Out this week: Alice & Oliver by Charles Bock; Our Young Man by Edmund White; Now and Again by Charlotte Rogan; Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings by Stephen O’Connor; and The Bricks That Built the Houses by Kate Tempest. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.
How can science fiction writers invent aliens and entire planets but not include multifaceted characters of color in their fiction? At The Atlantic, Noah Berlatsky discusses the genre’s equality problem and analyzes how race is viewed in everything from The Left Hand of Darkness to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. “When that future unthinkingly reproduces current inequities, it seems like both a missed opportunity and a failure of imagination.”
Our own Lydia Kiesling writes for The New Yorker about workplace fiction by women. As she puts it, “If the author is a woman, workplace fiction is also domestic fiction, easily disguised as ‘chick lit,’ ‘girlfriend literature,’ or even ‘erotica.’ Regardless of the packaging, these books provide mapping, contextualizing, and rich illustration of women’s working lives.” For more of her writing, check out her essay on the San Francisco housing market for The Millions.
“In my mind, the encircled bird on the cover of the 1978 Pocket Books edition of Play It As It Lays immediately recalled another: the mockingjay pin given to Katniss Everdeen at the start of Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games.” At Paper Monument: the importance of book covers.
“If the taglines used to market lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans to the country’s mainstream—‘Love Wins,’ ‘It Gets Better,’ and ‘You Can Play’—have led to unprecedented levels of inclusion and visibility, it is precisely by shoving sex aside and presenting gay people and straight people as essentially the same at heart. In the process, as the outsider status attached to being gay disappears in more and more contexts, some of gay culture’s radical roots risk being expunged from memory.” On Jim Downs’s Stand by Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation.
As if the guy needs any additional distractions to keep him from writing the seventh (or eighth!) books in his Song of Ice and Fire series, George R. R. Martin recently decided to join Twitter. If he ends book six with ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, then I presume you’ll know why.