Stuff and Things

So, my original goal was to portray a society that genuinely did not care about gender. Using a single pronoun for everyone was just one part of that, but the more I played with it, the more interesting the effect was. Ultimately, of course, using “she” for everyone doesn’t actually convey gender neutrality, and I realized that pretty quickly. But I think if I’d chosen to use a gender neutral pronoun—e, or sie, or zie, or any of the others—it would have produced an interesting effect, but it would have lost the way that “she” automatically goes straight to the reader’s perceptions. No, that’s not the best way to say it. I mean, the very long familiarity long-time English speakers have with the pronouns “he” and “she” means that we react to them without actually thinking much about it. We don’t stop to ask ourselves what they mean, they just go right in and trigger a particular set of associations, almost automatically, unconsciously. By using “she” for everyone, I get (for many, but of course not all readers) the effect, once those associations are triggered, of undermining or questioning them, in a very basic way, a sort of… experiential way. It’s one thing to tell someone about the masculine default, and have them understand the idea. It’s another thing to actually demonstrate how it works on your reader. But it only works (for the readers it worked for, because of course it didn’t work for everyone) because we parse those pronouns so thoughtlessly.

The various gender neutral pronouns don’t have that long familiarity for most of us. The effect I mention above, which quite a few readers have explicitly commented on and appreciated, would have been lost if I’d used one of them. It was a trade-off, I think. I can’t blame folks who wish I’d used a gender neutral pronoun instead, of course, and I’m hoping to see those pronouns used more so that they become more generally familiar. I’m seeing singular “they” for known people (instead of the nebulous “don’t know who this might actually be” use of singular they) used well in short fiction lately, and I’ve been really happy to see it. But myself, for this particular project, I think the effect that I got, at least with a sizable number of readers, was worth the trade-off.

So, in some ways I succeeded. In other ways I didn’t. But the result was interesting and gave a lot of people something to think about and discuss, and I’m glad of that.

lyricalt:

I’ve read Dlique’s intro ten times so I’m pretty sure she’s probably wearing a hawaiian shirt and a souvenir Genital Festival fanny pack when she met Breq.

I am giggling like a mad person.

lyricalt:

I’ve read Dlique’s intro ten times so I’m pretty sure she’s probably wearing a hawaiian shirt and a souvenir Genital Festival fanny pack when she met Breq.

I am giggling like a mad person.

scaryfuturerobot:

okay but no I think we can all agree that the true OTP of this book is Five and fine teaware

Ancillary Justice is about tragedy, and the trauma it leaves in its wake. It’s about what happens when you lose. It’s about being at your lowest point and being unable to see a future worth living for.

Ancillary Sword is about the healing process. It’s about hope. It’s about knowing that while some wounds will never stop hurting completely, they will eventually hurt less. It’s about keeping on.

"I should look from their point of view, should I?" she asked, eyebrow raised, voice just the slightest bit sardonic.
“You should,” I agreed. “Your only other choice is rounding them all up and either reeducating them or killing every one of them.” The first was beyond the resources of Station Security. And I had already said I would not help with the second.
She grimaced in horror and disgust. “What do you take me for, Fleet Captain? Why would you think anyone here would ever consider such a thing?”
“I am older than I look,” I replied. “I have been in the middle of more than one annexation. I have seen people do things that a month or a year before they would have sworn they would never, ever do.”

“Why, Fleet Captain, do you think I would be one of those people?”
“Everyone is potentially one of those people, Governor,” I replied. “It’s best to learn that before you do something you’ll have trouble living with.” Best to learn it, really, before anyone—perhaps dozens of anyones—died to teach it to you.
But it was a hard lesson to learn any other way, as I knew from very personal experience.
Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie
shamelesslyunladylike:

lesradicalfeminisms:

tumbling-torterra:

a-strawbarry:

houseofheavy:

etspiritusvitae:

the female body is hardcore as fuck. 

Yes is it.

so is the male body
it’s sad to see so many people like this on this website


OP is praising the fact that women hold a fucking infant in their belly the size of a ribcage, get the fuck over yourself for 3.5 seconds.

