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I think that while the politics found their books may be more narrowly focused than 30 years ago, Baen still publishes more women than certain other publishers generally perceived as liberal.

Point. But still -- I'm reminded of the line from the Simpsons about "Fox turned into a hard corn porn channel so gradually!" Sure, it always *tended* towards military porn, but the supercreepy Tea Party right wing it is today, not quite so much.

Unpacking something:


Recently we received this letter from Travis Shelton of Dayton,

I have come to associate Baen Books with Del Monte. Now what is that supposed to mean? Well, if you're in a strange store with a lot of different labels, you pick Del Monte because the product will be consistent and will not disappoint.

I checked my inventory, and I have 4 other books by her, but not this one. But then I was posted overseas again, so book pickings get mighty slim then.

That was when he was bringing Joanna Russ back into print.

Thank yopu so much for highlighting my absolute favorite author. My universal blanket recommendation for everybody is read everything with Melissa Scott's name on it. Her worst stuff is better than most writing anyway.

I'm curious what you made of Scott's Alexandrian alternate history, A Choice of Destinies?

Never saw it. I'll go looking for it immediately. I've missed a few of her older books and I know for sure I am also behind on most things after 2008 (but that's a general condition, which I am only beginning to mend).

I'd love to know your take on it. There are times I think it's too... fanfic-y? but there's a real attempt to engage with the history.

I'm already trying to track it down, thanks for the recommendation. edit: I've got it, and I've started it.

Edited at 2014-07-09 02:00 pm (UTC)

You, uh, probably want to get the third and fourth "Points" books if you haven't already. Just fyi.

I'm doing a reread of the whole Points series plus the new book. They're still wonderful.

That's a good recommendation. I'll keep an eye out for her stuff. Sadly, in my new location, the library offerings are, um, slim. Not a college town.

As I discovered last night, libraries are not rteliable places for Melissa Scott books. I'm going to start a campaign in mine.

For reasons I do not pretend to understand, our local library, while otherwise fairly light on sf/f, has a good selection of Melissa Scott's works. I made sure to tell the librarian how very happy I was that they had both Points novels, at a time when they were out of print and ridiculously hard to find.

Trey's non-specific gender brings up an interesting question...

...if 2 characters of unspecified gender have a conversation that doesn't revolve around a specified male character, the book may or may not have passed the Bechdel test - is it in a state of quantum Bechdel uncertainty? :)

I liked Scott's books quite a bit, but I think I missed this one. I'll have to go back and check my shelves.

Re: Trey's non-specific gender brings up an interesting question...

If two characters of unspecified gender have a conversation that revolves around a third character of unspecified gender?

Or if two characters of unspecified gender have a conversation that doesn't revolve around a third character at all?

I'm sure there are a couple of other ways to interpret your question :).

Re: Trey's non-specific gender brings up an interesting question...

If either or both of the unspecified characters resolves to a male, that would be a negative. But there's three of those states and only one where they are both women*, so the balance is 3:1 to it being Bechdel-negative. On the other hand, one should also weigh the probabilities of the speaking characters being male or female, so the ratio is probably higher.

*Approximately. The chance of them being intersexed, gender-queer or other other is small enough to be negligible, I think. And even smaller in Hollywood character-space.

Re: Trey's non-specific gender brings up an interesting question...

Actually in a Melissa Scott novel the chances of them being intersexed, genderqueer, or some variety of gender outside the binary is rather higher than you seem to think?

Re: Trey's non-specific gender brings up an interesting question...

I find that I haven't read that much by Scott, and besides, I was thinking of movies for some reason.

Re: Trey's non-specific gender brings up an interesting question...

to spoil the joke, the whole point of cultural normativity is that it ultimately collapses the super-positioned gender state of the ungendered characters to male by default.

Re: Trey's non-specific gender brings up an interesting question...

Nod. This is true. Not all the time, I find, but a large proportion of it.

Re: Trey's non-specific gender brings up an interesting question...

Does it matter if the unspecified character has a name that is unambiguously male in your culture? My brain insists on interpreting "Trey" as a man for that reason. I find it interesting that Scott chose it for her character given that she was born in the southern US where it is an exclusively male nickname.

And a blurb from OtherRealms. Wow, that takes me wayyyy back....

And the cover wasn't even that bad.

Do you know who the cover is by, btw?

It may be worth pointing out that, unlike some other ebooks, this one's also available at B&N and Smashwords, and possibly other places as well.

I wonder what a mash-up of works called _The Kindly Ones_ would be like (other instances being one by Aeschylus and one by Powell).

Scott's is heavily thematically linked to Aeschylus's play, so . . . a mash-up would probably pretty much get you what you already have.

My copy of Russ's _The Zanzibar Cat_ is published by Baen. To add another layer of strangeness, the cover is by James (Dinotopia) Gurney.

Whatever happened to bring about the Baen books we have now?

Re: Baen and Baen covers

A series of financial decisions (to concentrate on an audience no one else really was in SF publishing at that time) and later ... a series of health issues, frankly. Starting with diabetes that was pretty out of control (god, the conversations/arguments I had with him about that!) and then a series of small strokes no one noticed until he had some rather larger ones years later culminating in the one that killed him. (This is Editrx)

(I'm a Baen anthology story author, fwiw.)

Melissa Scott got started with Baen with Five-Twelfths of Heaven, which remains one of my favorite books.

That trilogy is now available on the Kindle.

...and iBooks! Yay, thank you.

Late comment; probably no one will ever read this. But ...

A big thank-you to James for reminding me of this book. I splurged and bought the ebook. Vaguely remember reading it when it came out, many years ago, but it was effectively new to me.

Good book! If I had been the editor I would have tightened it in quite a few places but overall, an absorbing, suspenseful read.

Well worth the $3.99.

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