Quotes: In the Hopes that They Will Be Able to Pass for One of the Glintelligentsia

“The Merita hotel chain offers rooms at a steep discount to people whose Information shows that they are interesting: as cocktail-chatter counterparts, as connections for enterpreneurs, as potential romantic partners. It’s a strategy to convince wealthier, duller clientele to pay a premium in order to share some sparkling conversation, or in the hopes that they will be able to pass for one of the glintelligentsia themselves.”

– Malka Older, Infomocracy

I just love the word glintelligentsia! It should be in mainstream use already. 🙂

Older, Malka. Infomocracy. New York, NY: Tor.com, 2016, p. 77.

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Quotes: Art Does More than Repackage Reality with a Fun-House Twist

Author Becky Chambers argues the case for optimism in art and twines it with history:

“Optimism is important not just for the future as a whole, but for the individuals heading toward it. Again, a duality comes into play: Acting in the interest of individual need without considering the greater good breeds carelessness and greed. Acting in the interest of the greater good without considering individual need invites tragedy and injustice. You have to work with both considerations in mind. So it matters little whether an optimistic story is intended for the purpose of grand, ambitious change or simply to make a person feel better than they did before they sat down to read (or watch, or play). Those are two sides of the same coin.

“History tells us that art is—and has always been—a mirror. It shows us who we are, where we’re at, what’s at stake. But art does more than repackage reality with a fun-house twist. There’s nothing passive about a reflection. If you aim it right, it shines light back. In the times we’re in, there are few things we need more.”

– Becky Chambers

Chambers wrote this as an opinion piece for The Book Smugglers (“SFF in Conversation with Becky Chambers: The Case for Optimism”) who were kind enough to publish it free online, too.

I’ve read her first book, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, and loved its humanity, positivity, and empathy. It’s been in my mind recently as a great counterexample to the bleakness of Logan (the latest Wolverine movie).

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Quotes: Stereotypes … Sometimes Bear Truth’s Imprint

“Stereotypes are untrue. Sometimes, though, they bear truth’s imprint. Sometimes they spring up from what truth has crushed down. As they manifest they can co-opt and mispurpose inescapable realities.”

– Nisi Shawl in the introduction to Ancient, Ancient by Kiini Ibura Salaam

I’ve been thinking of reductivism lately and, serendipitously, found more food for thought in my fiction reading.

Shawl, Nisi. “Annunciation” (introduction). In Ancient, Ancient by Salaam, Kiini Ibura. Seattle, WA: Aqueduct Press, 2012.

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Quotes: It Is Dangerous to Build

“It is dangerous to build. Once you have built something–something that takes all your passion and will–it becomes more precious to you than your own happiness. You don’t realize that, while you are building it. That you are creating a martyrdom–something which, later, will make you suffer.”

– Sofia Samatar: A Stranger in Olondria

That which we deeply care about always has a chance to destroy us.

Samatar, Sofia: A Stranger in Olondria. Easthampton, MA: Small Beer Press, 2013, p. 103.

(This quote comes from my 21 new-to-me SFF authors reading project.)

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Quotes: [People Are] Not Isolated or Sensationalized Exceptions

“[…] I wanted to write about people who were seen as freaks, who had been broken out of the Acceptable Mainstream Mold, because […] those are the more interesting characters to show. But I didn’t want to punish them for it.

“And I didn’t want that punishment to be seen as what was valuable about them. […]

“But it wasn’t until the Devil’s West books that I faced head-on what had been simmering […]. I wanted to show those characters as part of the society that created them, not isolated or sensationalized exceptions. More, I wanted to show them as active parts of that society.”

– Author Laura Anne Gilman

Author Laura Anne Gilman talking about how anger (at sensationalizing attitudes and at one novel in particular) has directed her creative work; specifically, to show charcters outside the accepted American norm not as outsiders but insiders.

Gilman, Laura Anne. “The One Book That Piqued My Creative Fury”. Tor.com.

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Quotes: You Have to Let Go of the Old to Begin Something New

“You have to let go of the old to begin something new. But that does not mean it is lost forever.”

– 32nd Mother of the Red Abbey, in Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff

And the “old” is worth saving – because how else do we learn, transmit our culture, and discuss our values in a world that’s becoming more and more international?

This thought was brought to you by idle musings on various library, archives, and museum collections. Unlike early cultures in our world and peoples of various fantasy worlds, right now we have the luxury of saving unprecedented amounts of our cultures’ material production.

Turtschaninoff, Maria. Maresi. New York, NY: Abrams, 2017, p. 241.

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Quotes: Today’s Young People Are Proud to Be Smart and Curious

“What’s remarkable is the way ‘nerd’ is such a badge of honor now. Growing up, I’m sure I wasn’t the only kid who read Spider-Man comics and learned how to do the Vulcan salute, but it wasn’t like it is today. I get the sense that today’s young people are proud to be smart and curious, to design new things, and tackle big problems in unexpected ways. I think America’s a nerdier country than it was when I was a kid—and that’s a good thing!”

– President Barack Obama

Smart and curious people designing new things and tackling big problems is exactly what’s needed at the moment. Proud of my fellow geeks and nerds!

Ransom, Cliff. “President Barack Obama on How to Win the Future: Questions and Answers with Popular Science.” Popular Science

Crossposted from the Playfully Grownup Home blog.

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Quotes: It Hurts All Three of My Feelings

Actor Carrie Fisher lays it out in a Twitter comment on criticism of her appearance in The Force Awakens and proves she was so much more than a pretty face.

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Quotes: She Tried to Take It All in

“She tried to take it all in, to memorize every detail of the amazing historical event she was witnessing: The young woman splashing in the fountain with three officers of the Royal Norfolk Regiment. The stout woman passing out poppies to two rough-looking soldiers, who each kissed her on the cheek. The bobby trying to drag a girl down off the Nelson monument and the girl leaning down and blowing a curled-paper party favor in his face. And the bobby laughing.”

– Connie Willis: All Clear; London, 7 May 1945

Just a part of the World War II Victory in Europe Day celebration in Trafalgar Square, London, according to author Connie Willis. What a delightful image, especially the bit about the bobby and the girl with the party favor!

Willis, Connie: All Clear. New York, NY: Spectra, 2010, p. 14.

(This quote comes from my 21 new-to-me SFF authors reading project.)

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Quotes: More Open to Imagining Better Worlds that Might Be Possible

“Science fiction came into being in response to a new thing in human history: the understanding that not only was the world changing, but also that the rate of change was speeding up. That in a normal lifetime, you could expect to experience multiple episodes of rapid, disorienting change. Science fiction at its best has always been about examining and inhabiting those experiences when the world passes through a one-way door.

“Modern science fiction grew up in the Great Depression and flourished in World War II. It thrived in the strangeness of the 1950s and the different strangeness of the 1960s. It has continued to be an essential set of tools for engaging with our careening world.

[…]

“And I really do believe that science fiction and fantasy storytelling makes us, in some fundamental way, a bit more practiced in the ways of a world caught up in wrenching change—and more open to imagining better worlds that might be possible.”

– Editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden

Like I wrote in my Arrival Recap: I explicitly do not want all of my reading and viewing rehashing the same old stories over and over, because SFF is explicitly about examining other possibilities.

Nielsen Hayden, Patrick. “The prospect before us.” Making Light, November 9, 2016

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