Geek Feminist Revolution: Kameron Hurley's measured essays on the importance of rage
Kameron Hurley is first and foremost a talented novelist (see, for example, her critically acclaimed God's War books), but her first Hugo was awarded for an essay, "We Have Always Fought," which is just one of many significant, eloquent, and insightful nonfiction pieces collected in The Geek Feminist Revolution, just published in paperback.
Like her fiction, Hurley's essays draw on her own history, growing up in a sheltered, working class white suburb; a disastrous relationship with an emotionally abusive boyfriend; a failed bid to move out at 18 and then a more successful migration to Alaska at 19; a near-death experience when her lack of medical insurance left her late-onset Type 1 diabetes untreated; her medical debt; her queer identity; her graduate research on woman revolutionaries in South Africa; her grandmother's experiences in Nazi-occupied France; and her day job as a successful marketing writer and her struggles with depression and her political awakening through science fiction.
An occupational hazard of this sort of collection -- collecting the author's columns and essays for diverse publications -- is a certain amount of repetition. The essays are written to stand on their own, and so they recapitulate bits of the same background. It's unavoidable (and universal -- my own essay collections suffer from this, too), but it's not too intrusive, and is really the only complaint I have about this collection.
Because otherwise, it's excellent. Though the collection is divided into thematic sections (Level Up; Geek; Let's Get Personal; and Revolution), the overarching themes are of understanding the role of culture in exploring and addressing social injustice. Sometimes, Hurley explains the notion of "privilege" with crisp, critical language that acknowledges the shortcomings of using "privilege" as a shorthand without minimizing its importance. Other times, she's writing hot takes on some of pop culture's ugliest moments -- Gamergate, Sad Puppies, etc -- and manages the nearly impossible: a hot take that stands up in hindsight, capturing truths that endure past the scandal's brief flash.
Whether offering advice to up and coming writers; or reflecting on how to remain professional in the face of abusive harassment campaigns; or explaining how her own thinking was changed by science fiction; or talking about the foundational injustice of economic inequality in a nation without universal healthcare, Hurley is cogent and measured, wielding her anger like a scalpel rather than a cudgel, deploying a rage that is as tactically sound as it is genuine.
The Geek Feminist Revolution [Kameron Hurley/Tor]
View this post on Instagram You don’t wanna miss *tomorrow’s post* it’ll be good. But for now this experimental piece inspired by John Cage. Been washing my hands so much in the basin—made me think of Water Music. My classic CR-78 and metal meets water. Our world, our habitat is a giant experiment! In geological […]
Look kids, it's a tour of the 1951 A.C. Gilbert Radioactive Atomic Energy Lab Kit, now with seven sources of radiation!
I have always been intrigued by the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab Kit that was only sold for a year, starting in 1951. The kit included a Geiger counter, a Wilson cloud chamber, a spinthariscope, a electroscope, and a comic book in which Dagwood splits the atom. It also came with three sources of radiation […]
Matt Ruff is one of science fiction and fantasy's most consistently brilliant and innovative authors, whose recent work includes The Mirage (an incredible alternate history in which the Global War on Terror is kicked off when Christian crusaders from the blighted, tribal USA fly a plane into the United States of Arabia's Twin Towers in Dubai, giving the hawkish CIA chief Osama bin Laden the chance to launch the all-out war he's been champing for), and Lovecraft Country (an anti-racist reimagining of Cthulhu set in Jim Crow America where the real horror is white supremacy -- now being adapted for TV by Jordan Peele). In his new novel, 88 Names, Ruff adds to the canon of MMORPG heist novels (Charlie Stross's Rule 34, Neal Stephenson's Reamde, and my For the Win, to name three) with a unique take that he dubbed "Snow Crash meets The King and I."
If you’re already incredibly bored in your social distancing situation, now is a great time to pick up a hobby. Actually, now’s a great time to pick up multiple hobbies, and nothing will make that easier (or nicer to look at) than this very cool AquaSprouts® Fountain: Aquaponics Water Garden. What the heck is an […]
Many Americans are facing unexpected changes in their professional lives that have left them with quite a bit of downtime. It’s stressful and frustrating, but the best thing to do is focus on controlling what you can control. If you have extra hours on your hands, you can be productive with them. Use them to […]
Odds are, you picked your home as the best location to hang up your business outfits so you could relax and enjoy your off-hours in peace and comfort. Unfortunately, worlds are now colliding. In many cases, your home is now also your place of business. And trying to finish reports or make calls doesn’t always […]