Daily Archives: May 14, 2008

A Choice Selection of YA Tidbits

SF Signal, following up on the various discussions on Young Adult SF/F, asks various members of the sf/f community to suggest YA books for adult readers. Interestingly, I and Patrick Nielsen Hayden, my editor at Tor, offered up the same suggestion, for largely the same reasons. It’s like we have similar tastes in books! And now we know why he bought my book.

In the thread for the entry, there’s this cranky comment, from Jonathan McCalmont:

Yet another part of YA’s Glorious Five Year Plan to convince all adult SFF readers to buy books marketed at kids.

I’m starting to feel man-handled. Every morning I check my feed reader and the night has born the fruit of some corner of the SFF blogosphere wondering why I’m not reading YA, why I’m not respecting YA and why I’m not reading YA right NOW instead of writing this comment.

If ever a blogosphere hobby horse was in need of a backlash it’s this one.

Mr. McCalmont misapprehends the situation here, I think. YA doesn’t need adult SF readers (it’s got more than enough readers as it is) and I don’t actually suspect most YA editors and publishers care whether adult SF/F readers pick up their books; it’s a bonus if they do, but otherwise, eh. The reason people are talking about YA is not a top-down master plan by publishers, but a bottom-up discussion among the sf/f community about whether it is missing vital sf/f work simply because it’s shelved somewhere else in a bookstore than where adult sf/f readers usually go.

YA is literally the dark matter of the sf/f reader universe, an analogy that is especially apt since, just as there is more dark matter than “regular” matter in our universe, so too do the sales of YA sf/f dwarf the sales of adult sf/f. I don’t think it’s a horrible thing to shine a light on what we might be missing, and possibly to our own detriment, both as individual readers and as a community.

An Easy Choice Considering How Much He Looks Like Emperor Palpatine

The Pope (via the Vatican’s head astronomer) says that believing that alien life could exist elsewhere does not conflict with the Catholic faith:

The Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, was quoted as saying the vastness of the universe means it is possible there could be other forms of life outside Earth, even intelligent ones.

“How can we rule out that life may have developed elsewhere?” Funes said. “Just as we consider earthly creatures as ‘a brother,’ and ‘sister,’ why should we not talk about an ‘extraterrestrial brother’? It would still be part of creation.”

In the interview by the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Funes said that such a notion “doesn’t contradict our faith” because aliens would still be God’s creatures. Ruling out the existence of aliens would be like “putting limits” on God’s creative freedom, he said.

It looks like science fiction’s secret plan to place copies of The Sparrow randomly around the Vatican finally paid off!

Glorious, Gynoparadisiacal West Virginia

Poor, rural, working-class white folks in Appalachia didn’t vote for the rich urban former law professor senator from Chicago. They went for the rich urban former law professor senator born in Chicago instead. But since the vote went so overwhelmingly in one direction rather than the other, and rich urban former law professor senators with Chicago ties are otherwise largely interchangeable, there has to be another controlling factor here. I can’t think what it might be, though. Maybe it will come to me if I think about it.

Oh, wait, I know now. Poor, rural, working-class white folks from Appalachia wanted to strike a blow for feminism. Well, way to go, West Virginia! You’ve certainly done that. And now, clearly, you’ve shown that you’re the most feminist state in all the union.

And to think they once said it couldn’t happen there! They said that poor, rural, working-class folk such as yourself could never vote for a woman to be a presidential nominee, barring something being monstrously and unspeakably wrong with her opponent, perhaps at the genetic level. Well, you showed them, West Virginia. You showed them all.

Your reward is to have Gloria Steinem build a summer home in your borders, possibly in Mingo County, which, with a vote that went 88% for Clinton — a staggering 11 times what Obama got in that county — is inarguably the single most feminist-friendly county in the entire state. Heck, Gloria’s got the U-Haul ready; maybe she’ll live there all the time now. Maybe she’ll bring her friends. Quick, have the menfolk bake a welcoming apple pie. Tell them not to skimp on the cinnamon. You know men. Always skimping, they are.

I’m so proud of you, West Virginia, you glorious feminist paradise, you.