Some of my favorite tweets from #OutWriters

OutWriters

It’s LGBT Pride month so you can expect things to be a little gayer than usual around here. ;)

Cleis Press, an independent queer publisher, launched the #OutWriters campaign on Twitter to “celebrate the importance of LGBT writing.” Sounded like a damn good idea to me. My publisher Bold Strokes Books has joined in, along with many LGBT/queer authors from the U.S. and beyond. It has inspired some awesome testimonials as well as a nice run of light-hearted humor and generalized frolic.

The idea is to tweet something about why you write LGBT fiction, or why it’s important to you. Here are some of my favorites so far this month.

And of course, here’s one of my own I like a lot.

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“Atlantis Fandom Makes a Comeback”

There have been crickets chirping over here while I’ve been gearing up and now starting the semester, plus editing a new novel and lining up some guest posts for The Seventh Pleiade.

On that latter score, head over to speculative fiction blog Layers of Thought to check out my guest article: “Atlantis Fandom Makes a Comeback,” wherein I talk about the ebb and flow of interest in Atlantis and why this is the right time for Atlantis stories to make a big splash.

(hardee har har…sorry about that).

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The Number of LGBT YA Titles Increasing at a Turtle’s Pace According to Malinda Lo

This is a lazy blog post. It really is.

I basically just wanted to share a very sharp, well-reasoned analysis of the status of LGBT YA written by author Malinda Lo earlier this week (“LGBT Young Adult Books 2003-2013: A Decade of Slow But Steady Change”).

You might find the title to be a bit charitable after you read the article and see her pie charts and graphs. (Yay for Pie Charts and Graphs!) In an industry that publishes thousands of young adult books every year, on average only fifteen of those books portray LGBT teens and/or “LGBT issues” such as growing up with same-sex parents or bullying in school.

Yuck.

Anyway, as always, Lo is thoughtful and precise in her consideration of the dilemma. Part of that precision is focusing on big publishers only. The number of LGBT titles from small presses, or those self-published by authors, is very challenging to count and analyze. Including those titles could skew perceptions. It’s important that LGBT books are published, but it’s also important that they have a wide distribution so that they get to teen readers. That’s not to say that LGBT titles at big publishers are better. I like the way that Lo addresses this issue:

“In some ways, I see the largest YA publishers as analogous to the broadcast networks on television. Broadcast networks have historically had the widest reach, even though much quality programming happens these days on cable channels that have smaller distribution in the television marketplace. An analysis of the broadcast networks — or the major publishers — doesn’t negate the contributions that smaller networks (or publishers) can and do make, especially in representation of minorities, but I do think the major networks (and publishers) have a greater responsibility due to their greater reach.”

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Postcard to Putin

A friend of mine, artist and author Stephen Mead brought to my attention this important campaign.

Postcard collage by Stephen Mead

Postcard collage by Stephen Mead

You are probably aware of the vulnerable status of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Russia due in great part by the government enacting a law prohibiting the “promotion” of homosexuality. With the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Russian officials even went so far as to warn international athletes that they will be banned from the games if there is evidence that they are spreading “gay propaganda.”

Some human rights activists have demanded that fair-minded countries pull out of the Sochi Olympics. Others have organized boycotts of Russian products like vodka. I think both of these strategies have their merits and their limitations, e.g. who really suffers from a boycott in a global economy?

Mead’s Postcard to Putin, which ties in with Change.org’s Love Letters to Russia campaign, is a straight forward approach to raising awareness of the government’s wrong-mindedness while putting pressure on Russia’s leaders. Whether or not the messages penetrate the hearts and minds of politicians, they give global visibility to the outrage so many of us feel. They’re also a great example of how anyone can be an activist.

Here’s Stephen’s page from the International Society and Assemblage of Collage Artists with information on how you can get involved.

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5 Reasons Why Atlantis is Making a Comeback

I love a good Atlantis story, and I despair a bit that Atlantis has never quite broken into modern pop culture, at least not in a way with much gravitas.

For sci-fi geeks, there was the Stargate Atlantis series and for kids there was Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Some big name authors have written about Atlantis, like Clive Cussler with his espionage thriller Atlantis Found, but generally Atlantis stories are considered genre and niche.

It’s time for a full-on Atlantis blitz, on the order of vampires, post-apocalyptic dystopias and zombies. Here’s why the time is right.

5. The Every-Thirty-Years Theory: Sociologists say our culture is cyclical.
Political, social and even artistic trends tend to fall in and out of fashion every
thirty years.

This is good news for Atlantis fans because the last decade of major Atlantis popularity was the 1980s. Here’s a look back in thirty year spans.

"Psychic" Edgar Cayce

“Psychic” Edgar Cayce

1920s:

Atlantis makes its silver screen début with the French/Belgian silent movie L’Atlantide, Scottish journalist and folklorist Lewis Spence publishes his seminal book The History of Atlantis. Pop-psychic Edgar Cayce claims that he can contact ancient Atlanteans.

 

 

 

From the 1959 film adaptation of Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth

From the 1959 film adaptation of Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth

1950s:

Jules Vernes’ Journey to the Center of the Earth is made into a movie. Pulp author Lester Del Rey, who will become the founder of Ballantine’s sci fi/fantasy imprint Del Rey books, publishes Attack from AtlantisAtlantis:The Lost Continent becomes the first Hollywood studio production about the legend (OK, that’s stretching decades just a touch; the movie came out in 1961).

 

Screen shot of Atari's Atlantis

Screen shot of Atari’s Atlantis

1980’s:

Best-selling Australian author Marion Zimmer Bradley takes on Atlantis with her epic Fall of Atlantis. The award-winning film Cocoon is based on extraterrestrial myths about Atlantis. Atari is inspired and releases an Atlantis video game.

 

 

4. Everyone loves Greek Mythology: Recent projects about Ancient Greece are a warm-up for the BIG Atlantis breakthrough.

Percy Jackson: Sea of MonstersThere’s Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson book series and movie franchise, the 2010 reboot of Clash of the Titans (from the original 1981 movie — see #5 above), along with films like 300 and Immortals.

 

 

3. Young adult fantasy author T.A. Barron just released the Atlantis Rising series.

TA Barron's Atlantis Rising

2. BBC’s Atlantis mini-series just came to the small screen for Fall 2013.

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1. You know where this was leading: Andrew J. Peters’ The Seventh Pleiade, upcoming in November 2013, begins a new epic series retelling the story of Atlantis. (And is available for pre-order by the way).

The Seventh Pleiade by Andrew J. Peters*Note: This article is not meant to be taken entirely seriously :)

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Atlantis Teaser – BBC One

I’ve been waiting quite impatiently for the BBC’s Atlantis series.

This video that came out last week doesn’t even qualify as a trailer, I think. They’re calling it a ‘teaser;’ even at that, at eleven seconds, it doesn’t give much of anything away. Kind of like Natalie Wood in her début as burlesque performer Gypsy Rose.

Anyway, I’m still excited to see how the creators will re-imagine Atlantis. And here’s the teaser:

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And here’s Gypsy Rose :)

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