weeks.

Which makes it impossible to do anything about racism–prevent it, address it, anything. Even in ourselves. Especially in ourselves. Which allows it to grow unchecked.

It can happen here. Flagrant racists are often very polite and decent people (so long as you’re white). The worst monsters of history were not inhuman monsters. They were all too human.

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

ann_leckie: (AJ)

As the title says, I’m safe home again from my epic voyage to Kansas City, and my plans for today involve a lot of tea and mindless Netflix. But I thought I’d check in and say a few words about how my WorldCon went.

Well, first off, HOW ABOUT THOSE HUGOS! I’ll be straight with y’all, I have been rooting for The Fifth Season to win because it is a fabulous book. Several times I considered posting here to say so. In the end I decided it wasn’t a good idea, but in individual conversations I did say it. I mean, look, I’m really proud of Ancillary Mercy. And by the way, I am honored and seriously touched by the folks who’ve told me they put it first on their ballots and who hoped for it to win the Hugo. I have the best readers. I really do. And I would have been genuinely happy for any of the finalists had they walked away with the rocket rather than me, or Nora.

But The Fifth Season. Y’all, since I started voting for the Hugos I’ve found that very often there’s a particular book in the novel category. I mean, you read them, you read one and it’s like “yeah, this is good, I see why it’s there.” And you read the next. “Yeah, this is really really good.” Sometimes not to my taste, right? But good. Another one. “This is good too! It’s going to be difficult to rank these.” And then you hit that one. “Oh. Right. This is the winner.” This year, in my personal opinion, The Fifth Season was that book. I actually shouted “Yes!” when the result was announced. Because. I mean.

And it was a lovely night pretty much all around. I got to meet an astronaut! There were actually TWO REAL ASTRONAUTS there and I can’t even. Some lovely acceptance speeches, particularly Nora’s. And someone suggested to me afterward that Neil Gaiman maybe could have been more direct, instead of soft-pedaling his opinion. (Just kidding, I found his brief speech entirely delightful.) I got to meet Zoe Quinn, who is fabulous! I went to GRRM’s afterparty!

I’m telling my WorldCon backwards! Well, only kind of. My last con thing was a panel on Sunday afternoon with Geoffrey Landis. There were supposed to be more panelists, but in the end it was just the two of us, dealing with the question “Can hard science fiction be too hard?” which is honestly a nonsense question that misses the point, but it was a great start to just riff on, and we had a great time talking and there were wonderful contributions from the audience, and it went swimmingly.

Lieutenant Awn Elming Memorial Park was a success! I arrived on Wednesday afternoon with the 19 year old, and we decorated it up and arranged things and whatnot, and set out buttons and pins and ribbons for folks to take, and I tried to spend some time there every day so folks knew where they could find me. This was particularly important since I didn’t have a scheduled signing. That’s not a criticism of the con, I’m pretty sure scheduling all that sort of thing is pretty hair-raising and I wouldn’t do it for a million dollars, and there were lots of folks who wanted and deserved signing slots and very likely fewer spaces in the schedule than would accommodate all of us. But it did make things awkward for folks who wanted books signed but who didn’t want to accost me in the hallway. Anyway, the park was a place I could be available and talk to folks and sign things.

It was also a place where folks could play a hand or two of Cards Against Significant Species. Seriously, one of my awesome readers brought an actual customized deck and it sat there in the park and people played it (including me) and enjoyed the heck out of it. There was also a cosplayer! They were Lieutenant Tisarwat on Thursday (complete with purple contact lenses!), Anaander Mianaai on Friday, and Breq (with mourning stripe!) on Saturday. JUST SUPER AWESOME. I had also put out some pens and post-its with the vague, barely formed idea that maybe people might want to leave a note (for me, for someone else, for themselves, whatever) and that turned into post-its appearing on the park sign and the park’s NO FISHING sign, with truly delightful (and occasionally warring) messages. The string of different Anaander Mianaais who declared the park annexed, for instance, made me laugh. I have pictures of all of it, but have not uploaded them from my phone. Some of them have already been posted to Tumblr.