*~*~follow for more fragile male ego~*~*

The male body is more susceptible to hereditary diseases because of their lack of a second X chromosome. Their testosterone production ages them faster and causes them to die sooner. Their center of gravity is higher because of their tiny little hips and overgrown shoulders, making them easier to topple. Their gonads are placed outside of the body, in a very vulnerable position, because they do not function properly if they get a little bit warmer than usual. They have non-functional nipples, but still enough breast tissue to get cancer.The male body is not hardcore. The male body is to the female body what a shoddy, unstable mod is to a well-estabilished piece of software. Sit the fuck down. And try to not crush your fragile pathetic outside gonads when you do it.

shamelesslyunladylike:

lesradicalfeminisms:

tumbling-torterra:

a-strawbarry:

houseofheavy:

etspiritusvitae:

the female body is hardcore as fuck. 

Yes is it.

so is the male body

it’s sad to see so many people like this on this website

OP is praising the fact that women hold a fucking infant in their belly the size of a ribcage, get the fuck over yourself for 3.5 seconds.

*~*~follow for more fragile male ego~*~*

The male body is more susceptible to hereditary diseases because of their lack of a second X chromosome. Their testosterone production ages them faster and causes them to die sooner. Their center of gravity is higher because of their tiny little hips and overgrown shoulders, making them easier to topple. Their gonads are placed outside of the body, in a very vulnerable position, because they do not function properly if they get a little bit warmer than usual. They have non-functional nipples, but still enough breast tissue to get cancer.

The male body is not hardcore. The male body is to the female body what a shoddy, unstable mod is to a well-estabilished piece of software. Sit the fuck down. And try to not crush your fragile pathetic outside gonads when you do it.

cognitivedissonance:

The above document was sent to me by a male reader of my site who’s quite stunned by what he read. I’m not.

They’re fairly organized and are actively calling for articles and research to highlight just how oppressed they are:

"Cite sources that show Leigh Alexander’s EXTREME racism, misandry, and bias towards Intel’s largest consumer-level base (Gamers)… If you have an academic position, tenure, are part of a research group AND have an interest in contributing NEW PAPERS that go against the current Feminist Inquisition…"

Leigh Alexander wrote about the lack of diversity and the decline in gaming culture.

DiGRA = Digital Games Research Association.

We all know what consumer base they’re about as well.

But it’s all about ethics in journalism and research, right?

CC: agoodcartoon

Completely earnest, irony-free pleas for gamergaters to voice their opinions in a sane and rational manner, right in the midst of a terrifying amount of military rhetoric: “Operation”, “Ammo”, “enemy forces”, “enemy territory”, “troopers”… Does nobody see the contradiction?

dion-thesocialist:

I think tumblr has left a lot of us emotionally stunted. This is a great community for empowerment, catharsis, or coping, but those things aren’t recovery in and of themselves. Comparatively, they’re easy when compared to the painful self-reflection and real-world scenarios you’ll have to encounter on the road to true recovery. Not only does Tumblr not focus enough on recovery, but there’s almost a disdain here for the very notion.

There’s a lot of time spent validating everything. “Your symptoms are valid! Your responses are valid! Your depression is valid! Your coping is valid!” Well, yeah, all that stuff is definitely valid, and understanding that is important step in recovery, but it’s certainly not the final step. All that stuff is valid in the same way a baby chewing on a teething ring is valid, and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about if your recovery is still in its infancy, but Tumblr almost encourages you to stay there, to never grow out of it.

There’s a difference between what’s valid and what’s healthy, what’s best for you. I recently saw a post that validated people who stay in their room all day. Is that a valid response to anxiety? Sure. Is it a healthy response? Hell no, and there isn’t a person on Earth who can convincingly make the argument that the best thing you can do for your anxiety is to never leave your room.

Or how about those “how to care for a _________” posts? They’ve got some great tips there, and a lot of what they say is true, but you cannot reasonably expect people to coddle your issues, insecurities, or self-perceived inadequacies. Your recovery has to come from you. It has to be a difficult decision you make with yourself and carry through with because you need it. Your recovery can’t come from hoping other people will validate you.

