Feral Sapient reboot

LJMG_headshot2013

O hai!

This blog has been silent for a long time. It’s not that I haven’t had a lot on my mind. I have been reading and thinking about a lot of issues, but I’ve had a hard time finding a hook: an opening for the kinds of things I want to talk about. Let’s face it; I’ve got a feral-sapient brain. In a feral-sap brain, everything runs orthogonally to everything else; it’s all Wincester-housey in there; everything is interconnected and tangled up with other stuff… whimsy, rage, joy, and fear; tons of snake-hands and stairways to nowhere…and the more something matters, the fewer words I can rustle up to describe it succinctly.

But I got that hook today.

So, welcome to the reboot of my blog. Coming up next: dudebros in the environmental movement, and what it means for us. And the planet.

 

PS- What the heck is that with the wild raspberries on my header? I didn’t put those there! It’s supposed to be all Donato-art swirlie-cool-astronauts and stuff. Time to do some maintenance…

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Posted in Miscellany | 6 Comments

Writers Write

Fiends, Romulans, Mouseketeers: take a potty break, warm up your personal poison, and settle in. This will be a long ride.

Canadian blogger and independent academic Kathryn Allan has written a review of my book Up Against It that is also about her own personal journey as a feminist scholar over the past year. She talks about meeting me at WorldCon last fall and reading my latest book. She reflects on my decision to take a new byline, and how that decision and my work have intertwined with her own transition from the academic life to one as an independent scholar—someone who clearly has suffered, made some important and life-alter(nat)ing decisions đŸ™‚ , who is facing uncertainty now and, I sense, may have had to let go of some cherished dreams, but who is looking forward to her future with anticipation and (at least, so I hope) joy.

For the rest of this post to make much sense, it might help to read her post first. It’s OK; I’ll be here when you get back.

Continue reading

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Posted in Feminism, Parenting, Race, Science Fiction, Technology | 17 Comments

Science and Math are Civil Rights

February is Black History Month. There was a great broadcast on the radio last weekend about the 1960s and the Civil Rights movement. The broadcasters had interviews by people who had lived and marched for equality during those years. It was deeply moving.

I was driving and wasn’t able to take notes, so I don’t know who produced the broadcast or the speakers were, but I tuned in while they were interviewing a renowned mathematician, who recounted his experiences as a child. He had to fight every single day to gain access to the resources that would enable him to eventually earn him his doctorate in science, math, and engineering. I got choked up listening to him talk about how hard he had to fight against the prejudices of his teachers, the peer pressure from his classmates, who saw science and math as the province of whites, the weight of societal certainty, that told him that as a black, he had no business striving to master mathematics.

“Math is a civil right,” he said, and I felt as if he had struck a tuning fork next to my heart. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Knowledge is power. Science and math give us the ability to understand how the world works. Engineering gives us tools to apply that knowledge to improve people’s lives. And yet, many people of color and women avoid careers in science, math and engineering. We are suspicious, perceiving technical professions as fields of endeavor that are hostile to us. With good reason; the habits of patriarchy and racism are deeply embedded in STEM professions. As a woman who has spent most of her adult life working as an engineer, I can attest that I have often felt as though I was having to prove myself over, and over, and over again, in ways my male colleagues never had to do.

Is it any wonder that women and people of color turn away from careers in STEM?

And yet I cling to that love of science and technology that I discovered as a girl. Understanding how the universe works is the real magic. The real truth. It’s our world to savor too, those of us excluded from power by our gender, or our ethnicity, by our sexuality or whatever otherness we carry that causes those in power to shun us. We have the right to dive deep into the language of science, embrace and discover its mysteries.

In my stories, I’ve written on the harder side of SF, and I’ve had friends and family lament that fact. “You’re such a good writer,” they say. “Why do you have to write science fiction? Can’t you write something more… accessible?”

Yeah, I probably could. But I don’t want to. I write what I write because I want to share that love of science and technology. I want to share that passion. I want to paint worlds in which girls, and other Others, who dream those techie dreams–traveling to other worlds; building their own robots; curing diseases that cripple and destroy–grow up to achieve great things. Make a contribution. Matter.

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Posted in Feminism, Race, Science Fact, Science Fiction, Technology | 1 Comment

AVATARS DANCE Update: Birdo Uploads Early Book Cover Design Sketches

The Birdo team has posted more images from the work they did for my book covers, including their early design efforts. There are some very cool images–scroll down on this page to “Making Of” and you’ll see why I had a hard time choosing!

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Cover Art for SF Telepresence Trilogy AVATARS DANCE

In the nineties and early ‘oughts, I wrote three related books on telepresence: GLASS HOUSES, PROXIES, and BURNING THE ICE. They came out under my Laura J. Mixon byline, and are due out this spring under my new byline, MJ Locke. Look for them in May 2012 as ebooks, Kindle, iBook, and Nook formats, as well as audiobooks from Audible.com.

When I tweeted this a few days ago, my buddy Linda Albritton asked for an advance peek at the cover art. So here they are! Enjoy.

They were created by the terrific team of Paulo Muppet and Luciana Eguti at Birdo Studios, who also did the artwork for Storytron.

Also, watch this site; as the publication date approaches, I’ll put up more about the books themselves.

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Posted in Art, Science Fiction | 4 Comments