I would really like to thank MidAmericon for the whole park thing. It was a great idea, and it worked out particularly well for me. Partly because I was driving and could pack my car full of silly stuff to put out, but also it was just nice to have that place to sit down and chat.

I did the writers workshop on Friday, by the way, and I so enjoyed that. Rachel Swirsky and I did the same session and the…students, I guess? The students were great and I really enjoyed meeting them and talking to them about fiction–theirs, and in general. I have no doubt we’ll be hearing more from them in the future.

I also did my first ever kaffeklatch! Well, first as the person people were there to see, not as a fan. That was a lot of fun, and I so enjoyed meeting everyone and having a chance to just chat and answer questions.

So, basically, my con was awesome. Everything went really well, everything turned out either as I had hoped or well beyond what I could have reasonably wished for, and everything I was involved in was well-run and the folks I worked with or who I had cause to ask for information or assistance were super helpful. The couple of negative occurrences I heard about appear to have been dealt with quickly and appropriately. I had a great time. If I didn’t get to see you, I am sorry I missed you! If I did–I’m so glad we got a chance to hang out!

I could probably continue to enthuse, but the fact is, I’m exhausted. I’ve been basically “on” since Wednesday evening, and while I love love love meeting people and hanging out with new and old friends, it does take energy. (Yes, like many writers, I am a serious introvert.) And I did three panels yesterday on about four hours of sleep and then promptly jumped in my car and drove all the way across the state. So, after the four or five days of fun and partying, it is time for me to spend a day or so drinking tea and watching Midsomer Murders, because that’s about as much concentration as I’m going to manage for a bit.

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

ann_leckie: (AJ)

As the title says, I’m safe home again from my epic voyage to Kansas City, and my plans for today involve a lot of tea and mindless Netflix. But I thought I’d check in and say a few words about how my WorldCon went.

Well, first off, HOW ABOUT THOSE HUGOS! I’ll be straight with y’all, I have been rooting for The Fifth Season to win because it is a fabulous book. Several times I considered posting here to say so. In the end I decided it wasn’t a good idea, but in individual conversations I did say it. I mean, look, I’m really proud of Ancillary Mercy. And by the way, I am honored and seriously touched by the folks who’ve told me they put it first on their ballots and who hoped for it to win the Hugo. I have the best readers. I really do. And I would have been genuinely happy for any of the finalists had they walked away with the rocket rather than me, or Nora.

But The Fifth Season. Y’all, since I started voting for the Hugos I’ve found that very often there’s a particular book in the novel category. I mean, you read them, you read one and it’s like “yeah, this is good, I see why it’s there.” And you read the next. “Yeah, this is really really good.” Sometimes not to my taste, right? But good. Another one. “This is good too! It’s going to be difficult to rank these.” And then you hit that one. “Oh. Right. This is the winner.” This year, in my personal opinion, The Fifth Season was that book. I actually shouted “Yes!” when the result was announced. Because. I mean.

And it was a lovely night pretty much all around. I got to meet an astronaut! There were actually TWO REAL ASTRONAUTS there and I can’t even. Some lovely acceptance speeches, particularly Nora’s. And someone suggested to me afterward that Neil Gaiman maybe could have been more direct, instead of soft-pedaling his opinion. (Just kidding, I found his brief speech entirely delightful.) I got to meet Zoe Quinn, who is fabulous! I went to GRRM’s afterparty!

I’m telling my WorldCon backwards! Well, only kind of. My last con thing was a panel on Sunday afternoon with Geoffrey Landis. There were supposed to be more panelists, but in the end it was just the two of us, dealing with the question “Can hard science fiction be too hard?” which is honestly a nonsense question that misses the point, but it was a great start to just riff on, and we had a great time talking and there were wonderful contributions from the audience, and it went swimmingly.

Lieutenant Awn Elming Memorial Park was a success! I arrived on Wednesday afternoon with the 19 year old, and we decorated it up and arranged things and whatnot, and set out buttons and pins and ribbons for folks to take, and I tried to spend some time there every day so folks knew where they could find me. This was particularly important since I didn’t have a scheduled signing. That’s not a criticism of the con, I’m pretty sure scheduling all that sort of thing is pretty hair-raising and I wouldn’t do it for a million dollars, and there were lots of folks who wanted and deserved signing slots and very likely fewer spaces in the schedule than would accommodate all of us. But it did make things awkward for folks who wanted books signed but who didn’t want to accost me in the hallway. Anyway, the park was a place I could be available and talk to folks and sign things.