No one should be ashamed of where they are in their recovery process, but there’s also no reason why you should be in the same place with your issues as you were in 2010.

Your final goal is not validation. It isn’t empowerment. It isn’t finding a way to get through the day. It isn’t being comfortable with your problems, nor is it accepting that they’ll never go away. The final goal is health. The final goal is happiness. The final goal is contentment. The final goal is recovery.

fyeahlilbit3point0:

Hayley Atwell laying waste to the Agent Carter set: A Timeline

fyeahlilbit3point0:

Hayley Atwell laying waste to the Agent Carter set: A Timeline

You know what I’d like to have? Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix redone with Kingdom Hearts 2’s combat system (customizable combos, reaction commands, limits, etc.) and gummi ship levels. Best of both worlds, with less of the crap of either.

oflionsandwolves:

deadlightsgirl:

I’m Cersei, please tag Margaery and Joffrey if you know or are them.

Margaery is missy2laina and Joffrey is inthepolicebox :)

oflionsandwolves:

deadlightsgirl:

I’m Cersei, please tag Margaery and Joffrey if you know or are them.

Margaery is missy2laina and Joffrey is inthepolicebox :)

Also read the comments. Some days I madly love how much thought Potter fans put into this source material. 

… “You must have shown me real loyalty down in the Chamber. Nothing but that could’ve called Fawkes to you.” That’s the very first thing Dumbledore thanks and praises Harry for. Not for rescuing Ginny, or saving the school from the basilisk, or for keeping Voldemort from coming back, but for loyalty.

Dumbledore judges the people he works with based first and foremost on how loyal they are to him. Not because he thinks he’s all that, but because, as I said, he views people as game pieces, and you can’t have your game pieces acting up, can you? He values his pieces. He wants to advance and protect them. But he doesn’t want them running off beyond his sphere of influence and doing their own thing. I think there’s something very ambiguous about Dumbledore’s habit of seeking out desperate, socially outcast people and doing them one or two huge favors that leave them bound to him for life. Remus, Hagrid and Snape all fit that pattern, and Trelawney and Firenze appear to join the ranks in OOP. It kind of makes me wonder what Dumbledore has done for Fletcher, Moody and Shacklebolt.

…The problem with Sirius is, he’s not loyal to Dumbledore at all; he’s loyal to Harry. From Dumbledore’s point of view, it’s as if he’s playing wizard chess, and one of the knights suddenly decides that he doesn’t care what happens to the king, he’s just going to take care of that little pawn on the left. So Dumbledore does the only thing he thinks he can do — he sticks his recalcitrant knight into a safe, isolated corner of the board and keeps him from making any moves. Perfectly sensible and strategically sound, as long as you don’t expect your game pieces to have any pesky emotions or psychological issue that need to be taken into account.

…Dumbledore’s actions at Hogwarts are another symptom of his general approach. He doesn’t treat it just as a school, but also as an instrument in his strategy. People like Snape, Hagrid and Trelawny — all lousy teachers, in very different ways — are given their jobs as perks, because of their past of future usefulness to the Order, and because it strengthens their bonds of loyalty to Dumbledore.

OTOH, look at Lupin, who is a talented teacher. Why wasn’t he hired before Harry’s third year, especially given the difficulty of finding qualified DADA professors? My theory is that Dumbledore didn’t consider it necessary. As far as he knew, Lupin was already totally loyal simply because Dumbledore had allowed him to attend Hogwarts. There was no need to bribe him with a job. He was hired only when his familiarity with Sirius became an important factor. Once Sirius proved not to be a threat, Lupin was allowed to resign…

Thoughts on Dumbledore by marinarusalka, from hp-essays (via pottersir)

THIS IS SO GREAT AND SO INTERESTING AND EVEN MORE SO WHEN YOU LOOK AT SNAPE’S STORYLINE AND HERE’S WHY

Just look at Dumbledore’s behavior in The Prince’s Tale - especially at the contrast between before and after Snape agreed to help him defeat Voldemort. There’s so much emotional manipulation, so much that Dumbledore is doing to keep Snape on his side.

