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

The Capaldi Cometh!

Hiyo!

This weekend as pretty busy for me, but you better believe that I had time to sit down and watch the opening episode of Doctor Who. Now I’m a huge fan of the show – the Fourth was my Doctor, and I’ve loved many of them since then. I did not love Eleven, and though Matt Smith is a solid actor, Steven Moffat’s treatment of the Doctor has consistently left me pretty fucking cold. The casting of Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor did immense things for me, as I am a very big fan of his work, but still, Moffat’s writing tends to make me very irritable, and so I wasn’t certain at first of how Capaldi’s Doctor would turn out – but hearing rumors that Capaldi, himself a huge fan of the show since childhood, battled outright with Moffat on set concerning the direction of the character, I felt much more cheerful about the situation.

So, what did we learn about the new season? Well, we learned that Moffat still hasn’t shaken his misogyny, what liberal amounts of sexism sprinkled in (water retention jokes, flirting flirting FLIRTING fuck’s sake Steven we know you like flirting.) Strax…was Strax, though I feel that character really needs to development. It’s been a few seasons, after all. And what was with Madame Vastra flirting with Clara in front of her wife? Poor Jenny, reduced to service and ornamentation in the face of Moffat’s ‘impossible girl’ until a sword is needed. Ugh. We also have yet another mysterious woman with a lust for the doctor capping the episode, which has become another groanworthy artifact of Moffat’s writing in this series. I also had particular trouble with the scene in which Clara escapes from the repair robots in the depths of their ship, which – while demonstrating significant guts on Clara’s part and acting ability on the part of Jenna Coleman – becomes completely empty of agency when it turns out that the Doctor was there all along and was there to save the day. C’mon, man. The whole character of Clara has proven very troublesome for me in general, for, though she has demonstrated herself a good actress and her character has a great deal of potential, Moffat routinely hands Coleman a role that seems boiled down routinely to ‘lawl she fancies the doctor also a control freak lawl’. I’m not impressed.

So okay, you grumpy man, what did you like? Well! I must say that I was particularly pleased that both the character of the Doctor and the series itself seem to be taking a turn for the darker. Yes, yes, I enjoy horrible things, so this is a commendable state of affairs in my judgment. Production values are of course consistently great, and given that something like seven million people tuned in for the series opener I doubt that’s going to change any time soon. LOVE the new graphics as well, which capture for me a much better sense of the alien and the mysterious that this season seems to be shooting for.

Speaking of alien, there is…the new Doctor. Let me just tell you how much I like this new Doctor. After Matt Smith’s thoughtless, juvenile boy, I find Capaldi a breath of fresh air. Less accessible, less patient, and possessed of a mad sense of curiosity, the new Doctor is very much what a Time Lord of Gallifrey actually is – that is to say, a being from another planet, with a point of view totally divorced from humanity. He might look human, he might have a fondness for the human race, but he isn’t human at all; and, while at the time baiting Clara with the idea of the Doctor being ‘her boyfriend’, Madame Vastra was correct in saying that Clara “might as well flirt with a mountain range.” Capaldi’s sense of throwaway humor, as well as his ability to manifest inner pain, also did a great deal to charm me. So I believe that I’ll be watcing this season fairly religiously, it would appear, at least the early episodes. Must see how this turns out.

In related Who news, I wanted to give a shout out to my friend, Becky T., who sent to me a magnificent, screen-accurate version of the Fourth Doctor’s iconic scarf. Holy shit, you guys, she knitted it herself! It’s amazing, very long, and I can’t wait to bundle up with it as autumn and winter approaches. Amazing lady, that Becky. I’m very lucky to meet the kind of people that I do.

Posted in Fandom, General, Sci-Fi | Tagged , , | 6 Comments