It was also a place where folks could play a hand or two of Cards Against Significant Species. Seriously, one of my awesome readers brought an actual customized deck and it sat there in the park and people played it (including me) and enjoyed the heck out of it. There was also a cosplayer! They were Lieutenant Tisarwat on Thursday (complete with purple contact lenses!), Anaander Mianaai on Friday, and Breq (with mourning stripe!) on Saturday. JUST SUPER AWESOME. I had also put out some pens and post-its with the vague, barely formed idea that maybe people might want to leave a note (for me, for someone else, for themselves, whatever) and that turned into post-its appearing on the park sign and the park’s NO FISHING sign, with truly delightful (and occasionally warring) messages. The string of different Anaander Mianaais who declared the park annexed, for instance, made me laugh. I have pictures of all of it, but have not uploaded them from my phone. Some of them have already been posted to Tumblr.

I would really like to thank MidAmericon for the whole park thing. It was a great idea, and it worked out particularly well for me. Partly because I was driving and could pack my car full of silly stuff to put out, but also it was just nice to have that place to sit down and chat.

I did the writers workshop on Friday, by the way, and I so enjoyed that. Rachel Swirsky and I did the same session and the…students, I guess? The students were great and I really enjoyed meeting them and talking to them about fiction–theirs, and in general. I have no doubt we’ll be hearing more from them in the future.

I also did my first ever kaffeklatch! Well, first as the person people were there to see, not as a fan. That was a lot of fun, and I so enjoyed meeting everyone and having a chance to just chat and answer questions.

So, basically, my con was awesome. Everything went really well, everything turned out either as I had hoped or well beyond what I could have reasonably wished for, and everything I was involved in was well-run and the folks I worked with or who I had cause to ask for information or assistance were super helpful. The couple of negative occurrences I heard about appear to have been dealt with quickly and appropriately. I had a great time. If I didn’t get to see you, I am sorry I missed you! If I did–I’m so glad we got a chance to hang out!

I could probably continue to enthuse, but the fact is, I’m exhausted. I’ve been basically “on” since Wednesday evening, and while I love love love meeting people and hanging out with new and old friends, it does take energy. (Yes, like many writers, I am a serious introvert.) And I did three panels yesterday on about four hours of sleep and then promptly jumped in my car and drove all the way across the state. So, after the four or five days of fun and partying, it is time for me to spend a day or so drinking tea and watching Midsomer Murders, because that’s about as much concentration as I’m going to manage for a bit.

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

ann_leckie: (AJ)

This is a guest post by Rachel Swirsky:

Thanks to my friend, Ann, for letting me use her blog. I’m Rachel Swirsky, and some years ago, I wrote a short story called, “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love.” It rather upset some folks who have been raising great ruckus about it since. As a response, I’ve started a Making Lemons into Jokes campaign—a fundraiser through my patreon to benefit some of the people they’ve been nastiest toward, LGBTQIAA folks who are already at the bottom of a heap made of bullshit.

Since I’m here on Ann’s blog, I’ll point out that if we reach our $600 stretch goal, she and I, along with writers John Chu, Adam-Troy Castro, Ken Liu, Juliette Wade, and Alyssa Wong, will write a story together about dinosaurs. I really want this to happen, so I hope we reach the goal. We’ve got about a week left to go!

If you want the whole story behind the fundraiser, you can read it here– https://www.patreon.com/posts/posteriors-for-5477113. But here’s what I have to say today:

There’s advice I’ve heard all my life. You’ve probably heard it, too.

In elementary school, it was “ignore the bullies.” It never seemed to work.

These days, it’s “ignore the trolls.” (And let’s not mince words – trolls are just another kind of bully.) And it doesn’t work now, either.

Why? Because bullies don’t need you.