“That is why – it is for that reason – he thinks it means Lily Evans!”

“The prophecy did not refer to a woman,” said Dumbledore. “It spoke of a boy born at the end of July – ”

“You know what I mean! He thinks it means her son, he is going to hunt her down – kill them all – ”

If she means so much to you,” said Dumbledore, “surely Lord Voldemort will spare her? Could you not ask for mercy for the mother, in exchange for the son?”

“I have – I have asked him – ”

You disgust me,” said Dumbledore, and Harry had never heard so much contempt in his voice. Snape seemed to shrink a little, “You do not care, then, about the deaths of her husband and child? They can die, as long as you have what you want?”

That line, the “you disgust me” line is SO IMPORTANT. Contrary to popular belief, Dumbledore doesn’t find Snape’s obsession love for Lily beautiful; he finds it disgusting - and understandably so. Because she “means so much” to Snape that he’s willing to sacrifice her family, and therefore happiness, in order to keep her alive. And, frankly, that’s gross. Dumbledore agrees.

“Hide them all, then,” he croaked. “Keep her – them – safe. Please.”

And what will you give me in return, Severus?

“In – in return?” Snape gaped at Dumbledore, and Harry expected him to protest, but after a long moment he said, “Anything.”

Aaaaaand Dumbledore gets himself the perfect soldier - someone who is willing to do anything.

“I thought…you were going…to keep her…safe…”

“She and James put their faith in the wrong person,” said Dumbledore. “Rather like you, Severus. Weren’t you hoping that Lord Voldemort would spare her?”

Also really important. Dumbledore was supposed to protect her, keep her alive, and it didn’t work out and that greatly puts Snape’s loyalty at risk. So what does Dumbledore do? Deflect. He places the blame on Snape and Voldemort here - which, I’m pretty much with him here because Snape did tell Voldemort the prophecy and Voldemort did personally kill the Potters. But this isn’t about that. This is strategy. Keep Snape guilty and keep the blame off Dumbledore by having this whole “well there was nothing I could do” stance and thereby keep Snape both vulnerable and loyal. Make Voldemort the real enemy, someone that Snape would be willing to do anything to fight against at all cost.

“Her boy survives,” said Dumbledore.

With a tiny jerk of the head, Snape seemed to flick off an irksome fly.

“Her son lives. He has her eyes, precisely her eyes. You remember the shape and color of Lily Evans’s eyes, I am sure?

“DON’T!” bellowed Snape. “Gone…dead…”

“Is this remorse, Severus?”

“I wish…I wish I were dead…”

“And what use would that be to anyone?” said Dumbledore coldly. “If you loved Lily Evans, if you truly loved her, then your way forward is clear.

Okay so Dumbledore is definitely using Snape’s love for Lily against him - I think we can all agree with that. I mean look at how he’s referring to her as “Lily Evans” rather than as her married name, “Lily Potter.” Dumbledore has a very tough sell here; he wants Snape to help him protect the child of someone Snape loves and someone he hates. So he takes James out of the equation and it’s all about Harry’s eyes and how much they look like Lily’s and Evans. And then he takes Snape’s love and gives it a purpose.

“You know how and why she died. Make sure it was not in vain. Help me protect Lily’s son.”

“He does not need protection. The Dark Lord has gone – ”

“The Dark Lord will return, and Harry Potter will be in terrible danger when he does.”

There was a long pause, and slowly Snape regained control of himself, mastered his own breathing. At last he said, “Very well. Very well. But never – never tell, Dumbledore! This must be between us! Swear it! I cannot bear…especially Potter’s son…I want your word!”

My word, Severus, that I shall never reveal the best of you?” Dumbledore sighed, looking down into Snape’s ferocious, anguished face.

