top 10 middle

It’s the last day of the year and here is my second post counting down my top 10 favorite articles I’ve run on during 2013. Again, these aren’t the most popular–some of the articles here barely got any hits at all–but they’re the ones I’m the most fond of and enjoyed creating this past year. Numbers 10, 8 and 9 are listed here. To go to the article in question, click the thumbnail or the heading.


7. Sexism and gender issues in SF/fantasy/horror, and what I plan to do about it.

Back in June, I got mad. There was a flap then going on in the SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) about the “proper” role of women in science fiction and horror. It seems some sexist troglodytes in that writers’ guild aired their Neanderthal opinions that a woman’s place in sci-fi was something akin to Princess Leia lounging around Jabba the Hutt’s palace in a chain-mail bikini in Return of the Jedi. I totally disagree with this view, as you’ll see from this article, and out of a desire to walk the walk as opposed to talk the talk, I committed myself to rebooting my sci-fi book series Life Without Giamotti, except gender-swapped. That’s a long-term project–it may take 10 years or more–but I’m glad I did that.

This is one of the few “issue” articles I did during 2013, and I like it because, instead of merely complaining about an injustice, I feel in this case I can do something about it. This article has already led to something tangible. The novel I wrote during 2013, Doppelgängerwhich, quite happily, was picked up for publication by Samhain Horror–features a female protagonist, and she’s definitely not doing the usual thing that women do in horror stories, which is run around screaming and acting like ditzes. I think we need more strong female protagonists in horror and you will see some from me in the coming years.


6. “Beowulf is Boring” gets a celebrity endorsement.

Also from June, totally randomly a friend of mine, Robyn Francis, an actress and model from Toronto, sent me an awesome picture of her reading my 2009 historical/fantasy novel Beowulf is Boring. I couldn’t resist posting the shot in a blog post, and it created a minor sensation when I did so, becoming for a brief time the most popular article on the site. There’s no deep hidden meaning to this post, but you have to admit, just looking at the lovely Ms. Francis and her fortunate choice of reading material is entertainment enough!

Those of you who might think this is a curious or perhaps even hypocritical choice for a favorite post when juxtaposed with #7 above, let me tell you, it’s not. Appreciating beauty is one thing; objectifying is something else. I enjoy pictures of beautiful women; I enjoy pictures of beautiful men. If any good looking guy would like to pose in his underwear while reading one of my books, I’ll be more than happy to post that on my blog as well!

Big thanks to Robyn Francis for the shot, and for the permission of her boyfriend, Steve Miller, who allowed me to use his likeness as the Devil in Beowulf is Boring.

bad twitter

5. The Tragedy of TrueTwit.

Here’s where my personal top 10 intersects with the readers’ top choices. Since I ran this article in January imploring authors not to use the fulsome, insulting and off-putting app called TrueTwit–which unwittingly turns its users into annoying spambots, and is in fact the #1 biggest single source of spam on Twitter as a whole–this article has been shared literally hundreds of times and is one of the top results in Google searches on the phenomenon of TrueTwit. (I also wrote another article on TrueTwit back in October, which explains how it is nothing more than a very deceptive advertising service).

Suffice it to say, the TrueTwit people don’t like me very much. But I know for a fact this article has motivated a lot of people to stop using the TrueTwit app. I know because they told me, and I credit this as my contribution to making Twitter better for everyone. If you know anyone who uses TrueTwit, send them the link to this article.

sidney bechet

4. Some amazing jazz: Sidney Bechet, “Petite Fleur,” 1952.

This very simple article became one of my all time favorites because the song I posted there, in the form of a YouTube video, is just so amazingly awesome. Sidney Bechet’s performance at a Paris cafe in January 1952, captured in an audio recording, is one of the finest embodiments of sultry New Orleans-style jazz you’ll ever hear. It’s also a remarkable voice from a fascinating era, the uncertain, angst-filled years immediately following World War II. History, music and style all intersect in an almost perfect way.

I credit University of Oregon history professor George Sheridan with introducing me to Sidney Bechet. I’m still working on an interview with Dr. Sheridan, which I promised during the summer but still haven’t finished yet; it will be coming in 2014!

Next up: my favorites, 3 through 1.

Please see the individual articles for relevant photo credits/rights statements.