Bullies might enjoy it when you get angry, or cry, or whatever else they want you to do. They’re the kind of people who like that. It’s foreign to my personality, and I can’t understand it, but there it is. But they don’t need it. What they need is the laughing and baying of their own hounds. They’re showing off for each other, pissing on the trees to show just how terribly big they are.

This leads to the fundamental dichotomy of bullies.

First, that they are actually capable of doing damage. A dog crapping on the carpet still leaves crap on the carpet. And if they’re all crowding into your living room to crap on you, then that’s a lot of crap. Being covered in crap won’t break your bones, but it’s not nothing. Otherwise, a lot more people would spend their free time rolling around in crap. And sometimes they do bite—someone shows up with a gun at a gym or a hair salon, or brags on a message board about a murder that shows up later in the news, or makes a “performance art” video threatening to kill a woman and driving her out of her home.

But second, they’re ridiculous. I mean, really. The kind of people who think “I can crap on things and that makes me really important!!” are not serious people. They are somewhere on the scale from scabies to anthrax. You don’t really want to scratch all the time, and you certainly don’t want to take high-powered antibiotics, but it’s not like crabs who crawl through pubic hair are something you regard as impressive.

Sometimes we try to toggle those back and forth. Can lard the living room with crap versus hilarious clowns. But they’re both.

So, you do the same thing you do when the two-year-old pulls off her diaper and pees on the floor. You clean it up, and you laugh.

In elementary school, sometimes I’d turn around and face the bullies, and laugh at what they were saying. “You realize that’s not even a coherent insult, right?”

Bullies can hurt people. That’s what “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” is about, and perhaps why it makes bullies howl. But you know what else it’s done? It’s inspired hundreds of people to come to me and tell me about their experiences being bullied as kids or being hated as adults, being pummeled or harassed, and how they’ve moved past it. How “Dinosaur” has been cathartic for them, has helped them realize they aren’t alone.

Bullies aren’t the only ones who can travel in groups. We have our bonding and our strength. And at its best, it can be fun, and silly. It can destroy hatred with humor and positive energy. It can emphasize kindness and compassion. I believe in the power of humor, and I believe in the power of people clasping hands to help other people.

Don’t get me wrong. Humor won’t stop the bullies either. We’re always going to have to spend our time walking carefully around some amount of crap on the carpet. But humor reveals that the emperor is not only naked, but not even an emperor—as often as not, he’s some poor, pathetic exiled criminal, dreaming of ruling the world with an army of poltergeists and toddlers.

Don’t let them make us forget: they are morally weak, and they are outnumbered. And they’re hilarious.

Comments are closed on this entry.

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

ann_leckie: (AJ)

This is a guest post by Rachel Swirsky:

Thanks to my friend, Ann, for letting me use her blog. I’m Rachel Swirsky, and some years ago, I wrote a short story called, “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love.” It rather upset some folks who have been raising great ruckus about it since. As a response, I’ve started a Making Lemons into Jokes campaign—a fundraiser through my patreon to benefit some of the people they’ve been nastiest toward, LGBTQIAA folks who are already at the bottom of a heap made of bullshit.

Since I’m here on Ann’s blog, I’ll point out that if we reach our $600 stretch goal, she and I, along with writers John Chu, Adam-Troy Castro, Ken Liu, Juliette Wade, and Alyssa Wong, will write a story together about dinosaurs. I really want this to happen, so I hope we reach the goal. We’ve got about a week left to go!

If you want the whole story behind the fundraiser, you can read it here– https://www.patreon.com/posts/posteriors-for-5477113. But here’s what I have to say today:

There’s advice I’ve heard all my life. You’ve probably heard it, too.

In elementary school, it was “ignore the bullies.” It never seemed to work.

These days, it’s “ignore the trolls.” (And let’s not mince words – trolls are just another kind of bully.) And it doesn’t work now, either.

Why? Because bullies don’t need you.

Bullies might enjoy it when you get angry, or cry, or whatever else they want you to do. They’re the kind of people who like that. It’s foreign to my personality, and I can’t understand it, but there it is. But they don’t need it. What they need is the laughing and baying of their own hounds. They’re showing off for each other, pissing on the trees to show just how terribly big they are.

