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chicks unravel time

I’m back in Australia, and some time in the next couple of days I’ll get around to blogging about my last few days in Japan.

But at this moment, I want to jump streams and casually mention that Chicks Unravel Time has been nominated for a Hugo Award!

We’re nominated for Best Related Work, and there’s some stiff competition.  For one thing, we’re up against Chicks Dig Comics, which is from the same publisher, has some overlap in contributors, and is probably an excellent book in its own right.  (I haven’t read it, which is shameful, but have you seen my to-read pile?  I’ll get to it some time in 2015, I’m sure.)

According to my handy random number generator, the winner of a free signed copy of Chicks Unravel Time is…

Number 13!

Number 13!

 

…the thirteenth commenter, Avendya!

If you can drop me an email, or DM me on Dreamwidth, with your mailing address, I’ll send that out to you on Wednesday!  Congratulations!

Not pictured: MY FACE

IN THE PAPERY FLESH

You know what’s pretty exciting?  Holding a book that contains stuff you wrote.  Maybe you get used to that after a few books, I don’t know.  Wouldn’t mind finding out, but at the same time, this is pretty awesome.

You know what’s even better?  Holding a book that contains stuff you wrote … and knowing it’s full of EVEN BETTER THINGS.

So while I was at ChicagoTARDIS I got the other contributors present to sign a copy.  And now I’m giving it away!

WHAT: One copy of Chicks Unravel Time autographed by editors Deborah Stanish and LM Myles, cover artist Katy Shuttleworth, and contributers Lynne M Thomas and, um, me.

HOW: Leave a comment to this entry, describing one thing you love about Doctor Who.  For example, “I love Doctor Who because Jo Grant is funny and clever and I think she’s very underrated as a feminist companion,” or, “I love Doctor Who because bow ties are cool.”

WHEN:  I’ll choose and announce the winner next Saturday, a week from now.

OTHER RULES:

  1. I’ll ship anywhere that Australia Post will let me.
  2. Winner will be selected by a random number generator.
  3. Entries that put down some other aspect of the series will be disqualified.  For example, “I love Doctor Who because Amy Pond is useful and clever, not like those other companions,” or, “I love new Doctor Who because it has actual characters instead of screaming women in miniskirts.”  That stuff just makes me a bit cross.

Deb Stanish and L M Myles, editors of Chicks Unravel Time — hey, I’m in that, remember? — were interviewed over the weekend by Radio Free Skaro, which instantly became the very first podcast I listened to.

At one point, discussion arises as to whether CUT is specifically a feminist book, and the editors disagreed.  Deb said that just because a book is written by women, it isn’t automatically feminist.  LMM pointed out that simply “talking about Doctor Who” has traditionally been a masculine activity — there have always been women in the fandom, but books of criticism about the series have very rarely featured women’s voices.

In a desperate attempt to suck up to both editors at once, I’ve been flipping back and forth all day.

See, I agree with Deb that merely being written by a woman doesn’t make a work feminist … but then I find myself thinking, no, but the act of writing itself might be.

And I agree with LMM that discourse about Doctor Who has been traditionally male-dominated (to say nothing of the show itself, which has had shockingly few female writers, directors and producers).    On the other hand, the Aussiecon panels in 2004 amply demonstrated that just because a woman is talking about Doctor Who, she isn’t necessarily saying feminist things.

(This is to say nothing of the many other misogynistic ideas that I’ve seen women in fandom promote — that Amy’s worth is defined by the length of her skirts; that marriage makes River and Amy worthless; that it was a feminist act for Rose to discard every aspect of her life that didn’t revolve around the Doctor; and so on, and on, and on.)

Well, I thought, as I pottered around making tea, I know my essay didn’t have an explicitly feminist agenda.

Sure, said the other part of my brain, it’s just about how season 17 was badly received by male fans because it was driven to a large extent by female characters.  And then you start writing about the Countess Scarlioni’s personality instead of her looks, which has never been done before.  And your general “Romana is the Doctor” agenda.

Goodo, then!  Pats on the back for me!

And, of course, feminism is a broad church.  I have a friend who thinks all sex work is exploitation, and another who has featured in feminist porn.  I know pro-life feminists and feminists who think that’s a contradiction in terms.  Fandom is full of women who seem to have very serious feminist objections to the existence of mothers, although personally I suspect that’s more about their psychology than feminism.

I don’t think Catherine Deveny’s writing is especially feminist, except occasionally by accident, but I have friends who worship her.  Someone out there thinks Germaine Greer and Helen Razer are relevant.  Personally I draw the line at feminists who limit the concept to cis, white, able-bodied women, and everything else, maybe I’ll disagree, but it’s not a life or death issue.

Incidentally, “feminism” doesn’t look like a word anymore.

SO, IN CONCLUSION, I’m fairly optimistic that CUT will be regarded by some people as a great feminist work, and by others as an abomination unto Nuggan.  (The same day it was announced, a post went up on Tumblr decrying the use of “chicks” in the title, so odds are good.)  And I have to say, I’m eager to see how the debate plays out.

Chicks Unravel Time. It’s a book. That I’m in.

I’m super-excited and proud to announce that I have an essay in Chicks Unravel Time (Mad Norwegian Press, edited by Deb Stanish and L M Myles), a look at every season of Doctor Who from a female perspective.  Other contributors include Barbara Hambly (so I know what my mum will REALLY be excited about), Joan Frances Turner, and Diana Gabaldon, so I’m in totally august company.

I got to write about season 17, and the way its reputation has been rehabilitated since it first aired.  You may ask, “How can a season that was script edited by Douglas Adams and included Daleks, Paris and a guys in bull masks and platform shoes get a reputation for being bad?”  And I say, “I DON’T EVEN KNOW!  But it’s surprisingly good despite budget problems and general behind-the-scenes shenanigans, and is driven by relationships and women in a way that people generally don’t expect of Classic Who.”

Then I talk about Nick and Nora Charles and get in a reference to Sherlock and a dig at Adric.