Oh god all caps.

A REMINDER FOR READERS. I will be at the Baltimore Book Festival
this Saturday, selling books, signing books, being dumb. Not
necessarily in that order. You can find me at the Curiosity Quills
space in Mckeldin Square, all day, either at the booths (M14 + M15) or
wandering around being social. Come out and say hello!

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The State Of The Shean

Hi folks! As you can see, I’m getting back into posting content here on the main website – I’m usually updating on Facebook and Tumblr, as that is where the majority of reader attention seems to be, but I’m planning a few things around here that should change that. So without further ado, The State Of The Shean:

  • The biggest news this year has been that all of my current novels have been transcribed into audiobook format by Amazon/Audible. They’re also Whispersync books, meaning you can switch back and forth between audio and ebook formats with your kindle, and that’s pretty goddamned awesome. I was largely really pleased with the performance, and I think readers will like them.

  • Work proceeds apace on the last novel of the Wonderland Cycle. It’s been almost two years since I completed a book, and over a year since Redeye was published; you’ve all been so very patient, and I want you to know how much I appreciate that. Things here at Castle Sheanenstein have been crazy as hell, in ways I cannot begin to discuss, and it’s done a number on my productivity. But! Given that things are much calmer now, I’ve been able to make massive headway in making up the deficit, and I think you’re going to love the result. It’s amazing to me where this book has taken the Wonderland characters – Seattle, sure, but also Los Angeles, Mexico, an orbital station, and yes, even Wonderland itself. I’m really looking forward to finishing the trilogy; it’s been a labor of love for me over the last three years, and good lord, this is a large book. It goes in depth about the Yathi and their history as things explode in the background, and you may find that the Yathi colonists are not quite so monolithic beneath the leadership of the Mother of Systems as you’ve been led to believe in the past. There are new faces, old friends, darkness and brutality – but ultimately, the story will come to an end with plenty of room for more. My way of thanking you folks for your constance and support as things have proceeded.

  • What’s next on the horizon? Well, I’ll be announcing a new project when I’m done with this one, something totally different from what you’re used to – not science fiction, but urban fantasy. Still dark, still terrible, and of course, full of interesting characters. A potential series! Beyond that I have something like ten projects already outlined and ready to be written, so I won’t be running out of work to do anytime soon.

  • It’s just been confirmed that I’ll be coming to the Baltimore Book Festival this month! If you’re in the area, I’ll be up on Saturday the 26th at the CQ booth, and possibly the 27th as well. Visitors will be able to get hard copies of my books, signed by yours truly, as well as some slick swag designed and produced by yours truly. There might also be a drawing as well, though the jury’s still out on that. At any rate, if you’re near the area and you’d like to come down and say hello, as well as meet my fellow CQ authors and get yourself some gear, by all means, come on by. I’m looking forward to seeing you!

There you have it! If you’re interested in checking in about the topics discussed here, or if you have questions concerning the festival, please let me know. I always love to hear from you, so please, feel free to fire away with questions, comments or concerns here or at my email address, author@michael-shean.com.

Posted in Appearances, General, Novels, Projects | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

So Let’s Talk About “The Fappening”

People really can suck sometimes.

So over this weekend, a hacker (or hackers) released a massive cache of very personal photographs and videos belonging to famous young women cribbed off Apple’s iCloud service. This included the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton, and purported to include further photographs of Ariana Grande (apparently debunked at the moment,) Victoria Justice, and more. You may say, ‘holy shit, those women are incredibly attractive, must fap nao’ or whatever, and a great number of people out there have hastily downloaded archives made available on torrent sites or linked to Reddit, which – to nobody’s surprise – appears to have greatly popularized the leak, even chronicling the leaks in real time.

If you had anything to do with this, including downloading and consuming the leaked media, congratulations! You’ve helped perpetrate a sexual crime, to say nothing of digital theft.

Sounds pretty dramatic, right? But it isn’t. What else would you call the forcible theft of incredibly sensitive and potentially humiliating data for public release or, it has been rumored in the case of even more intimate media, put up for sale to the highest bidder? Piracy at the very least, and of a very sexual nature – the very definition of a sexual crime. Now you may say, ‘Jesus, Michael, these people are famous already, this comes with the territory.’ Indeed, that’s an argument that gets tossed around with this sort of thing in the past, and The Fappening is certainly no exception. But what makes that any different from saying ‘she shouldn’t have worn that out’ or ‘you were drinking, you were asking for it’? What is this but victim shaming? None of these women were asking for anything, certainly not to get their very personal media stolen and released to an entire planet’s worth of strangers. Celebrities and other public figures are not public property; just like every other human being, they do not exist for the purpose of being exposed, however loved or lusted for. What we see here is a particularly pernicious juxtaposition of our culture’s view on celebrity and its view on women, especially young and beautiful women: they are made to be on display, they are made to be desired, and they were brazen enough to take pictures and video of themselves – thus they deserve that is coming to them.

We’re eating it up, too. The very name of the ‘event’ is a clear example of our society’s habit of boiling important things down into something ostensibly fleeting and thus easily thrown away; #fappening2014 is a hugely trending tag over on Twitter right now, for example, and someone’s apparently managed to troll Twitter users into posting nudes of themselves in ‘support’ of the women involved through the #leak4jlaw and #leakforjlaw hashtags. Anything for visibility, right?

Look, when if comes down to it, it doesn’t matter that they’re young, or beautiful, or famous, or female. The type of pictures or videos doesn’t matter either. It certainly doesn’t make them somehow bad people. They certainly don’t deserve it. People, especially women, owe our society nothing that they aren’t willing to give freely of themselves. These women are not just celebrities or public figures. They are human beings, and they have been victimized. This isn’t a joke, and it sure as fuck isn’t funny. It’s not just a trespass of privacy, either. It’s a sex crime, full stop, and don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Come on, folks, we’re better than this. At least in theory.

EDIT: Reddit is coming out and warning downloaders that at least two of the young women in the “Fappening” collection were underage at the time their stolen pictures were taken. So that’s a sex crime for sure, then, innit?

Posted in Gender Equality, General | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment