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Showing posts from August, 2013

This is Not a Romance Novel: Thoughts on Scandal

Up until a few days ago, Shonda Rhimes was someone I admired greatly without really liking anything she did.  One of the few women (and people of color) to gain entry to the small and exclusive group of superstar TV producers, what sets Rhimes's series--juggernaut Grey's Anatomy, its less successful but still long-running spinoff Private Practice, and also-ran Off the Map--apart from the crowd is their being, by and large, the stories of women.  And more importantly, of a broad variety of women, many of whom don't often get their stories told on TV: fortyish and middle-aged women, women of color, gay women, women who don't look like runway models.  Despite that fact, and despite finding Rhimes's shows compelling--when I come across an episode of one while channel-flipping I almost always end up watching it to the end--I've never been fannish, or even particularly interested, in any of her series.  That's less because of their romance slant--though the fact …

Review: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

Over at Strange Horizons, I review Helene Wecker's debut The Golem and the Jinni, in which the titular magical creatures meet in early 20th century New York.  Though there are aspects of the novel that I enjoyed, it ended up making me question its very choice of genre, and my review discusses the way in which magic as a metaphor for mundane realities can end up being used as a crutch to shore up a flawed work.

History, Repeated: Two Views on The Wars of the Roses

We all know that history is written by the victors, but the matter doesn't end there.  History is also written by the powerful, the educated, the privileged.  By people who toe--and sometimes the ones who shape--the party line.  People of the wrong gender, race, class, or nationality not only don't get to write history, they often don't even get to appear in it.  It's one of the tasks of historians to address the gaps and deficits in the official record, but this is also where historical fiction can come in, giving a voice to those who were denied it at the time.  In the last few weeks I've consumed two different works that take on the same historical period with this goal in mind, but from two different perspectives.  The BBC's ten-part miniseries The White Queen tells the story of the Wars of the Roses by stressing the role of women within them, highlighting the fact that in a dispute in which marriage and succession played such an important role, women's…