Before it was disgusting, but now that Snape’s agreed to help him, has pledged his loyalty, Snape’s love is now ~the best part of him~

“ – mediocre, arrogant as his father, a determined rule-breaker, delighted to find himself famous, attention-seeking and impertinent – ”

“You see what you expect to see, Severus,” said Dumbledore, without raising his eyes from a copy of Transfiguration Today . “Other teachers report that the boy is modest, likable, and reasonably talented. Personally, I find him an engaging child.”

Dumbledore turned a page, and said, without looking up, “Keep an eye on Quirrell, won’t you?”

Snape is only seeing James’ worst qualities in Harry (which tbh first year Harry definitely did not have) so Dumbledore brings up qualities that were, actually, found in and associated with Lily to placate him. Because Dumbledore’s biggest challenge is to make Snape forget that James is Harry’s father. He then follows this up with a request.

“Karkaroff’s Mark is becoming darker too. He is panicking, he fears retribution; you know how much help he gave the Ministry after the Dark Lord fell.” Snape looked sideways at Dumbledore’s crooked-nosed profile. “Karkaroff intends to flee if the Mark burns.”

“Does he?” said Dumbledore softly, as Fleur Delacour and Roger Davies came giggling in from the grounds. “And are you tempted to join him?”

“No,” said Snape, his black eyes on Fleur’s and Roger’s retreating figures. “I am not such a coward.”

“No,” agreed Dumbledore. “You are a braver man by far than Igor Karkaroff. You know, I sometimes think we Sort too soon…

He walked away, leaving Snape looking stricken…

Whether you believe it or not, both Sirius and Remus have said that Snape was jealous of James - of his popularity, his talents, all the glory he received, etc. And a lot of those things are perks from being a brave Gryffindor rather than an “evil” Slytherin. Dumbledore is capitalizing on that, on Snape’s secret desires. He’s manipulating Snape because wow he thinks he’s brave, he thinks he’s brave enough to even be a mighty Gryffindor - something I’m sure no one has even told him before. Something he’d never admit to secretly reveling in because he grew up unloved and unwanted. But it keeps him loyal, keeps him close to Dumbledore.

“I am fortunate, extremely fortunate, that I have you, Severus.”

The power of being complimentary, my friends, is not focused on enough. (And I’m not trying to take away from the fact that Snape is a talented wizard, because I do think that, but Dumbledore is so totally manipulating him come on. What makes me say that? Because not long afterwards does he segue into asking Snape to kill him)

“In short, the boy has had a death sentence pronounced upon him as surely as I have,” said Dumbledore. “Now, I should have thought the natural successor to the job, once Draco fails, is yourself?

There was a short pause.

“That, I think, is the Dark Lord’s plan.”

Lord Voldemort foresees a moment in the near future when he will not need a spy at Hogwarts?

“He believes the school will soon be in his grasp, yes.”

“And if it does fall into his grasp,” said Dumbledore, almost, it seemed, as an aside, “I have your word that you will do all in your power to protect the students at Hogwarts?

Snape gave a stiff nod.

Great, Dumbledore has not only a spy, but an heir.

“He is his father over again – ”

In looks, perhaps, but his deepest nature is much more like his mother’s. I spend time with Harry because I have things to discuss with him, information I must give him before it is too late.”

Harry actually shares plenty of traits with James - and based on how he’s spoken of James in the past, Dumbledore liked him. (And why wouldn’t he? Not only is James amazing jkalsdsalkdjasldaskdh but he was very loyal to Dumbledore) So this is for Snape’s benefit. Again, he’s keeping him under control by bringing Lily into the equation and make Harry worthy enough, in Snape’s eyes, to protect.

“Information,” repeated Snape. “You trust him…you do not trust me.

“It is not a question of trust. I have, as we both know, limited time. It is essential that I give the boy enough information for him to do what he needs to do.”

“And why may I not have the same information?”

I prefer not to put all of my secrets in one basket, particularly not a basket that spends so much time dangling on the arm of Lord Voldemort.”

“Which I do on your orders!”

“And you do it extremely well. Do not think that I underestimate the constant danger in which you place yourself, Severus. To give Voldemort what appears to be valuable information while withholding the essentials is a job I would entrust to nobody but you.

