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October 18, 2010

Shakespeare was totally gay (or maybe bi)

The whole piece is worth reading. Shakespeare's sonnets by Don Paterson | Culture | The Guardian
However, the question: "was Shakespeare gay?" strikes me as so daft as to be barely worth answering. Of course he was. Arguably he was bisexual, of sorts, but his heart was never on his straight side. Now is not the time to rehearse them all, but the arguments against his homosexuality are complex and sophistical, and often take convenient and homophobic advantage of the sonnets' built-in interpretative slippage – which Shakespeare himself would have needed for what we would now call "plausible deniability", should anyone have felt inclined to cry sodomy. The argument in favour is simple. First, falling in love with other men is often a good indication of homosexuality; and second, as much as I love some of my male friends, I'm never going to write 126 poems for them, even the dead ones. Third, read the poems, then tell me these are "pure expressions of love for a male friend" and keep a straight face. This is a crazy, all-consuming, feverish and sweaty love; love, in all its uncut, full-strength intensity; an adolescent love. The reader's thrill lies in hearing this adolescent love articulated by a hyper-literate thirty-something. Usually these kids can't speak. The effect is extraordinary: they are not poems that are much use when we're actually in love, I'd suggest; but when we read them, they are so visceral in their invocation of that mad, obsessive, sleepless place that we can again feel, as CK Williams said, "the old heart stamping in its stall".

October 14, 2010

William Gibson says: "The future... you're soaking in it."

BBC News - William Gibson says the future is right here, right now
"The present is really of no width whatever," he said. Given that, he said, it was becoming hard to use the tricks employed by earlier generations of science fiction writers, which involved extrapolating current technology trends to see where they would go. Doing this with current technologies was impossible because real world events were likely to overtake anything a writer could conceive long before a book was finished and on the shop shelves.... Realising how things were speeding up made Mr Gibson take a conscious decision to recalibrate what he described as his sense of "contemporary weirdness" that fuels his writing. "By the time I had finished my sixth novel I had this nagging sense that my yardstick of contemporary weirdness was really an 80s yardstick," he said. "There's a sense in which I need the formal official metric unit of contemporary weirdness in order to know how much I can successfully expand that and induce science fiction's characteristic cognitive dissonance in the reader. "What I actually found was that this contemporary weirdness was incredibly expansive and the deeper I looked into it the weirder it got," he said. ... The rapid pace of change of the present day could also spell curtains for the central idea of the three cyberpunk books, Neuromancer, Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive, the "consensual hallucination" of cyberspace. "Cyberspace is colonising what we used to think of as the real world," he said. "I think that our grandchildren will probably regard the distinction we make between what we call the real world and what they think of as simply the world as the quaintest and most incomprehensible thing about us." "The prefix cyber is going the way of the prefix electro," he said.

October 11, 2010

The Strong Female Character flowchart

A really great chart that illustrates all the ways your female characters can quickly become two dimensional caricatures. Click through to see it, because it is huuuuge. The Female Character Flowchart | Overthinking It

October 08, 2010

Photo: How JK Rowling plots a book