I spent a few hours at…

I spent a few hours at Borders, mostly working on a new article for an academic anthology, QUEER UNIVERSE: SEXUALITIES IN SCIENCE FICTION, ed. Wendy Pearson, Veronica Hollinger, and Joan Gordon. I'm doing a piece on gender/sexuality in Nalo Hopkinson's work -- it's a grand excuse to re-read all her work, and I even get a few free books out of it. Her publisher is sending me her new book, The Salt Roads, and hopefully also a copy of Brown Girl in the Ring (which I used to own, but which has inexplicably disappeared). In the interim, I've re-read and taken extensive notes on Midnight Robber, and I'm now a few stories into re-reading her Skin Folk collection.

This project is particularly fun because it's reminding me that Nalo is obsessed with many of the same subjects I am, and it's fascinating/illuminating to see the different approaches she takes.

Sample of my notes:

-- proposition: in her work, a juxtaposition of a traditional (European) marriage structure with a polyamorous/polygamous framework (?) How does this connect with modern common Afro-Caribbean practice? Reference "baby father" for example. status/honor/shame? community response? how does bisexuality, queerness, polyamory fit into modern cultural structures? Is her envisioned Toussaint/New Halfway-Tree meant to reflect our world or be an extrapolation?

-- consider the douen -- sharp division between douen and hinte genders; loss of flight when douen mature paralleled by hinte loss of speech (but it's not a real loss, since they can still communicate in speech + they get song-speech); no clear gender divisions in terms of what they're allowed to do; hinte masquerade as dumb pack-birds (why? what particular danger would they be in if they didn't? or is it simply a matter of preserving as many secrets as possible from the humans?)

At some point, this kind of note should turn into a coherent article. We hope. :-) It's going to be a hybrid interview/essay -- I'm not entirely sure how that'll work, but Nalo and I get along pretty well, so I think it'll all work out. :-)

(On a side note, it amuses me that the only other academic-type thing I've published is on another black female sf writer, Tananarive Due. Heck, if I do a little work on Nisi Shawl and Nnedi Okorafor, I can probably call myself an expert in the subgenre. :-)

Around 3ish, I needed a break, so I ran some errands (stopping at the fun but quite chilly German Christmasfest in Daley Square) and then came home briefly. Grabbed a snack, dropped off some things, changed books, kissed Kevin, and now I'm at the little cafe around the corner. Which has kindly made me an eggnog latte without the coffee. :-) They have Christmas music playing (piped off the net), and little oil lamps on the table, which are exceedingly pleasing. It's cold outside but warm in here, and my eggnog is yummy.

I have the net, I've done some work, with more work to come. Life is very good.

3 thoughts on “I spent a few hours at…”

  1. Mary Anne, you seem to be the best person to ask this of…How is Nalo Hopkinson’s first name pronounced? Is the “a” long as in “ate,” short as in “at,” or broad as in “alter?” I am guessing that the “o” is long as in “note.”

  2. Pretend there’s an invisible “h” after the “a”. Like NAH-low, more or less rhyming with “hollow.” (And yes, the o is like the one in “note.”)

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