Archive for May, 2015

Knee to the Face

Chuck Wendig’s blog post on defending the inclusion of *that rape scene* is spot on, and much more gentlemanly than my own response, which is a knee to the face. Because, you know, knee-jerk feminist alarmists


“You’re just mad because a character you like had a bad day!”

The backlash isn’t about the use of rape in a single scene in a single episode of a single show, any more than the Ferguson riots were about a single incident of police brutality. It’s about a pattern of using rape scenes as a go-to plot device. It’s not about “Oh no, Sansa got raped!” so much as “Seriously, another rape? Can’t you show us anything else?”

Also, I don’t like Sansa. I find her vapid.

Also, being raped is not like stubbing a toe, so let’s not treat it in such a cavalier manner.

“Oh, but they lopped Theon’s dick off!”

Yes, and if they had also lopped off the weiners of Robert, Ned, Littlefinger, Jaime, Tyrion, Sam, and the Hound, you’d probably think that was excessive. You’d start wondering whether the writers hated men or something…or maybe they just like to watch weiner-lopping.

“Historical accuracy! Women got raped!”

If you’re going for historical accuracy in a medieval setting, you should have fewer full sets of even white teeth. Perhaps instead of rape, you should have half your cast die of typhus. But that would feel odd, wouldn’t it? Having the same thing happen over and over again to a bunch of different characters, for no apparent reason?

Also, this is fiction, stupid. Anything that happens in a fictional world is a choice made by that world’s creator or creators…unless Annie Wilkes is standing over you with a mallet. And I’m thinking that if Annie Wilkes was standing over you with a mallet, you’d find something besides rape to write about.

“They burned a lot of people alive, too. Why aren’t you yelling about that?”

True, they have burned a lot of people alive in this particular show. And I’m sure that if a significant percentage of the show’s intended audience–you know, people–had suffered the experience of being burned alive, they might find the minimization and normalization of their experience traumatic.

But I’m not just talking about this show.

Plus, this argument really makes you look like an asshole. I’m not a proctologist, so I don’t have to deal with assholes.

“But the scene shows that Theon…”

Stop. Stop right there. If you want man-pain, take off your cup and come spar with me.


Entertainment is neither created nor enjoyed in a vaccuum, and if you don’t understand that rape in popular culture and rape culture and rape in real life are related, then you are THICK IN THE GODDAMN HEAD and unlikely to be cured even by a knee to the face.


Maybe instead of me explaining–again–why I don’t enjoy watching a woman get raped in three episodes out of four in a show I otherwise really like, you should explain to me why you *do* enjoy it.

Think about it, eh?

Jai tu wai


Wake the Bear!

So, the other day I was asked by a nice young writer whether and how a group might sneak past a hibernating bear in its den without waking it. He wanted to write a believable scene and wanted to ask a real barbarian how such a thing might be accomplished.

Can’t fault him for that, I suppose, but I was horrified.

I mean, what a waste of a perfectly good bear.

I get it, I really do. You love your character and don’t want anything bad to happen to her. You’ve probably got an end scene already in mind, complete with explosions and disemboweled villains and teeth-rattling Epic Victory guitar solos. As she takes the path from Innocent Farmgirl to Cyborg Pirate Queen, you want to wrap her in cotton and bubble wrap and Northern Quilted Bathroom Tissue. The first time Sulema ever rode through the Valley of Death, she was able to sneak through without much of anything happening to her. Phew!  Made it!

And then I thought, wait a minute…I’ve got this perfectly good Valley of Death, and she just SNEAKS THROUGH UNSCATHED? Why would I do that? Do I hate my readers? I promised them the Valley of Death and gave them the Valley of Nothing Ever Happens.

So, yeah, spoiler alert: nobody rides through the Valley of Death unscathed, not anymore.

If you’ve got a cave with a bear in it, for fuck’s sake, wake the bear! Let it chase your characters, maul a couple, maybe eat one. If your cave doesn’t have a bear, throw one in there. Give her babies to protect and take away her coffee. And maybe an earthquake too for good measure.

Make your characters pay for daring to be in your story, because the payoff for your story–and for your readers–will be sweet as honey eaten from the skull of an enemy.

Jai tu wai,


Most Auspicious News

I am delighted to announce the sale of the first three books in my saga, THE DRAGON’S LEGACY, to Titan Books.

Congratulations to Deborah A. Wolf on the new book deal:

Deborah Wolf’s THE DRAGON’S LEGACY (Books 1-3), pitched in the tradition of Guy Gavriel Kay’s THE SARANTINE MOSAIC and the darker folkloric tales of ARABIAN NIGHTS: set in a desert world of sand and honey, the series balances and contrasts the grim with the wondrous, the heartbreaking with the humorous, and takes an unflinching look at real-world issues such as the plight of indigenous peoples in a world mad for power, to Alice Nightingale at Titan, by Mark Gottlieb at Trident Media Group.

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