Search Results for '"kameron hurley"'

Tea, Bodies and Business: Remaking the Hero Archetype by Kameron Hurley

Kameron Hurley is the author of the novels God’s War, Infidel, and Rapture a science-fantasy noir series which earned her the Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer and the Kitschy Award for Best Debut Novel. She has won the Hugo Award and been a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Nebula Award, the Locus Award, BFS Award, and the BSFA Award for Best Novel. Her latest novel, The Mirror Empire, will be published by Angry Robot Books on August 26th, 2014.


 

 

Tea, Bodies and Business: Remaking the Hero Archetype

Hero.

Ok, I want you to stop right there.

Think about what image popped into your mind when you read “hero.” The first one.

NO CHEATING.

What’s the first image your mind conjured on reading that word?

Hero.

Who is it?

Who is… he?

These days, when I read “hero” the image that pops up is some superhero, because I’m inundated with Marvel movie images all day. Thor comes to mind. Maybe, if I haven’t been eating movies for awhile, it’s Conan.

Hero: a dude. Muscles. White. Butch.

Hero. First image. Every time.

It takes some additional thought, some re-training, for me to see anything but that archetype when I first think “hero.” I have the same trouble with nearly every term we say is gender-neutral or totally inclusive that… well… turns out isn’t. That’s because when we learned what words meant, we had certain types of images placed in front of us. We learned to associate those images with the word.

We ate what the stories and media fed us, and it’s why, to this day, we conjure them again and again when we see those words in text, when we hear them in conversations. We carry those expectations. It’s why, often, we get so upset or simply surprised when the hero we see on the page doesn’t conform to the image we learned.

Subverting expectations has become a hallmark of the gray, grimdark(er) fantasy tales now, and the even darker obsession in more general media of mythologizing serial killers (Bates Motel, Hannibal), elevating them to, if not heroes, then complex protagonists worthy of having their stories told; it’s cultivating compassion for killers. Yet still, there anti-hero heros are the same sorts of heroes: white, male, butch.

I can think of only two movies with women killers we’re meant to sympathize with, and both because they’d been sexually assaulted – Thelma and Louise and Monster. And to be honest, I don’t imagine anyone would call the women in these films heroes. Red Sonja is, perhaps, a proper hero, but is, once again, motivated by a sexual assault. Male heroes are heroic because of what’s been done to women in their lives, often – the dead child, the dead wife. Women heroes are also heroic for what’s been done to women… to them.

God’s War By Kameron Hurley

God’s War by Kameron Hurley opens with our hero, Nyxnissa, who has just sold her uterus for petty cash and then blown it all on drugs and gambling. Then things get worse. This book picks up the reader and drops them onto an alien planet, thousands of years in the future. It is a world where technology is powered by genetically engineered bugs and the colonists are tearing their world apart to fight a holy war, the origins of which no one quite remembers.

All the men of Nyxnissa’s nation are drafted into the army. Women are allowed to volunteer. Nyxnissa served her time on the front, and came home a hero, with a body covered in burns. Once the magicians — this book’s practitioners of the Sufficiently Advanced Technology — finished putting her back together, she joined the bel dames, an order of sacred assassins who hunt down deserters in the name of God and the Queen. She isn’t particularly successful at it. When she’s offered a job that promises to shake all the vultures off her back, she has to take it, no matter how low her odds of surviving it seem to be.

The other protagonist in God’s War is a young man name Rhys. What terrible thing drove him over the border to Nyx’s country, which is not a safe place either for foreigners or beautiful men, is revealed slowly over the course of the book. He is as close to a pacifist as anyone can be in war-torn Nasheen, and as close to a romantic interest as Nyxnissa is capable of having.

While it is unmistakably science fiction, this book’s form reminds me of some of my favorite urban fantasy. The focus stays on Nyx and her band of hired misfit. None of them can afford to worry about interstellar politics or the power struggle between the Queen and her bel dames. They’re too busy trying to and take care of the people they love. Some romance has been waved in the direction of this book, but thankfully it is not allowed to dominate the narrative.

This book is brutal. Everyone and everything in Nyx’s world has scars from the war. The author is unflinching in her descriptions of violence. I’ll admit to skimming some of the more graphic passages. I’d hesitate to call it gratuitous, though. Hurley understands that the life of a woman who collects blood debts is not one awesome shoot-em-up adventure after another. In the course of the book, Nyxnissa is broken down to the last slivers of her character. Her choices would not make sense without the violence that surrounds her.

God’s War runs for quite a while before it tells the reader what it plans to be about. I did not mind that, because I was too wrapped up in watching Nyxnissa as she struggled to survive from one day to the next, as she tried (and inevitably failed) to stay ahead of the people who hated her. By the time the book gets around to mentioning the starships, the aliens, and the effects that three thousand years on an alien planet have had on its human population, they were just another set of interesting details added to the plot that had already sucked me in.

Islam permeates every part of God’s War. I don’t recall another work of science fiction that featured a planet that was not only colonized by Muslims, but by waves of different Muslims of different ethnicities and traditions. The religions in God’s War seem rich and detailed to me. I would be very interested to hear the reactions this book gets from its Muslim readers.

Now I am trying to find time to reread this book. I was not completely sold on the way it ended the first time around. As time has passed, though, I find myself growing more and more attached to God’s War. I’m glad I had a chance to read it, and I recommend it highly. God’s War is a fine piece of writing, and not one that its readers will easily forget.

Kameron Hurley and God’s War were featured on John Scalzi’s The Big Idea series.

