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]
Talking science fiction, technological self-determination, inequality and competition with physicist Sean Carroll
Sean Carroll is a physicist at JPL and the author of many popular, smart books about physics for a lay audience; his weekly Mindscape podcast is a treasure-trove of incredibly smart, fascinating discussions with people from a wide variety of backgrounds.
The Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching” (ACCESS) Act was introduced by Senator Mark Warner [D-VA] and co-sponsored by Senator Josh Hawley [R-MO] and Senator Richard Blumenthal [D-CT]; it mandates the creation of "third party custodial services," regulated by the FTC, that will allow uses of Facebook and other Big Tech platforms to […]
The Internet Archive's Open Library scans books that they have physical copies of, then lends the resulting ebooks to its patrons, building on the precedent set in 2014's Hathi Trust ruling.
With the gains real estate has made over stocks in the past 25 years, it’s easy to see why the rich constantly use it to expand their wealth. What’s slightly less obvious is why only the rich seem to ever break into real estate investment. There are a lot of reasons, but a couple of […]
If you’re a coder, there’s a multitude of avenues for you to take your skills. Whether you’re just jumping into the world of programming or looking to rise up the ranks as an established professional, a wide base of knowledge is key. And this Premium 2020 Learn to Code Certification Bundle is a resource that’s […]
Everybody could use a little improvement, especially those of us on the hunt for new careers. Each job requires a different set of skills, and that list can change from year to year or even month to month as new technologies emerge. When you’re in that race and need to learn fast, the old model […]