This leads to the fundamental dichotomy of bullies.

First, that they are actually capable of doing damage. A dog crapping on the carpet still leaves crap on the carpet. And if they’re all crowding into your living room to crap on you, then that’s a lot of crap. Being covered in crap won’t break your bones, but it’s not nothing. Otherwise, a lot more people would spend their free time rolling around in crap. And sometimes they do bite—someone shows up with a gun at a gym or a hair salon, or brags on a message board about a murder that shows up later in the news, or makes a “performance art” video threatening to kill a woman and driving her out of her home.

But second, they’re ridiculous. I mean, really. The kind of people who think “I can crap on things and that makes me really important!!” are not serious people. They are somewhere on the scale from scabies to anthrax. You don’t really want to scratch all the time, and you certainly don’t want to take high-powered antibiotics, but it’s not like crabs who crawl through pubic hair are something you regard as impressive.

Sometimes we try to toggle those back and forth. Can lard the living room with crap versus hilarious clowns. But they’re both.

So, you do the same thing you do when the two-year-old pulls off her diaper and pees on the floor. You clean it up, and you laugh.

In elementary school, sometimes I’d turn around and face the bullies, and laugh at what they were saying. “You realize that’s not even a coherent insult, right?”

Bullies can hurt people. That’s what “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” is about, and perhaps why it makes bullies howl. But you know what else it’s done? It’s inspired hundreds of people to come to me and tell me about their experiences being bullied as kids or being hated as adults, being pummeled or harassed, and how they’ve moved past it. How “Dinosaur” has been cathartic for them, has helped them realize they aren’t alone.

Bullies aren’t the only ones who can travel in groups. We have our bonding and our strength. And at its best, it can be fun, and silly. It can destroy hatred with humor and positive energy. It can emphasize kindness and compassion. I believe in the power of humor, and I believe in the power of people clasping hands to help other people.

Don’t get me wrong. Humor won’t stop the bullies either. We’re always going to have to spend our time walking carefully around some amount of crap on the carpet. But humor reveals that the emperor is not only naked, but not even an emperor—as often as not, he’s some poor, pathetic exiled criminal, dreaming of ruling the world with an army of poltergeists and toddlers.

Don’t let them make us forget: they are morally weak, and they are outnumbered. And they’re hilarious.

Comments are closed on this entry.

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

ann_leckie: (AJ)

I still have somewhat limited internet access–but I wanted to let you all know that on March 17 I’ll be at Pandemonium Books and Games (4 Pleasant Street Cambridge, MA 02139) from 7 to 11pm. I’ll also be at Vericon that weekend, but, seriously, come see me at Pandemonium!

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

ann_leckie: (AJ)

I still have somewhat limited internet access–but I wanted to let you all know that on March 17 I’ll be at Pandemonium Books and Games (4 Pleasant Street Cambridge, MA 02139) from 7 to 11pm. I’ll also be at Vericon that weekend, but, seriously, come see me at Pandemonium!

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

ann_leckie: (AJ)

So! This will have to be much shorter than I wanted it to be, since I got home from my fabulous week-long Scandinavia Mini-Tour last night, and this morning a bunch of heavy wet snow did something fatal to my internet access at home, so I’m typing this at a cafe.

Anyway! Over the last week I’ve been in Oslo, and in Stockholm! I visited Outland, where I talked to readers and signed books. I also visited the Oslo public library and was interviewed by Norwegian author and translator Ørjan Karlsson–and also got to answer questions from the audience. It was a wonderful time, and I had a blast! I did manage to get lost on at least one occasion, but that was okay, it just meant I saw more of Oslo than I would have otherwise. Thanks to all the folks who suggested I visit the Vigelandsparken, which was very unusual and cool. (It was on my way back from there that I got lost, so it was a day full of adventure!) At any rate, my stay in Oslo was great fun, I met wonderful people and had a lovely time. And Outland is a wonderful store, the folks in Oslo are super lucky!

