Subject Two: Speaking of fantasy--at Tor a few days ago was a great post by Mary Pearson (author of The Adoration of Jenna Fox), about What YA Lit is and isn't. My favorite bit: "I think sometimes there is still this basal reader mentality when it comes to teen books, like it is a stepping stone to the “grown-up stuff.” Basal Reader Year 10. Hm, no. It is simply its own unique type of literature that explores the teen experience." (Thanks to Liz for this).
This prejudice seems especially naturalized among readers of "grown up" speculative fiction. Here's an old post (May 2008) on the subject by John Scalzi that still seems relevant (and I was fascinated that in the week this post was written, "the top 50 YA SF/F bestsellers outsold the top 100 adult SF/F bestsellers (adult SF and F are separate lists) by two to one."
Interestingly, Scalzi also writes about what happens when an established writer of adult sci fi goes YA--his own book, Zoe's Tale (shortlisted for the Best Novel Hugo)--"The frustrating part is that one very large chunk of the book’s intended audience — teenagers and in particular teenage girls — have little if any awareness of the book." Oh gosh, Mr. Scalzi, I am guilty. Zoe's Tale is one I have been meaning to read for 11 months, and I have a copy, but I guess I have been reluctant to read it because I know it's part of a larger story (The Old Man's War) that I haven't read... I will try to get to it this weekend.
And in case by any chance you missed this third old post of Scalzi's, here's Really the Only Thing That Has to Be Said About the YA Thing.
Subject Three: two excellent lists
Stella Matuntina has a lovely list of LGBT characters in speculative fiction; check out the comments for more. (My suggestion was Door into Fire et seq., by Diane Duane. Hard to find these days, but rather gripping. Best fire elemental ever, but then, I haven't read Fire yet).
In her post, Where's Ramona Quimby, Black and Pretty? Elizabeth Bluemle of Shelftalker invited readers to suggest great books with kids of color, and put the resulting, fantastic, list together on Librarything.com. Here's her World Full of Color post, describing this. (thanks to Eva, where I saw this first).
Subject Four: bringing everything together beautifully, here's the call for papers for the 31st Annual International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts
Theme: Race and the FantasticSubject Five: "half of Britons injured by their biscuits on coffee break, survey reveals." Read more to find out which common biscuit is the most deadly (thanks to Jenny Davidson for the link, and, while I'm at it, for all the other incredibly diverting links she posts).
Division of Children’s and Young Adult Literature
Guest of Honor: Nalo Hopkinson
Guest of Honor: Laurence Yep
Guest Scholar: Takayuki Tatsumi
Special Guest Emeritis: Brian Aldiss
The 2010 ICFA welcomes paper proposals on all areas of the fantastic
(including high fantasy, allegory, science fiction, horror, folk tales and
other traditional literatures, magical realism, the supernatural, and the
gothic) in all media (novels, short stories, drama, television, comic books,
film, and others).
The division of children’s and young adult literature is especially
interested in paper proposals throughout the field, including picture books,
easy readers, novels, short stories, film, comic books, and other forms. We
embrace a wide variety of scholarly approaches and interests, including
genre, historical, theoretical, and textual, models. We encourage work from
scholars, independent scholars, international scholars who work in languages
other than English, graduate students, and undergraduate students.
The conference will run March 17-21, 2010, in Orlando, Florida.
*Does anyone know why Blogger changes the line spacing like this? There's nothing obvious in the html. I hate it when Blogger decides to do things of its own volition, pretending it was my layout choice...