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Kate Orman's Writing CV
snow kate
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Published Books and Short StoriesCollapse )
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Completed Writing Projects, 2015
*writing
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Keeping Mum (short story, 4800 words)
Blakes 7: Mediasphere (novel, with Jonathan Blum)
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Books read, 2015
*books 3
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Barbara Baynton. Bush Studies. I hugely recommend this Australian classic.
Anna Funder. Stasiland.
Mark Isaacs. The Undesirables.
Ann Leckie. Ancillary Justice.
George Orwell. Nineteen Eighty-Four. (I also finally watched the excellent movie version, directed by Michael Radford and starring John Hurt.)
Philip Sandifer. Recursive Occlusion: an Unofficial Occultism of Doctor Who. Loved it!
Alan Watts. Tao: The Watercourse Way.

Manga
Kamio Yoko. Boys Over Flowers, volume 1.

Notable short stories
Charlotte Armstrong, "Miss Murphy"
Barbara Baynton, "Squeaker's Mate"

Books bought and borrowedCollapse )
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Words in Print, 2015
*writing
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The Ambassador from Wolf-Rayet 134, short story, 2000 words (published in Seasons of War unofficial Doctor Who charity anthology)
Playing for Time, short story, 12,000 words (published in Liberating Earth, Obverse Books, January 2015)
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The New Scientist letters column
*goddess bless and protect me, *goddess, *goddess moon, *cosmic code authority, *witch
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.. always full of interest, particularly when it comes to what we may reasonably call my religion, which is Eclectic Wiccan with a Mesopotamian and Ancient Egyptian influences and a large dose of Zen Buddhism. I like to observe my spontaneous responses to religious and philosophical questions raised by the letter writers.

Quoth one in the 24 May 2014 edition: "religion instils a fear that god is watching everything we do". Wicca doesn't really have a concept of sin or damnation - although I did apologise for throwing out some takeaway containers this evening instead of recycling them, as if doing so guiltily under a disapproving supernatural eye. Perhaps I've absorbed that idea from the surrounding culture, just as much of my swearing is filthily Christian.

Here's another, about "the use of unclaimed bodies for medical science... One would have to look long and hard to find a more straightforward and sensible use of an unclaimed dead body, yet here [in an article in a previous issue] we have an educated person who takes issue with this practice since, rather obviously, there has been no informed consent." Now there are various counter-arguments, such as the idea that the body is property, and the possibility of the body's being claimed by grieving relatives too late.

But the thought popped straight into my head: the body is sacred. That's a very basic idea in Wicca, and in Neo-Paganism generally. In a previous posting I talked about "the well-being of bodies"; imagine living in a culture which held that as its highest goal, one which above all valued safe water and good nutrition, adequate medical care, and freedom from violence for everyone. (Imagine living in a culture where the use of the hand or the penis to cause harm is seen as a desecration of the perpetrator's body!) Out of these values arise the idea that a corpse is not a natural resource, like a tree or a coal vein, but part of a person. For the letter-writer, corpses are presumably a massive scientific resource only going to waste because loved ones and indeed the dying themselves are blocking their use.

The question now becomes: is this my thinking because it arises from Wiccan ideas, or is it just a a gut reaction to what seems like a heartless attitude, and I've rationalised it with Wiccan ideas ex post facto?

Writing
*writing
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Keeping Mum is off in one direction and Mediasphere, the Blakes 7 book, is off in another. Now to polish up a couple of old short stories and launch them into the slushosphere before knuckling down and giving Strange Flesh a tip-to-toe rewrite, which I estimate will take five months, and may Calliope have mercy on my soul.
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A moment of silence
yellow 1, *sympathy
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Ages ago Jon and I listened to an episode of The Shadow radio series, in which a father turns to crime to pay for his daughter's heart operation. His wife, not knowing the desperate ends he's considering, cries: "She's got to have her chance!"

I mention this because, as my mind wandered this afternoon, I thought of all the people who don't exist now because of what was done to them in high school. There are the people who aren't here because they took their own lives, of course. But then there are the people who aren't here now, because the people they were then were bent and broken by their peers, with the tacit collaboration of those who owed them a duty of care. Who would they be now? Who would I be?

Obviously, the same thing applies to any situation where injustice and cruelty denies people the chance they should have had.
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Hugo reading
*books 3
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This falls into two categories: reading stuff on this year's ballot, and reading stuff for next year's nominations.

It seems only fair to at least give the Puppy nominees a look. Like many publishers, Analog has made its Hugo candidates for this year available for free online. I've just read the novella Flow by Arlan Andrews, Sr, a likeable story of quasi-scientific exploration with strong world-building. Its Puppy appeal is obvious: no GURLS. And perhaps because of this, not much society-building; if you'd played D&D you're already familiar with the main setting, God's Port. The story's main problem is its repetition. Where our hero comes from east is called dimward and day is called dim. This is interesting, but the continual reminders become comical, then annoying, then excruciating. I lost count of those - there are dozens! - but to pick other examples, we're told twice about the scarcity of lumber back home and three times about the surprising hair colours in God's Port. It becomes maddening and gives what should be a good story an amateurish feel.

The first story I've found which I think might deserve a nomination next year is the beautiful Slow by Lia Swope Mitchell, from the online magazine Apex.

In my search I also stumbled across another online magazine, Unlikely Stories, and its Unlikely Cryptography issue. The Joy of Sects by Joseph Tomaras is hilarious and very rude. Dropped Stitches by Levi Sable has a terrific premise, but like so many of the stories I'm reading, seems to have come out of the oven before it was completely cooked.
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Insight
*gender
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"I think part of the problem is that people are frustrated that they want to see more women, doing more things, in superhero movies, and because we don't have as many women as we should yet, they're very, very sensitive to every single storyline that comes up right now."
Mark Ruffalo on criticisms of writer Joss Whedon for Avengers: Age of Ultron, which have ranged from thought-provoking to an outright torrent of abuse on Twitter (where else?). (Mark's too generous IMHO; sisterhood kills sisters. Happily, Whedon says he has always copped it on Twitter and that his decision to depart was because he's trying to focus on work.)

Whew. Also, oops.
*writing 8
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Draft Zero of Blakes 7: Mediasphere at 71,500 words. (It's supposed to be about 60,000!)
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