Then I flew to Stockholm, so I could sign books at Science Fiction Bokhandeln. Which, it turns out, is also a wonderful bookstore! I met even more wonderful folks, signed a lot of books, answered questions, and generally had a great time. I also got to have supper with the two winners of a contest the store had held–the prize was having supper with me and a few other folks. Thanks, Anna and Anders! It was great to meet you and I really enjoyed getting to hang out with you.

I left both places loaded with gifts–mostly tea, Anna, I had some of the Earl Grey for breakfast this morning!–and had a chance to try new food (I think I need to see if the international grocery here carries brown cheese….) and just generally had a wonderful time. I really, really hope I have a chance to go back some time.

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

ann_leckie: (AJ)

So! This will have to be much shorter than I wanted it to be, since I got home from my fabulous week-long Scandinavia Mini-Tour last night, and this morning a bunch of heavy wet snow did something fatal to my internet access at home, so I’m typing this at a cafe.

Anyway! Over the last week I’ve been in Oslo, and in Stockholm! I visited Outland, where I talked to readers and signed books. I also visited the Oslo public library and was interviewed by Norwegian author and translator Ørjan Karlsson–and also got to answer questions from the audience. It was a wonderful time, and I had a blast! I did manage to get lost on at least one occasion, but that was okay, it just meant I saw more of Oslo than I would have otherwise. Thanks to all the folks who suggested I visit the Vigelandsparken, which was very unusual and cool. (It was on my way back from there that I got lost, so it was a day full of adventure!) At any rate, my stay in Oslo was great fun, I met wonderful people and had a lovely time. And Outland is a wonderful store, the folks in Oslo are super lucky!

Then I flew to Stockholm, so I could sign books at Science Fiction Bokhandeln. Which, it turns out, is also a wonderful bookstore! I met even more wonderful folks, signed a lot of books, answered questions, and generally had a great time. I also got to have supper with the two winners of a contest the store had held–the prize was having supper with me and a few other folks. Thanks, Anna and Anders! It was great to meet you and I really enjoyed getting to hang out with you.

I left both places loaded with gifts–mostly tea, Anna, I had some of the Earl Grey for breakfast this morning!–and had a chance to try new food (I think I need to see if the international grocery here carries brown cheese….) and just generally had a wonderful time. I really, really hope I have a chance to go back some time.

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

ann_leckie: (AJ)

So, out today is an anthology called Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Stories Inspired by Microsoft.

Check out the authors involved! Elizabeth Bear! Greg Bear! Jack McDevitt! Seanan McGuire! Wait, who’s this Ann Leckie person?

It’s me!

Yes, there’s a new, by me story in this anthology, which you can download starting today. There should be direct links to the various places you can download it, if you click on that link above. And, I know it says “near future” but honestly, near future isn’t really my preferred playground, so that’s not really what I gave them. But, you know, I had a good time writing it and I hope you enjoy it! And I don’t doubt you’ll enjoy the other stories.

Incidentally. While I was working on my story, I had my usual problems with titles. I finished the thing and was still casting around for a good title, and a friend of mine said, “Hey, why not look through Elise Matheson’s stuff!” Because Elise makes lovely jewelry and often gives it wonderful names. The names are half the fun, really–I’ve done a couple of her Haiku Earring Parties at Wiscon, where you pick up a pair of earrings off the table and Elise gives you a title. Grab an index card, write a haiku that fits that title, give that to Elise for her approval and the earrings are yours. It’s great fun.

Anyway. I scrolled through Elise’s shinies page. And I came across a pair of earrings called “Everything a World Can Hold.” Lovely title, right? Lovely earrings. It didn’t quite fit the story, but it was the best I could do. So I typed that across the top of the ms and sent it in, with a note that I wasn’t sure about the title and would be more than willing to entertain other suggestions.

The editor replied that he couldn’t wait to read the story, but he thought it was a fabulous title! Which it is, of course. Just maybe not for that particular story. The editor, once he’d read the story, admitted as much. After some discussion, we arrived at “Another Word for World.”

Oh, and I bought the earrings.

Anyway. Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Stories Inspired by Microsoft. Check it out!

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

ann_leckie: (AJ)

So, out today is an anthology called Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Stories Inspired by Microsoft.

