American ®Evolution: news from the front

Gemsigns drops in America today! That is to say, today’s the day it can be found on the shelves of bookshops or dispatched to you from your preferred online retailer (and if you pre-ordered the ebook it’s probably already sitting on your reader as I write this). I am very excited, and slightly nervous; I went to university in the States and spent well over a decade there afterwards, moving between Massachusetts, California and Florida. There’s no doubt that those years have hugely informed who I am, how I think and what I write; and although the ®Evolution novels are set in my current home city of London, it was in America that I first began to grapple with the issues they address. So in a strange way it feels as though I am sending some of those lessons and questions back home; and hoping they will find as welcome a reception as I did, when it was my home.

If the last few weeks are anything to go by I shouldn’t worry; the reviews so far have been excellent. I’ve also been invited to contribute articles on various topics to a number of blogs and webzines. Here are the most recent.

More Kids, Please | Bookworm Blues | 5 May 2014

Think about your own narrative. Whether or not you have kids, you’ll certainly remember being one. Didn’t you have constant interactions with the adults around you? Didn’t you think thoughts and have complex feelings and cause things to happen? Weren’t you a person then too?

Changing Stories: Social Media in Speculative Fiction | io9 | 5 May 2014

How can an immersive media environment inform literature – both in terms of the stories we tell, and the ways in which those stories are told? … I’d read little if anything that I thought really tried to engage the potential of social and mass media, as both plot and narrative devices, within a traditional literary form.

We Need Fiction To Tell The Truth | Special Needs in Strange Worlds | SF Signal | 6 May 2014

… a lot of the standard tropes around disability that we see in fiction – that it befalls someone who has done wrong, and can therefore be understood as a punishment; or that with the loss of a sense such as sight a new ability such as clairvoyance is gained, suggesting some kind of fair exchange; or that the witch/wizard/wise scientist has a miracle cure up their sleeve; or that the disabled person is so patient and saintly they don’t actually mind either the disability or the slings and arrows they suffer because of it; or, worst of all, that said disability is the only thing of significance about them – are the coping mechanisms employed by those of able body and sound mind. They are a way of reducing people to symbols in order to codify our own fear; a way of reframing a complex reality into a simple narrative.

(I’ll be updating this post as more pieces go live later today and over the next few days; there’s a comprehensive list under Press + Posts above.)

8 May 2014 – UPDATE:

Trusting the Future? Ethics of Human Genetic Modification | LiveScience Op-Ed | 6 May 2014

Evolution relies on the emergence of exceptions — no less when it comes to social change than to genetic mutation. The exceptions that become the rule over time are those that best respond to the environment in which they have arisen. And yet we are rarely more anxious than when we feel those boundaries start to shift, or more strident in demanding an uncomplicated moral framework within which to determine the way forward.

10 May 2014 – FURTHER UPDATE (or, it’s been a hell of a week and a new blog post is beyond me right now):

The Big Idea: Stephanie Saulter | Whatever | 9 May 2014

[The] metrics of humanity can prove tricky. What if that unconscious mental ideal happens to be constructed as a white person? Or a male person? Or a fit and healthy person whose physical capabilities fall within a statistically standard range? What does that imply for the perceived humanity of brown people, or female people, or people with different physiques and capabilities?

Interviews: 

My Bookish Ways | Interview | 8 May 2014
Podcast: Interview | The Skiffy and Fanty Show | 7 May 2014
The Qwillery | Interview & Gemsigns giveaway | 7 May 2014

 

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1 Comment

  1. Hi Stephanie,
    I like your openness and mental flexibility. I agree with some of what you think. But, from how I see things, I think that your views in general throw too much baby out with the Traditional bathwater. If nature is not random at its core, and if we admit that some of it even is rather strict (you cite murder and incest as things that violate that strictness), then, it seems to me at least, that it is a mistake to trade in Tradition LX Turbo for the new, perfectly flexible, economy model. What I mean is that, if nature has a inflexible core, then, it seems to me, the given distance away from that core to which some ‘moral’ concern begins constitutes the relative flexibility of that ‘moral’ concern in terms of what nature, in the long term, will allow. I call this distance the ‘boundary’ between the potential for disease and health for that particular ‘moral’ concern. What I’m suggesting here is that things like inherited diseases, and predispositions to a particular disease or disorder/disability, in given narrow segments of a wider general population, are the result of the complex interactions between all of the various boundary-preservations and boundary-violations that impact on those segments. My suggestion here implies that I believe that humans, on every population scale (whether a single couple, a tribe, a nation, or the entire globe), are far more the masters of their collective health-and-disease than they commonly realize. It follows from this, then, that the active assumption that bio tech can solve all our ills is doomed to create more, and worse forms of, them. I feel fairly sure that you already admit that the typical case of heart disease in the West that eventuates in the need for bypass surgery or heart transplant is not like some alien predator that happens to pounce on the hapless victim, but is, in fact, the result of a ‘civilized’ diet, and of other ‘civilized’ factors. Black lung from coal dust is an example of disease from violating part of the strict core boundary of nature. Diabetes, from continual excessive intake of processed sugar and too little vegetables and physical activity, is not that much further out from that core.

    So, diversity is one thing. But, there is another thing to attend to. This is because a complex set of boundary violations-and-preservations does NOT mean that no boundaries are being violated. As I have put it many times before, a person who thinks that Checkers is the most profound game going, and thus who thinks that every game played amounts to Checkers, is doomed to lose her shirt whenever Mother Nature prefers to play Chess.

  • I love stories.
    My new novel, Sacred, is all about them. Publication info will be posted as soon as I have it.

    In the meantime check out Gemsigns, Binary and Regeneration, available wherever good books are sold.

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