1) Jess Nevins finds some fascinating portrayals of robots in the 1920s. I think Robot Madam is the best.

2) Apex Magazine’s editor fantastique Catherynne Valente has announced that the November issue will focus on stories and poetry from Muslim and Arab perspectives. “It will show how Islam is as much a part of the human experience as any other faith or story system that writers of the fantastic draw from,” she says. The focus is in response to Elizabeth Moon’s recent diatribe about 9/11 and the Muslim cultural center being planned in Manhattan.
3) Charlie Stross discusses why he will never, ever write high fantasy. I completely agree with the problems he sees with doctrinaire fantasy, but I think that makes it a ripe target for messing with, for making new stories that push against the monarchical model and still make compelling, exciting tales. And I can’t guess why his alt-history proposal might not be interesting in 2002.
5) A Devastator is no substitute for narrative process: Paul Jessup lays out an argument for video games having an effect on our apprehension of narrativity itself. I find the argument compelling, but I don’t think it’s all about the way narrative works. Why do we engage it in this way, and what factors (cultural, social, political-economic, aesthetic) condition how these participatory narratives are used? This sent me diving into the syllabus for my fandoms class, to look at a few things I had in the archive about fantasy and displacement.
6) A hilarious chapbook for charity, based on one of the strangest pieces of geek art in recent memory. I downloaded it and made a small donation, and so far it’s a lot of fun!
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