Check out the authors involved! Elizabeth Bear! Greg Bear! Jack McDevitt! Seanan McGuire! Wait, who’s this Ann Leckie person?

It’s me!

Yes, there’s a new, by me story in this anthology, which you can download starting today. There should be direct links to the various places you can download it, if you click on that link above. And, I know it says “near future” but honestly, near future isn’t really my preferred playground, so that’s not really what I gave them. But, you know, I had a good time writing it and I hope you enjoy it! And I don’t doubt you’ll enjoy the other stories.

Incidentally. While I was working on my story, I had my usual problems with titles. I finished the thing and was still casting around for a good title, and a friend of mine said, “Hey, why not look through Elise Matheson’s stuff!” Because Elise makes lovely jewelry and often gives it wonderful names. The names are half the fun, really–I’ve done a couple of her Haiku Earring Parties at Wiscon, where you pick up a pair of earrings off the table and Elise gives you a title. Grab an index card, write a haiku that fits that title, give that to Elise for her approval and the earrings are yours. It’s great fun.

Anyway. I scrolled through Elise’s shinies page. And I came across a pair of earrings called “Everything a World Can Hold.” Lovely title, right? Lovely earrings. It didn’t quite fit the story, but it was the best I could do. So I typed that across the top of the ms and sent it in, with a note that I wasn’t sure about the title and would be more than willing to entertain other suggestions.

The editor replied that he couldn’t wait to read the story, but he thought it was a fabulous title! Which it is, of course. Just maybe not for that particular story. The editor, once he’d read the story, admitted as much. After some discussion, we arrived at “Another Word for World.”

Oh, and I bought the earrings.

Anyway. Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Stories Inspired by Microsoft. Check it out!

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

ann_leckie: (AJ)

One of the questions in it would be “Are you related to Robert Leckie?”

And the answer is, yes, I am. Just how exactly, I have no idea, though if I put some serious effort into it I could very likely find out.

“Leckie” is one of those names–anyone with that name is related to me in some way. So this answer goes for any other [X] Leckie you might be curious about–yes, I am related to them, though I may or may not know precisely how, or even know (until you mention them to me) that they exist.

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

ann_leckie: (AJ)

One of the questions in it would be “Are you related to Robert Leckie?”

And the answer is, yes, I am. Just how exactly, I have no idea, though if I put some serious effort into it I could very likely find out.

“Leckie” is one of those names–anyone with that name is related to me in some way. So this answer goes for any other [X] Leckie you might be curious about–yes, I am related to them, though I may or may not know precisely how, or even know (until you mention them to me) that they exist.

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

ann_leckie: (AJ)

Maybe you noticed a little while ago that this website was unreachable? Yeah, that’s because Orbit sent out a newsletter email letting subscribers know that if they’d pre-ordered Ancillary Mercy, they could fill out this form and get Chapters 2 & 3.

And the website was promptly overwhelmed. Y’all are the best! No, seriously. But I put up the Clockpunk Studios signal and because they’re so super awesome, they fixed things up. I will probably be beefing up my hosting plan sometime in the near future, but for now things should work okay.

Anyhow. The important part of this is–if you’ve pre-ordered Ancillary Mercy, you can read Chapters 2 & 3 by filling out this form.

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

ann_leckie: (AJ)

Regular readers already know about the “sign up for my newsletter, get Chapter One of Ancillary Mercy now” thing. But just in case, I’m going to post about it again. Lots of people at my reading Sunday, and at my signing, didn’t know about it. So.

Basically, if you sign up you’ll get emails maybe three or four times a year with information like upcoming releases, opportunities for pre-order goodies, or appearance dates.

And if you subscribe to it now, you’ll get access to all of Chapter 1 of Ancillary Mercy. Like, today.

So if that sounds good to you, enter your email below, and if everything works the way it should, that’ll end up with Chapter 1 being sent to the email you give.


BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE

Sometime soon–maybe the next week or two–you’ll be able to present proof of your having pre-ordered Ancillary Mercy and get (within a day or so, I understand) access to Chapters Two and Three! As soon as that form goes live I will blog about it here, so watch this space!

In the meantime, a few people have already read those first three chapters. Four lucky people at my reading in Spokane went home with pages. I hope they enjoyed them!