EP462: Women of Our Occupation

by Kameron Hurley
read by Mur Lafferty live at LonCon3

 

author Kameron Hurley

author Kameron Hurley

about the author…

Kameron Hurley is an award-winning author, advertising copywriter, and online scribe.  Hurley grew up in Washington State, and has lived in Fairbanks, Alaska; Durban, South Africa; and Chicago. She has degrees in historical studies from the University of Alaska and the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, specializing in the history of South African resistance movements. Her essay on the history of women in conflict “We Have Always Fought” was the first blog post to win a Hugo Award. It was also nominated for Best Non-Fiction work by the British Fantasy Society.

Hurley is the author of God’s War, Infidel, and Rapture, a science-fantasy noir series which earned her the Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer and the Kitschy Award for Best Debut Novel. She has won the Hugo Award (twice) and been a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Nebula Award, the Locus Award and the BSFA Award for Best Novel. Additionally, her work has been included on the Tiptree Award Honor List. Hurley’s short fiction has appeared in magazines such as LightspeedEscapePod, and Strange Horizons, and anthologies such as The Lowest HeavenThe Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women and Year’s Best SF. Her fiction has been translated into Romanian, Swedish, Spanish and Russian. She is also a graduate of Clarion West.

In addition to her writing, Hurley has been a Stollee guest lecturer at Buena Vista University and taught copywriting at the School of Advertising Art. Hurley currently lives in Ohio, where she’s cultivating an urban homestead. Her latest novel, The Mirror Empire, will be published by Angry Robot Books in August 2014.

If you’d like to contact Kameron, click here. To inquire about rights to remix her work, please contact her agent.

 

narrator Mur Lafferty

narrator Mur Lafferty

about the narrator…

Winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, 2012

“one of the worst-kept secrets in science fiction and fantasy publishing.” – Cory Doctorow via BoingBoing

Mur Lafferty is an author, podcaster, and editor. She lives in Durham, NC, with her husband and 11 year old daughter.

  • Books: Starting with podcast-only titles, Mur has written several books and novellas. Her first professionally published book, The Shambling Guide to New York City, is in book stores now. The sequel, The Shambling Guides 2: Ghost Train to New Orleans came out this year. She writes urban fantasy, superhero satire, afterlife mythology, and Christmas stories.
  • Podcasts: She has been podcasting since 2004 when she started her essay-focused show, Geek Fu Action Grip. Then she started the award-winning I Should Be Writing in 2005, which is still going today. She was the editor of Escape Pod from 2010-2012, and she also runs the Angry Robot Books podcast.
  • Nonfiction: Mur has written for several magazines including Knights of the Dinner Table, Anime Insider, and The Escapist.

In January, 2014, Mur graduated from the Stonecoast program at the University of Southern Maine with an MFA in popular fiction.

Mur is represented by Jen Udden at Donald Maass Literary Agency.

Now that Hugo month is over, here are the results…

You’ve been listening to Hugo stories through August as it’s our tradition to feature nominees. Now that the episodes have all run, we thought you might like to see the results.

 

2014 Hugo Award Winners

Loncon 3 is delighted to announce the 2014 Hugo Award and John W. Campbell Award winners.

3,587 valid ballots were received and counted in the final ballot. A PDF is available with the full statistics for the nominating and final ballots.

Best Novel: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Orbit US / Orbit UK)

Best Novella: “Equoid” by Charles Stross (Tor.com, 09-2013)

Best Novelette: “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal (maryrobinettekowal.com /Tor.com, 09-2013)

Best Short Story: “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu (Tor.com, 02-2013)

Best Related Work: “We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative” by Kameron Hurley (A Dribble of Ink)

Best Graphic Story: “Time” by Randall Munroe (xkcd)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form): Gravity written by Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Esperanto Filmoj; Heyday Films; Warner Bros.)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form): Game of Thrones: “The Rains of Castamere” written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, directed by David Nutter (HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)

Best Editor – Short Form: Ellen Datlow

Best Editor – Long Form: Ginjer Buchanan

Best Professional Artist: Julie Dillon

Best Semiprozine: Lightspeed Magazine edited by John Joseph Adams, Rich Horton, and Stefan Rudnicki

Best Fanzine: A Dribble of Ink edited by Aidan Moher

Best Fancast: SF Signal Podcast Patrick Hester

Best Fan Writer: Kameron Hurley

Best Fan Artist: Sarah Webb

The John W. Campbell Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2012 or 2013, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo Award): Sofia Samatar

The 2014 Hugo Award winners were announced at a ceremony held at Loncon 3 on Sunday evening, 17 August 2014 in London. The ceremony was hosted by Justina Robson and Geoff Ryman and broadcast live via Ustream with additional live text coverage viaCoverItLive.

EP207: Wonder Maul Doll

By Kameron Hurley
Read by Kim the Comic Book Goddess

Appeared originally in From the Trenches

We set down in Pekoi as part of the organics inquisition team, still stinking of the last city. We’re all muscle. Not brains. The brains are out eating at the foreigners’ push downtown, and they don’t care if we whore around the tourist dregs half the night so long as somebody’s sober enough to haul them out come morning. When the brains aren’t eating, they’re pretending to give us directions in the field, telling us where to sniff out organics. They’re writing reports about
how dangerous Pekoi is to the civilized world.

We’re swapping off some boy in a backwater push the locals cleared out for us. We’re sitting around a low table. I pass off another card to Kep. Luce swaps out a suit. She has to sit on one leg to lean over the table. It’s hot in the low room, so humid that moths clutter aroundour feet, too heavy to fly.

The boy’s making little mewling sounds again. Somebody should shut him up, but not me. This is my hand. I’m ahead.

Rated R for violence and sexual situations.