“Yet you confide much more in a boy who is incapable of Occlumency, whose magic is mediocre, and who has a direct connection into the Dark Lord’s mind!”

Dumbledore is clearly making Snape angry and I don’t think it’s necessarily intentional. But I do think he’s trying to make sure that Snape desires and values his trust over Voldemort’s. I mean, I’m sure he’s double checked that he has Snape’s loyalty before, but it’s safe to keep checking every now and then. But then this happens:

Snape looked angry, mutinous. Dumbledore sighed.

“Come to my office tonight, Severus, at eleven, and you shall not complain that I have no confidence in you…”

MUTINOUS IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT WORD. DUMBLEDORE IS AT RISK OF LOSING THE BEST AND MOST ESSENTIAL PIECE TO HIS GAME, HIS MVP, SO HE HAS TO REEL HIM BACK IN.

“So the boy…the boy must die?” asked Snape quite calmly.

“And Voldemort himself must do it, Severus. That is essential.”

Another long silence. Then Snape said, “I thought…all those years…that we were protecting him for her. For Lily.

Snape is currently reevaluating his life and all of his choices. Because he thinks, if not for Lily, then what is the point of protecting Harry Potter? Why is he fighting this war? Why is he on Dumbledore’s side?

“We have protected him because it has been essential to teach him, to raise him, to let him try his strength,” said Dumbledore, his eyes still tight shut. “Meanwhile, the connection between them grows ever stronger, a parasitic growth. Sometimes I have thought he suspects it himself. If I know him, he will have arranged matters so that when he does set out to meet his death, it will truly mean the end of Voldemort.”

Dumbledore opened his eyes. Snape looked horrified.

“You have kept him alive so that he can die at the right moment?”

“Don’t be shocked, Severus. How many men and women have you watched die?”

“Lately, only those whom I could not save,” said Snape. He stood up. “You have used me.

Indeed he has! And after all this time, you’ve finally caught on!

“I have spied for you and lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you. Everything was supposed to be to keep Lily Potter’s son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter – ”

Uh-oh no longer Lily Evans - now she is Potter, now she and everything that’s a part of her (i.e. her son) is tainted by James. Still worth protecting? Still worth sacrificing and risking so much for? Apparently yes because this happens:

“But this is touching, Severus,” said Dumbledore seriously. “Have you grown to care for the boy, after all?”

For him?” shouted Snape. “ Expecto Patronum!”

From the tip of his wand burst the silver doe. She landed on the office floor, bounded once across the office, and soared out of the window. Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.

“After all this time?”

“Always,” said Snape.

Okay so obviously, if you hadn’t already caught on, Snape isn’t doing all of this for the cause or because he’s repenting for being a Death Eater. It’s all for Lily. The woman he helped kill. I beg you to not find that romantic. Remember Dumbledore’s "you disgust me"? That’s pretty much how I feel about Snape, and I suspect that Dumbledore still feels that way. Because, as valuable as he is, Snape has not changed. And I guess it doesn’t bother him at all if he’s risked and sacrificed so much for a child who will die anyway if it was all for her.

After all this time, you still do not see the value of protecting an innocent child? Always. After all this time you still cannot let go of a woman who never loved you romantically? Always. After all this time, you’re still fighting against Voldemort because he killed Lily and not because you believe in muggle-born rights? Always. Dumbledore had to have known this - I mean he’d been using Snape’s love for Lily against him for how long? But I’m sure it still saddened him.

Anyway, “The Prince’s Tale” is a brilliant example of Dumbledore’s manipulation and how he used it to win a war. This is where we see him really in action - and it’s fascinating. Because this is the power of loyalty - how Dumbledore could get a Death Eater so firmly on his side that he continues to do Dumbledore’s work for him after his own death. That’s powerful.

And that’s why Voldemort’s fucking scared of him. I’m kind of scared of him.

(via comealongraggedypond)

I admit that I’d always found Dumbledore to have made mistakes due to being too absorbed in the big game (one of the things that makes his character layered and interesting), but I’d never really examined his behavior to this extent.

Also, it’s interesting that the OP was written ten years ago, before even book six had come out.