Also, if you’ve been following me on Tumblr, you know I had some swag made up. I gave out lots of it at Sasquan, so much that I actually ran myself out of Translator Dlique pins. I have ordered another batch. I plan to give them out in person over the next two months, and after October I’ll go back to listing Awn Elming pins, along with the Translator pins, in my Etsy store. The temp tattoos–they’re silver, there are two, one says “Justice of Toren” and the other says “One Esk 19”–are small enough that they’ll fit in a SASE, and I have a lot of them. So if you want some (and/or maybe if you want an autographed bookplate) send me a SASE with a note telling me you want tattoos (or a bookplate, or whatever) and I’ll pop a few in your envelope and drop it in the mail for you. (Address at the link–scroll down beneath the contact form.)

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

ann_leckie: (AJ)

Regular readers already know about the “sign up for my newsletter, get Chapter One of Ancillary Mercy now” thing. But just in case, I’m going to post about it again. Lots of people at my reading Sunday, and at my signing, didn’t know about it. So.

Basically, if you sign up you’ll get emails maybe three or four times a year with information like upcoming releases, opportunities for pre-order goodies, or appearance dates.

And if you subscribe to it now, you’ll get access to all of Chapter 1 of Ancillary Mercy. Like, today.

So if that sounds good to you, enter your email below, and if everything works the way it should, that’ll end up with Chapter 1 being sent to the email you give.


BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE

Sometime soon–maybe the next week or two–you’ll be able to present proof of your having pre-ordered Ancillary Mercy and get (within a day or so, I understand) access to Chapters Two and Three! As soon as that form goes live I will blog about it here, so watch this space!

In the meantime, a few people have already read those first three chapters. Four lucky people at my reading in Spokane went home with pages. I hope they enjoyed them!

Also, if you’ve been following me on Tumblr, you know I had some swag made up. I gave out lots of it at Sasquan, so much that I actually ran myself out of Translator Dlique pins. I have ordered another batch. I plan to give them out in person over the next two months, and after October I’ll go back to listing Awn Elming pins, along with the Translator pins, in my Etsy store. The temp tattoos–they’re silver, there are two, one says “Justice of Toren” and the other says “One Esk 19”–are small enough that they’ll fit in a SASE, and I have a lot of them. So if you want some (and/or maybe if you want an autographed bookplate) send me a SASE with a note telling me you want tattoos (or a bookplate, or whatever) and I’ll pop a few in your envelope and drop it in the mail for you. (Address at the link–scroll down beneath the contact form.)

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

ann_leckie: (astounding)

Scene: The bridge in the Japanese Garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The weather is warm and sunny. There are some HUMANS on the bridge throwing food pellets to an assortment of VERY LARGE CARP. Some DUCKS are competing for pellets. A TINY FUZZY DUCKLING swims into view.

VERY LARGE CARP: Gape, gape. Perhaps the humans on the bridge will continue to shower me with food pellets!

TINY FUZZY DUCKLING: Is this leaf good to eat? It is not. Is this small twig good to eat? It is not.

VERY LARGE CARP: Gape, gape.

TINY FUZZY DUCKLING: Perhaps this very large carp is good to eat!

HUMANS: Tiny fuzzy duckling! Your towering ambition delights and amazes us, but we fear for your safety!

VERY LARGE CARP: I am not good to eat, tiny fuzzy duckling. I may even bite you.

TINY FUZZY DUCKLING: Well, that was rude! I was only asking.

VERY LARGE CARP: Gape, gape.

TINY FUZZY DUCKLING: (sticks its head ALL THE WAY INTO THE CARP’S GAPING MAW) Perhaps something in here is good to eat!

HUMANS: Tiny Fuzzy Duckling! No!

TINY FUZZY DUCKLING: (examines the interior of the VERY LARGE CARP some more)

HUMANS: …

TINY FUZZY DUCKLING: No, nothing good to eat in there. Perhaps I will swim under the bridge.

HUMANS: Oh, Tiny Fuzzy Duckling, why did we not get out our cameras the moment you came on the scene? We’d have been heroes of youtube.

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

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